June 25, 2012 was a memorable day for Maltese jockey Michael Sultana.
Riding American six-year-old Kimberley Downs, Sultana finished first in the Prix Paddock race, held over a short distance of 1,800m, at the Oostende racetrack in Belgium.
This was the first time a thoroughbred horse registered in Malta triumphed in a race abroad.
Owned by Sultana and Jonathan Borg, Kimberley Downs figured regularly at the Marsa racetrack over the past year before the horse began to compete in mainland Europe.
Kimberley Downs made its debut in Malta on April 17 last year, going on to win six races, including the Exotique Cup final, from eight outings. Kimberley Downs had the top weight of 63 kilos at the Prix Paddock race.
“The Oostende racetrack has a grass surface and that made it more difficult for our horse to adapt,” Sultana said.
“Those with some knowledge of this type of racing know that it’s not easy for a horse to run on turf after competing on a harder track like that at Marsa for several months.
“After moving to Belgium, we made some changes to the horse’s training routine and other implements so vital in this sport.”
Sultana said that Kimberley Downs will remain in Belgium to prepare for a series of races in France this summer.