An equestrian race organised by Malappuram District Horse Riders at MSP Grounds, Koottilangadi, provided a unique experience to holiday crowds of Malappuram on Sunday.
Hundreds of people gathered at the grounds to witness the first horse racing in the district. The organisers claimed it was the first in the State.
However, the police had to intervene and stop the competition midway, as more spectators began to pour in, throwing COVID-19 caution to the winds.
As many as 50 jockeys took part in the race. Although the organisers had planned a final round by including those selected from the initial rounds, they had to cancel it following police intervention.
The horse jockeyed by Naresh Kottakkal won the first prize by clocking the finishing line in 29.57 seconds. The winning horse belonged to Hama Kutty.
Nabhas, jockey of Ponnani Horse Riders, won the second prize by clocking 29.78 seconds. The runner-up horse belonged to Shabeer.
The organisers also had to abandon the round to select the most beautiful horse. Fifteen horses had registered for the round. While the youngest jockey was 14 years of age, the oldest was 57.
Lack of experience for both horses and jockeys offered fun to the spectators. Many horses refused to move at the start. Some stood agape, as people booed and cheered. Several jockeys fell off the horses, but no serious injury was reported.