Large crowds line Republic Street for Santa Marija horse races
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Large crowds watched the Santa Marija horse races in Victoria on Wednesday afternoon, as part of the programme of activities for the feast.
Republic Street was lined with spectators for the races, which got underway at 2.30pm. Prizes were presented to the winners by the Minister for Gozo, Dr Justyne Caruana and the Mayor of Victoria, Dr Samuel Azzopardi.The races are often a cause of controversy, and in 2015 the Animal Welfare Directorate said that the races should be held in the early morning or late evening, a statement that was welcomed by SPCA Malta and the Animal Rights Group, which also called for the races to be held at Ta’ Xhajma Race track.Deputy Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, Tony Tyler, also commented on the races at the time, saying, “equine welfare must be the first consideration of any horse race organiser. Factors such as temperature, surface and the facilities available to ensure that horse can compete without undue stress or risk of injury should be uppermost in organisers mind.”
Photographs by Alain Salvary