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Racing's part of life

Shayal Devi
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

FARMER Subhan Ali got his first taste of horse racing when he was 12.

Growing up on a farm in the Sigatoka Valley, horse riding was an essential skill for children in the area as they often had to navigate harsh terrain on horseback.

As a young boy, he participated in his first horse race at Carreras, Votualevu, claiming first place in the children's 30 metre race.

Since then, he has been hooked on the sport.

"I have been racing so long and this is something I do with my brothers too," the 37-year-old says.

"It is something that I can't imagine not doing. I can't imagine horse racing not being a part of my life because I have met so many people through this and created so many memories."

Last week he had an opportunity to participate in the Sabeto Races.

His eight-year-old colt Ali Boy was one of the main attractions at the races.

Navosa-based Ali Boy beat Raftaar and Rising Star to win the Malamala Beach Club Open Sprinter 300m race.

"He is very special to us. I bought him two years ago from Ba and I got him especially for training.

"It has been good. Training before the race was hectic and we tried to get everything in order before we left Keiyasi. We spent a lot of time on training, which we usually do in the mountainous areas.

"We try to keep him on a strict diet too and usually feed him raw corn, egg and chickpeas. Ali Boy also likes to swim in the river to keep fit."

Having raced in places like Votualevu, Namosau, Sabeto and Labasa, he says he has a long way to go.

"Ideally, I would like to continue and one of my dreams is to one day participate in an international competition."

With both parents in the farming trade, it seemed natural for Ali to follow in the footsteps of his father.

"I do vegetable farming but I mostly grow suki and I enjoy farming. It does get difficult during some times because of the weather, especially if it's dry and we aren't able to get much rain or if it gets flooded.As for racing, I would like to continue for as long as I am able to."

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