JUNE 28 – JULY 4
Juvenile HMS Pinafore fetches top-price at the traditional Horses-in-training sale at Maritzburg. Bloodstock agent Michel Nairac goes to R35.000 to secure the colt. The sale averages R5.600 for 51 lots sold.
Del Sarto’s son Fine Regent makes racing history when winning the Newmarket Stayers Triple Crown.
Owned by envelope-magnate Paddy Hinton, Fine Regent licks his opposition to collect a R300.000 bonus awarded to the winner of all three legs.
The Newmarket raceclub for the first time had decided not to insure against a horse winning all three legs, an insurance for which they’d paid a fair premium in previous years. Ironically, Hinton is chairman of the Newmarket raceclub.
Blast from the Past is a computer generated race with 20 runners, all former July winners.
Also on occasion of the Rothmans July, a new coffee table book is launched. “A History of the July Handicap” shows a year by year pictorial history of the race, with descriptions of the fields and winners for each year. The book covers the July Handicap from its inaugural running in 1897, when the race was over a mile and generated a Tote pool of œ266.
The colourful volume was supervised by Ernie Duffield, who knows more about the big race than most of us and who’s been around about as long as the July. Ernie can be seen in the book bringing up the rear of the July parade in 1926 – as a jockey.
Controversy erupts when the owners of Transvaal juvenile Lombard Rate instigate Supreme Court action as a result of the colt’s elimination from the final line-up of the Gr1 Administrators Futurity. Instead of eliminating according to racefigures, the Club’s handicapper had chosen the final three runners in the field of fourteen by drawing them out of a hat.
The judge orders Lombard Rate’s elimination to be set aside, but leaves the decision as to the constitution of the final field to the Turf Club. As racecards and Winning Form have already been printed, the stewards of the Club decide that it is in the public interest to leave the final field unaltered.
Ante-post disaster strikes when July favourite Empress Club is found to have a virus and is scratched from the big race. This means that every one who has backed the filly before her scratching has lost their money – and the total amount forfeited runs into millions. Ecstatic bookmakers install Secret Rites as the new favourite at 3/1, with Military Muse at fives, and Flaming Rock and Spanish Galliard at sixes.
The average is down at the Natal Yearling Sales, where American bred Afleet Of Sales fetches the top price of R135.000. The yearling colt is secured by Natal trainer Watkinson, and is from the first crop of US-stallion Afleet who served a handful of mares to Southern hemisphere time at Graham Beck’s Gainesway Farm.
Also at the Natal Sales, Terrance Millard spends R20.000 to secure Knight’s Chalice, half brother by Royal Chalice to Surfing Home – the latter looks the likely flag-bearer for the Millard stable in 1993.
Highest priced filly is good looking daughter of Secret Prospector (out of a Northfields mare), knocked down for R90.000 to Cape trainer Geoff Woodruff. The filly is the second highest lot at the sales.
Greyville follows the style set by Scottsville, staging three Grade One races on Rothmans July Day.
The first of the three, the Garden Province Stakes, ends in a blanket finish, with the Sleek Gold filly Sleek Wine prevailing by less than a length from Power Filly and Miss Averof. The latter had come from her customary position at the tail-end of the field and only just failed. The winner had been purchased by her trainer out of a claiming race for R4.000 four runs earlier, and started at 20/1. Sleek Wine has now earned R128.000 for her new stable.
The result of the second of the race-trio isn’t any less of a surprise, the winner again starting at 20/1. Del Sarto gelding This England narrowly defeats Cape challenger Recognition, whose stable companion Court Messenger runs fourth. The race was runs at a muddling pace early on, and the result seems unlikely to be reliable. Race favourite Take A Walk wasn’t suited by the pace at all, and ran unplaced.
The pace was quite a different story in the Rothmans July, where Millard in-mate Surfing Home set off at a cracking gallop. That fast pace sorts the men from the boys at the business end of the race, where Military Muse fails to stay after looking the winner a furlong out. Eternal big-race bridesmaid Spanish Galliard finally gets his act together and wins from fast finisher Eastbrook and the game Olympic Duel. Fourth place is shared by Military Muse and long time leader Surfing Home. The latter is a young imported three-year-old, of giant proportions. He will no doubt be Millard’s ace for next season.
