Malta Horse Racing: An overview on the old tradition of horse racing in Malta

Horse racing in Malta is a very popular sport, even though like most other sport activities on the islands, it lacks facilities.

Malta horse racing has a long tradition and is very much part of the Maltese islands’ culture and heritage.

A long standing racing tradition dating back to the 15th century is still held on Saqqajja Hill at Rabat to this day.

This old Maltese tradition consists of bareback horse races that take place on the 29th of June of each year. The 29th of June is a public holiday on the Maltese islands and commemorates the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. This day is known as L-Imnarja in Maltese.

malta horse racings

These horse races were very much supported by the Knights of St John, especially when the islands were ruled by Grand Masters De Verdalle and De Lascaris-Castellar. So much so, that the knights gave out orders that nobody was allowed to interfere with these horse races.

There is only one racecourse in Malta, the Marsa Racing course.

Founded in 1868, the Marsa racing course was said to be one of the longest tracks in Europe back then.

The first horse races in Marsa were held on the 12th and 13th of April 1869.

Horse Racing in Malta Today

The races are held every Sunday from October to May.

The races for the most part are trotting, i.e. the jockey rides a two-wheeled gig drawn by the horse.

No races are held during the hot summer months.

If you’re visiting Malta anytime soon, why not go to the Marsa race course and watch some spectacular horse races?

For more information such as horse fixtures and races calendar for 2012, visit the official website of the Marsa race course:

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