2 July, 2022


Nuwara Eliya Champion Horse Charlatan Silenced Forever!

By Reeves Neydorff

Reeves Neydorff

Reeves Neydorff

The pomp and pageantry is over. The revival of horse racing was back in Sri Lanka and it rose to a dreamy height. Ministers, a governor, a mayor, the rich and the famous were seen in their suits, men in top hats, ladies in sprawling dresses, fancy hats and with champagne flutes overflowing. There was prize money too and the richest prize ever to have been awarded in the sport, in this paradise isle.

However as all revelers have dispersed now, the worrying factor is, where is the fallen champion horse Charlatan who fell down and broke it’s leg?

The name Charlatan caught my eye! A name defined as “a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud”.

The prize winning horse had an accident in its last outing on the 30th of April at the Nuwara Eliya races! Another put down!

Claims of not having lost a race this 6 year old bay gelding was a product of the stud farm, before it was gelded!Deepthika Jayakody the Owner with Late Champion Thoroughbred Charlatan

This horse had earned millions for its owners over the years, on more ways than one!

But I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction from the Royal Turf Club post races, the present franchisee.

A bold statement was splashed across their Facebook page. Their comments made after the incident and their pledge to rehabilitate the injured Charlatan and keep him as their Ceremonial mascot was what they portrayed.

However this would be against all horse racing traditions. Horses are just an investment to the rich and once it has lost its value it is just more expensive to up keep it, especially with a broken leg! Usually it would be better for the insurers to euthanize or put down.

Well done Royal Turf Club or so I thought!

That was till I heard the disturbing news that the Charlatan the champion had already been put down the day after its fall. My curiosity was aroused. Why this subterfuge? Why hasn’t there been any further information forthcoming?

The Royal Turf Club as it calls itself came into being recently. It was after many allegations of doping horses, by the scandal ridden Sri Lanka Turf Club that eventually had their stable doors closed.

The RTC was formed and the Nuwara Eliya race course which is the property of the Sugathadasa Stadium was placed into their hands after much promise. In fact clean promises were made before it was handed to them on a two year lease. With that came the massive refurbishing of the race course. Businessman Rienzie Edwards splashed freely and lavishly and the stables, the race course and the sport was revived. Tens of millions of rupees and the subsequent partying in imitation of our past colonial masters began. Champagne and wine and top-hat and tails, et al! But each to his own fancy I say! But the cost was around the hundred million mark someone whispered.

For what purpose?Charlatan on ground after the fall.

How can horse racing which is an elite sport (and Sri Lanka does not even have a recognized industry) bring Sri Lanka any benefit? Only bookies will thrive! And stud farms!The Nuwara Eliya races, were sponsored by an Indian stud farm, even Charlatan’s jockey was Indian.

And now they euthanize! But they do it in deceit.

I am waiting to see any further posting of pictures and the loving care and the kindness that any animal deserves after it has been ridden into the ground. Or was it ridden for the pleasure of an Elite minority! Its owner Deepthika Jayakody the sister in law of Rinzie Edwards would know best.

The sport of Kings is not a part of Sri Lanka! We do not have any Kings in Sri Lanka!

The last one who dared is sulking and sniffling with his courtiers on the curbside!

But I do remember the outcry at allegations of his son’s ownership of Thoroughbred race horses! And the Golden horses he once rode with his girlfriend.

We as a nation decry the use of animals for pleasure or sport! Or any Kingly affectations!

So what difference a horse?

Animal rights activists are calling for more stringent regulations and some are even calling for the closure of the Dehiwela Zoo! And now this! Wonder what Animal rights activist Otara’s views on this is?

Horse racing is a brutal industry! It is competitive, its main product is gambling and will only enrich the bookies.

The pious platitudes of its purveyors, as to care and respect for the Horse named Charlatan, need re-examination and to the backdrop against which they were made!

What grounds for the injured horses death will be proffered. If it is dead! Heart attack I heard another whisper during operation, caused by trauma? Or was it a lethal concoction injected into its veins? Is Charlatan already buried? Is there insurance involved?

What costs or facilities did the RTC have in mind when they confidently made the first comments over the Horses injury! Did they already know of its demise before they made the statements and to what purpose were they really made?

I await any response to my queries from those who could enlighten me.

Or else am I to believe what was told to me came from the horse’s mouth itself?

May the ‘Royal Turf’ rest softly over you Charlatan, a champion ! a king!

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Orange William was the “wonder horse” of SL (Ceylon) racing owned by Arthur Edward Ephraums and R E S de Soysa.
    ELF De Soysa and his 16 wins is the record for a trainer with horses Jack O’Lantern, Melrose and Footprint
    The best jockey was probably L. Davidson riding Shangri La owned by GNG Walles.

  • 11

    Get a life mate yes its cruel and sad but Sri Lanka has more pressing needs than worry about this and make a hue and cry

    Before protesting about this lets talk about the delays in the Thajudeen case,the dissapeared,those who got killed like Prageeth and Lasantha and countless civillians

    • 9

      You have missed the point entirely. The author’s ire is that he was lied to blatantly. What was the purpose if not to placate the people concerned with animal rights. Like it or not, this is a Royal Sport and Royal standards should prevail. Instead of concocting stories about the welfare of an injured horse, other nations publicise the fact that an expensive investment was put down for its own relief.

    • 1

      Who prepares your “pressing issues” rankings list?

  • 3

    [Edited out]

    • 9

      It has been reported that Rienzie Edwards was/is the front man for the infamous Gotabhaya’s [Edited out]

  • 10


    The passage I most agree with, in this somewhat ambivalent piece, where the reader is unsure which way your moral pendulum swings, is “Horse racing is a brutal industry! It is competitive, its main product is gambling and will only enrich the bookies.” Yes and yes to that. However the main brutality of this brutal industry is the brutality practiced by humans on the poor horses. The horses are regularly beaten, exercised to the point of utter exhaustion and pumped with all sorts of hormones and chemicals to make them run faster.

    Ah but then of course we almost miss the point, Sri Lanka after all is a Buddhist Sinhala country, isn’t it?

    • 8

      …..’The horses are regularly beaten, exercised to the point of utter exhaustion and pumped with all sorts of hormones and chemicals to make them run faster.’…..

      AND, after all that, the poor animal ends up as corned beef!

      “show loving-kindness to all beings, including animals” said the Noble One. No sign of that here then.

  • 4

    The name Charlatan appears to suit the “connections” quite well .

  • 10

    ‘Wonder what Animal rights activist Otara’s views on this is?’

    I don’t think she will care a damn. Kissing stray puppies is more fashionable and earns you brownie points rather than speaking up for the horses and earning the wrath of the high flying, whisky drinking fasionista crowd.

    • 0

      Why don’t you do something, then, if YOU do give a damn.

  • 5

    Perhaps Prof. De Silva the Vet from Peradeniya could highlight readers more on this as he was closely associated closely with Charlatan after the wounded horse fell and broke his leg, and maybe knows a thing or two about the demise of the horse. The X – Rays would also prove that there was no way the broken leg could have been healed. The Turf Club’s silence and not providing a statement after this story broke makes me believe the horse must be already euthanized and buried. The Jayaratne Black Magic has taken its toll. It wont be long before a picture of the dead horse appears now. Reeves my man you certainly have your ear to the ground. Superb investigative stuff mate. The follow up story I am sure would be as good as the broken news piece.

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