July favourite Secret Rites, ridden by Hong Kong champion Basil Marcus, finished last, reportedly lame. The horse’s defeat also interrupts the sequence of winning July tips for Daily News “big race ace” Stewart Ramsay.
There’s another first for East Cape Racing, originators of twilight racing, breakfast racing – and of course also those folks who brought us racefigures!
Now there’s live racing beamed by microwave link from Natal and the Transvaal to the Greenacres off-course Tote in Port Elizabeth. It is the first ever telecast in an off-course Tote in the country, and bound to be the trend of the future. The new broadcasts are on trial for a month.
JULY 5 – 11
At the Maritzburg Weanling and Mare Sale, the first weanling in the ring for the special “Select Weanling” section fetches the highest price. The Foveros filly is secured by the Thoroughbred Group for R80.000. The twelve weanlings sold at the sale average R21.000. Fifty other weanlings offered in the non-select section contribute R160.000 to the sale’s aggregate.
Highest price mare is sprinter Sounds Of Light, a daughter of All Fired Up. She is bought by Aldora Stud, where All Fired Up does duties.
Jockey Michael Roberts has a brush with death, as the light aeroplane in which he travels from Chester crashes on take-off. The plane hits a bump, loses one of its wheels, and goes through a hedge to come to a standstill in a ditch – minus one wing. Roberts escapes with minor bruises.
Racing takes place at the Vaal on Saturday, to celebrate the inauguration of the track’s R10 million facelift of its facilities. Vaal meetings normally take place on weekdays only.
The stipes report (according to Computaform) joins in with the celebrations: “Jewel of Jamaica distressed after race and lame near fore. Just Joyce injured mouth, lame near mouth. Drunk As A Lass specimen taken for analysis.”
Stiping is not all fun, though. For the feature race winner at the Vaal is Hint, who’d finished almost 40 lengths back at his previous start, in Kimberley. The Stipes interview trainer Miller, and draw his attention to the rules regarding inconsistent running. Inconsistent? Since July last year, Hint has finished out of the places only ONCE in his previous THIRTEEN starts, on average less than three lengths behind the winner (he scored 5 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds and 2 fourths). If that’s inconsistent, then the the Transvaal stipes better suspend 95% of the their horse population!
What the stipes should have done, of course, was to inquire at Hint’s last start, in Kimberley, about what went wrong and have made THAT public – which could have gone some way to prevent Hint’s SP of 20/1 when he won at the Vaal (R85 on the Tote), and certainly would have made the ludricous public questioning of Hint’s trainer at the Vaal quite unnecessary.
The Hint case (failure of the stipes to inquire when a horse unexpectedly runs below best, and rather leave the inquiry until the horse resumes his normal pattern after one below-best performance) is by no means an isolated one.
Which is why attention is hereby drawn to inconsistent (in-and-out) stiping, for which as yet no Rule exists.
Also on occasion of the Vaal meeting, M-Net shows it is not any more concerned about viewers than its rival on number One usually is. Having promised to show the Durban Merchants and JB Macintosh from Greyville, the races do not materialise at the appropriate time. M-Net states it will show the races, but gives no indication when during the afternoon. Racing’s supporters are apparently expected to sit glued to the M-Net channel “just in case”.
Who said TV-broadcasting of racing had become professional?
The two feature events at Greyville are won by Laurie Jaffee. Alter Ego pips badly drawn Marie Galante on the post in the Durban Merchants, and equals Extra Cover’s course record for the 1200m. The two-year-old fillies event falls to Jaffee’s New Zealand bred Hancock Park, who shows her Allan Robertson run on the hard Scottsville track to be all wrong.
Both Jaffee’s winners are trained by David Payne and ridden by his new stable jockey Doug Whyte.
JULY 12 – 18
In Australia, where jockeys are routinely dope tested, apprentice jockey Aaron Kennedy is suspended for three months after testing positive for grass.
Kennedy appeals against the sentence, claiming he ate a cannabis cookie by mistake.
