It's now the Rum Fire Jamaica Oaks

Thursday, April 18, 2019

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Hampden Estate, the manufacturers of Rum Fire White Overproof Rum, have taken over as main title sponsor of the 80th running of the Jamaica Oaks, boasting a purse of $3 million, inclusive of $1 million from Hampden.

Details of the Rum Fire sponsorship were announced at a press conference held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday (April 16, 2019).

The Jamaica Oaks showcases the island's best native-bred three-year-old fillies competing over 10 furlongs (2,000m) with all participants carrying a weight of 126 lb (57.0 kgs).

The Oaks is competed for in honour of former general manager of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) and Hall of Famer, Hilma Veira, and this year it takes place on May 4.

Two of the races on Oaks Day are to be named after two members of the Hussey family who have been in the racing industry for many years. These two are former trainer Laurie Hussey and Ruth Hussey, a former champion owner.

The winner of the Jamaica 1000 Guineas, I Am Di One is sure to be in the spotlight again with challenges expected from Lady Blue, Casual Drink, Envisaged, Princess Annie, Princess Lauren and Princess Ava.

Christelle Harris, director at Hampden Estate, said that her company is pleased to be on board for the Jamaica Oaks and to be united with horse racing itself.

“It makes sense for us at Hampden, the producers of Rum Fire to seek out opportunities that are steeped in heritage and for us it was an obvious choice to want to partner again with horse racing in Jamaica because it is, in our opinion, so steeped in heritage that it is an obvious partner for Rum Fire.

“We are very pleased and happy to be a part of the Rum Fire Jamaica Oaks for 2019. The Hussey family have been a part of racing since its inception in Jamaica even before Caymanas Park,” said Harris, who is the granddaughter of Ruth and niece of former champion jockey Charles Hussey and trainer Percival Hussey.

Chris Armond, director of racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited, then made the suggestion to have races on Oaks Day run in honour of women that have contributed to public life in Jamaica.

“As a race day which will highlight ladies, another proposal that I would like to discuss with the SVREL management is to use the day to honour ladies who have contributed to the development of Jamaica over the years.

“That was something that was tried in Trinidad and it was very successful as 10 persons were identified; the races were named after them and they were allowed to be guests of the promoter on the day.

“And, who knows it may make racing fans of people who didn't even know that Caymanas Park existed.

“So, if it an idea that is accepted and we can name and invite 10 women who have contributed to public life in this country and name races after them on the day and highlight them to the racing public, it is something I would like to throw out for consideration,” Armond said.

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