10 Aug 2016

Vanuatu marks independence with horse race

8:18 am on 10 August 2016

Vanuatu celebrated its independence with a horserace in urban Port Vila, and organisers say they plan to hold an annual event.

Horse racing on Epi in Vanuatu

Police Officer Jackson Noal (right) and race organiser Ian Makira on local horses. Photo: RNZI/Len Garae

The race was held at Rovo Bay, Shefa's Provincial Sub District Centre on Epi Island.

Local investors on Epi, Robert Monvoisin and Ian Makira, said racehorses that won two years in a row would compete in the nation's annual Kiwanis Horse Race in Port Vila.

Senior Police Officer Superintendent Jackson Noal, who was present, said 500 villagers cheered the horses. He said he also used the event to promote crime prevention on the island.

In the 1920s during colonial times, Epi Island held popular horse races, which attracted the interest of horse owners as far away as Australia.