American jockey Julie Krone achieves in a single evening at Redcar (UK) what many jockeys and sports personalities fail to achieve in a lifetime: impact. She rides a treble of winners on her first visit to a Britsh track. And she does it with style, panache, sheer presence and vitality.
In the US, performing means much more than just winning. Sporting heroes are showmen or showwomen. American jockeys don’t just ride a good race, they talk a good race and sell the sport that makes them millionaires – with charm, not brashness.
The Marquess of Zetland, who brought Krone (28) to his hometown track, was still spellbound long after the 4ft 10in Krone had returned home. “It was an astonishing performance”, he said. “She has tremendous presence.
Krone has over 2400 winners to her credit and is the tenth leading jockey in the US this year.
New entrance qualifications are released for the Cape Guineas, which will this year be run in December – six weeks earlier than before. In previous years horses had to have won 3 races at time of nomination, which has now been reduced to two.
The 1992/93 Cape season now begins in the second week of November and ends in the first week of February. The Transvaal season opens a week later, and lasts until the first Saturday in May, when the action shifts to Natal.
The Cape Breeders Stakes (formerly Boland Breeders Stakes and highlight of the Cape juvenile winterseason) is won in impressive fashion by Eli’s Truth, a son of Eli’s Star. The winner is one of a first crop of only four foals sired by Eli’s Star, a son of Elliodor, and sired in the same year as Elliodor’s champion son Model Man. Of the four foals in Eli’s Star’s first crop, three have raced and three have won.
Olympic Duel’s full brother Dancing Duel wins the Gr2 Clairwood Futurity over 1800m and lays claim to being one of the best juveniles in training. Dancing Duel had been eliminated from the field in the Administrators Juvenile Championship on Rothmans July day.
JULY 19 – 25
Probiotics, marketed as a virtual cure-all for a horse’s ills by an increasing number of companies abroad, are to be looked into by Britain’s Horseracing Forensic Laboratories, which do all the Jockey Club’s tests.
A live microbial food supplement, probiotics replace the beneficial bacteria in a horse’s hindgut that are lost through unnatural diets, and the stresses of transport and competition. According to promoters, they result in improved fibre digestion and better synthesis of some vitamins, which leads to enhanced performance in racehorses, better conception in mares, greater growth rates in young horses and improved resistance to disease.
They contain no substances on the Jockey Club’s list of prohibited substances, do not return dope positive tests and (according to independent vets) do not seem to show detrimental side effects.
Some leading vets regard probiotics as useful in the breeding industry, particularly when dealing with foal scours.
Three-year-old Grey Angel restores her reputation with a win in the Tibouchina Stakes at Clairwood. It is the fifth win from seven starts for the imported daughter of Kenmare.
As if to celebrate the occasion, Australian juvenile What A Budget arrives in quarantine. Imported by Grey Angel’s owner Podlas, the colt is also by sire Kenmare. What A Budget has won twice and was twice Group placed in Australia. The grey should provide an interesting comparison between the strength of South African and Australian bloodstock when he races here at three.
The Stipes Report from the first race at the Vaal reports “Harem Queen changing legs continuously”.
At the Keeneland July Sales, the premier yearling sale in the US, Arab spending is down 10% on 1991, while Japanese purchases are holding steady. The overall result is a 19% lower sales average and the highest ever proportion of horses that don’t reach their reserve price.
Mr Prospector tops the sale, when three of his yearlings fetch the two highest and the fourth highest price ($1.7 million, $1.3 million and $950.000).
Mainstay Day at Clairwood coincides with the opening ceremony of the Olympics at Barcelona. Joining the mood, Clairwood holds medal ceremonies after each race, where jockeys are awarded gold, silver and bronze.
Military Muse coasts home in the Mainstay, after racing just off the pace behind front runner I’m Livania, who holds on for second. Fancied three-year-olds Secret Rites and Unaware make little impression in a race marred by a slow early pace and scrimmaging up the back straight.
Also on Mainstay day, the most predictable winner is Spook And Diesel – Natal’s slang for cane and coke.
Dipped-backed Glenconner wins the third leg of the Cape Winter Challenge and collect a R20.000 bonus for the horse with the most points in the challenge series. Glenconner had also won the first leg, but missed the second as he was taken to Natal for the Derby.
