Horse Racing

Gozo has its own race course, and its own traditional style of racing in addition to standard horse-and-jockey races. Traditional Maltese horse racing is a bit like Roman chariot-racing: the rider sits on a two-wheeled gig drawn by the horse.

Horse racing in the Maltese Islands goes back to the days of the Knights of St. John, particularly under enthusiastic Grand Masters De Verdalle (sixteenth century) and De Lascaris-Castellar (seventeenth century). So keen were they on their sport that specific orders were issued forbidding any interferance with races.

Racing in Gozo is not restricted to the track. On certain key festive dates of the year, races take place along the streets of towns and villages. The most famous of these draws substantial crowds to the main street of Ir-Rabat on the feast of St. Mary, 15th August. Races also take place at other festas including the feast of St Geroge in Ir-Rabat (Victoria), St. Margerita in, and festas in l-Għasri, in-Nadur, San Gorg, ix-Xagħra, ix-Xewkija and iż-Żebbuġ. For further information see Festas.

On June 29 (a public holiday), another ancient tradition sees bareback horse races take place across the Maltese Islands as part of the celebration of the feast of St Peter and St. Paul (also known as l-Imnarja).held in Nadur.

The Gozo Race Track is at Ta’ Xhajma close to Nadur and has a 1km indoor track, 54 stables, and a bar-restaurant. Racing takes place every other Sunday from October to May and intermittently over the summer. Most races are the traditional type with the two-wheeled gig drawn by a horse. For more information about fixtures and the race calendar please visit: http://www.gozohorseracing.com