[WATCH] Marsa horse racing track revamp will be done in six months

Private investors bound to complete work on the actual track within six months not to disrupt the horse racing calendar

The Marsa horse racing track has been awarded on concession to private investors for 65 years
The Marsa horse racing track has been awarded on concession to private investors for 65 years
New Marsa horse racing track concession explained

The horse racing track in Marsa will have to be revamped within six months of planning permits being issued, Sports Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima said.

Private investors who were awarded the concession to operate the Marsa race track will have to finish works on the actual track within the stipulated timeframe not to disrupt the horse racing calendar.

Other facilities that come with the €28 million investment project, such as the grand stand, equipment storage facilities and clubhouses will be completed in four years. 

Grima was speaking on Tuesday at the Marsa race track which was awarded to Marsa Race Track Ltd by parliamentary resolution last week. The concession was approved unanimously.

The company is controlled by Hugh Morshead, a director at Henley and Partners that manages the cash-for-passport scheme. 

The vast tract of land that comprises the horse racing track and its peripheries were conceded to Marsa Race Track Ltd for a minimum €28 million investment in the first four years on a deed that grants them land rights for the next 65 years.

“With this new investment, we continue to confirm this government’s mission to place sport at the top of the agenda. Last year, more than 60,000 people showed up to horse-racing events in Marsa. We want to see this amount double. After the racetrack has been in a debilitated state for many years, we will finally see it upgraded as per international standards,” Grima said.

Marsa Race Track Ltd. was the only bidder to submit an offer during the tendering process. Lawyer Pio Valletta, one of the company’s shareholders, said this was a project that would connect the people of Malta and will offer a destination of entertainment for all families.

The operator is bound to provide a grand stand, a parking area for 1,200 cars, a new bus terminus, solar panels, clubhouses for the Malta Racing Club and the Malta Polo Club, a new polo pitch, a commercial area, a paddock, stables, changing rooms, an area for dressage and show jumping and an equipment storage.

Lydia Abela, the legal consultant for the Privatisation Unit announced that besides the €28 million investment, the operator will be bound to pay €100,000 as a lump sum in rent fees in the first year. This will increase by 15% every five years.

Edwin Borg, chairman of the Malta Racing Club welcomed the project and said that it is practically impossible for a sport entity to make a massive investment unless it is aided by a private consortium.

“That moment has come. Finally, we are finding investors who are willing to take risks for the benefit of our sport. There will be disruptions to the usual proceedings but I urge everyone to pull the same rope,” he said.