JULY 26 – AUGUST 1
Roland’s Song comes under the hammer at the Winter Million Sale and is knocked down for R220.000 to Curt Heunis, which presumably means that she is bought back on behalf of majority shareholder Richard Scheepers. Earlier in the year, NTI’s Norman Tilley had “bought” Roland Song for a reported R600.000. The latter deal fell through when no funds were forthcoming.
Tommy Loftus, long-standing senior judge of Cape racing, retires after more than thirty years of picking them out on the line.
The final issue of Racing Digest is published. The publication, from the same stable as Computaform, reportedly lacks the circulation to make it a viable proposition.
Meanwhile, ballot papers from Racing Digest subscribers are still intended to be used in determining the winners for the infamous ARCSA awards. Wonder how many ballot papers the voting committee received?
Colourful Cape bookmaker Pip James‘ warning off for conspiracy to fix a race is set aside at a Jockey Club appeal hearing, and referred back to a different inquiry board to hear the case “de novo”. James had been warned off earlier in the year, in a case which also involved trainer Hodgson (warned off for six months and fined) and jockey Chelin (case dismissed, tried de novo, and again dismissed).
There must be a message here for the original board of inquiry (which, of all things, included a lawyer), when two of the three parties involved appeal successfully against their original sentencing.
Just one day later, James’ second warning off sentence on different offense (“interfering with a witness”) is confirmed, which means that the colourful bookmaker will not be seen in action again at Cape racecourses. The Jockey Club’s counsel argues that a fine would not be large enough a deterrent to others in the industry, which “is based on trust and the integrity of all bookmakers”. Wow!
Whether James (“Punters owe me a million”) will now strengthen the ranks of the Fairest Cape’s bucket shops is an interesting question, but one that is unlikely to be answered outright. Any guesses?
Assisted by a strong tailwind, Blushing Star lowers the Greyville track record for 1000m by one-tenth of a second to 56.7 seconds. Normally a front runner, Blushing Star on this occasion sits just off pacemaker Klaserie before making her move halfway up the straight.
The South African racing season finishes prematurely when the meeting in PE, scheduled for Friday 31 July, is abandoned because of waterlogged track conditions.
Jeff Lloyd becomes the new champion jockey, with a new record number of wins: 313 – more than one hundred ahead of Doug Whyte in second. Lloyd posts a strike rate of 21% winners to rides.
The trainer’s title is taken by Ormond Ferraris, with earnings of R5.1 million and a strike rate of 20% winners to runners. Ferraris has 52% placed runners, a figure only approached by Millard (50%) and Greeff (51%). Stanley Greeff, incidentally, ends the season with the largest number of winners. His 119 is three more than Ferraris’ total tally. No other trainer manages to break the 100-win barrier.
Meanwhile in China, the new reigning champion jockey of Inner Mongolia is one Za Na, a hunchback, who rides with long irons “gentleman style”, and reportedly uses reins made of rope.
With Roberts and Lloyd in England, and Marcus and Coetzee in Hong Kong, anyone for China?
The Transvaal OTA opens the new season with the introduction of a bonus to its members. The OTA will pay a sixth place stake of R200 on all races run in the Transvaal, provided the owner of the sixth placed horse is a member of the Transvaal OTA.
Robbyn Ramsay becomes South Africa’s first woman racing editor when she takes over the helm at the racing department of Natal’s Daily News. Previous editor, Stewart Ramsay, is promoted to a higher (non-racing) position with the newspaper group.
Another first is a breakfast meeting at Greyville, so as not to clash with the rugby match between Natal and the visiting All-Blacks.
Racing starts at 9.15 and the meeting is over at half past two.
During August, similar meetings will take place in the Transvaal and the Western Cape, as the visiting rugby players move around the country.
The third first is Britain’s first ever Sunday racemeeting, at Doncaster. Not surprisingly, the meeting is hugely successful and attracts a crowd of 20.000 racegoers. Bookmakers aren’t allowed to open their shops on the day, but beat the ban through telephone betting and the offering of odds on the Saturday before.
There’s little doubt that racing in South Africa would greatly benefit from Sunday racing, too.