Photos: Goat Races return bigger and better

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The Royal Ascot Goat Races, Uganda’s most popular social event reclaimed its spot on the social calendar six years after taking a break on Saturday.

Powered by Tusker Malt Lager, the social event indeed came back bigger and better with its unique sporty-fashion and picnic vibe at its traditional home, Speke Resort Munyonyo. Not even the afternoon drizzle could dampen the mood of the most exuberant unofficial fashion showcase in Uganda.

Goats are not known for athleticism, so they had to be prodded to the finish line with minders pushing a cart behind them. Short of that, they would have chosen to graze the grass.

But that is where the fun element was. The owners cheered on their goats though as there were cash prizes to be won. Bebe Cool’s famous goat that he named after his musical nemesis A-Pass didn’t put up a good show despite people cheering it.

“The Goat Races are worthy hallmark affair on Uganda’s social scene and Tusker Malt is proud to have been part of the return of fanfare. Even the slight drizzle didn’t kill the festive atmosphere,” Grace Namutebi, UBL’s Premium Beer Brand Manager said.

The hospitality tents were something to look out for with the goat owners’ tent being one of the most sought after – not with the free-flowing liquor and food thanks to Speke Group of Hotels.

Kampala Casino partnered with Johnnie Walker for the most exclusive tent. Event sponsors Tusker were the attraction of the night with their silent disco.

Off the race tracks, there were prizes awarded throughout the event amongst them the big win for best dressed couple being a return air ticket to Dubai.

The night ended on a high thanks to performances from Bebe Cool and Fik Fameica that left the crowds wildly excited before an elaborate fireworks display capped it all.

Away from the fun, charity has always been one of the key facets of the goat races. Part of this year’s proceeds will be going to the Totos Tag Rugby and Outreach Programme that takes place every weekend at Kyadondo Rugby Club.

The programme has been instrumental in rugby development in the country with five of the national Rugby Cranes players that represented Uganda at the recent Rugby 7s World Cup in San Francisco having been nurtured by the programme.

The Royal Ascot Goat Races made their formal entrance onto the Ugandan social scene in the early 1990s but the first race only happened in 2002. The event then grew to become an annual, glamour-filled tradition that found a home at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.

Originally from England, the races were uniquely designed to involve a series of participating goats working hand in hand with goat handlers who push a padded horizontal barrier on wheels around the track to keep the goats from grazing, fighting or running backwards during a race.

An offshoot of the Royal Ascot Horse Races which originated in England, the event was, in the years it was held, the place to be for a chance to watch action-packed races and compete in different games, with a variety of other entertaining activities, not forgetting the fashion forward individuals complete with eccentric hats.

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