The final of the Tazza l-Kbira, the most prestigious race in the local horse racing calendar, will take place this Sunday at the Marsa Racetrack.

This year’s event is being sponsored for the first time by Equality, the Malta Racing Club (MRC) said in a statement.

Five qualifying races were held on March 27, featuring a total of 57 horses after three were declared as non-runners.

In one of these races, Pedro Vici, driven by Johann Axisa, recorded the best time ever over the 2,640 metres in this competition after clocking an average of 1’13”9 per kilometre.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck this horse which died a few days before the semi-finals.

On April 10, a total of 18 trotters participated in the two semi-finals with the top six in each race securing a place in the final.

Of the 12 qualifiers, four were finalists last year, including winner Qui Sait which will be bidding to become only the fourth horse to win the Tazza l-Kbira twice or more.

Ike Williams C leads the all-time list after winning the competition four times in 1962, 1963, 1965 and 1966 while Voe Sole triumphed twice in 1952 and 1953.

More recently, James de l’Iton claimed back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009.

The best time ever during the final was registered last year by winner Quit Sait, driven by Rodney Gatt, 1’15”2.

The national record over the 2,640m distance is 1’13”6.

Sunday’s meeting at Marsa also has a philanthropic aim as volunteers from the Għaqda Solidarjeta bl-Isport will collect donations in aid of the Community Chest Fund and L-Istrina.

The Equality Tazza l-Kbira is the seventh race on the card, starting at 16.40.

The total prize fund is €4,950 with €2,700 going to the winner.