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Shocking!

'The state of the track will be reviewed by the track management team tomorrow' - Phumelela

 

A desperate last gasp attempt to rectify what appears to amount to a gross dereliction of duty on the part of the Vaal Racecourse track management, turned this afternoon’s first meeting back on the classic track into a comedy of errors.

It is difficult to find any positives – or excuses – for what happened at the Vaal today.

The nine race programme was scheduled to be the first back on the track after the installation of  Shelton drainage, but was eventually abandoned after the running of the fourth race ‘in the interest of the safety of horse and rider’.

A proposed change of distance,which included the fifth race being reduced from 1700m – and then supposedly to 1600m, failed. This was after insufficient rails left them with no option but to walk away and abandon the meeting completely.

While the tote rules are clear, little care was given to the implications of moving the goalposts for punters, who had structured their exotic bets based on the advertised  distances of races, with the implications of draw and track etc.

These excerpts from the official Stipes Report provide a sequence of the afternoon’s events.

Any  spelling errors are as incoming from the report:

AFTER THE   RUNNING   OF   RACE   3,   CONCERNS   WERE   RAISED   REGARDING   THE   UNDERFOOTCONDITIONS   OF   THE   BACK   STRAIGHT.   IN   THIS   REGARD,   THE   RECENTLY   LAYED   DRAINAGE CHANNELS HAD RENDERED THE TRACK UNEVEN IN PLACES BETWEEN THE 2000 METRE AND THE 1800 METRE. A TRACK INSPECTION WAS CONDUCTED AND IT WAS ESTABLISHED THAT THESE CONCERNS WERE LEGTIMATE.     ACCORDINGLY,   IN   THE   INTEREST   OF   SAFETY,   THE   DISTANCE   FOR   RACE   5   WASAMENDED FROM 2000 METRES TO 1700 METRES.RACES 4 – 9 WERE RE-SCHEDULED TO 14:45, 15:20, 16:00, 16:40, 17:20, 17:50, RESPECTIVELY

FOLLOWING THE RUNNING OF RACE 4, CONCERNS WERE EXPRESSED REGARDING THE SAFETY OFTHE TRACK CONDITIONS AROUND THE TURN.  DUE TO THE CONCERNS ALREADY EXPRESSED BYTHE   JOCKEYS   REGARDING   THE   BACK   STRAIGHT,     IT   WAS   DECIDED   TO   MOVE   THE   LONGERDISTANCE RACES TO THE OUTSIDE TRACK AND RUN RACE 6 AS SCHEDULED OVER 1000 METRESUP THE STRAIGHT ON THE CLASSIC TRACK.   HOWEVER, IT WAS ESTABLISHED THAT THERE WASINSUFFICIENT RUNNING RAIL TO FULLY ENCLOSE THE 1600 METRE OUTSIDE TRACK AND IN THEINTERESTS OF THE WELFARE OF HORSE AND RIDER, IT WAS DECIDED IN CONSULTATION WITH THE OPERATOR TO ABANDON THE REMAINDER OF THE RACEMEETING.

The Sporting Post has received reports from interested parties, including owners, trainers and jockeys stating that it was common knowledge that the track had not knitted in areas and there was advance notice of issues that could jeopardise the meeting.

Yet no apparent action was taken by the racing operator.

We were not able to determine whether the National Horseracing Authority were advised in advance of the concerns.

Racing AssociationThere was also no press release four hours after the abandonment from the owner representative body, the Racing Association, who would surely be expected to take up the cudgel on behalf of hard-hit owners.

With reports of tote betting turnover having dropped alarmingly in the past seven months, the events of today are unlikely to have any positive spin-offs for the industry.

Words aside, transparent communication is not the order of the day – and it will no doubt be business as usual tomorrow and the next – with the very same people in the driving seat.

Phumelela issued this press release a short while ago:

The race meeting on the Vaal Classic track this afternoon was abandoned after the running of Race 4.

This was the first race meeting on the surface since it was closed last November for its annual maintenance programme, during which time the track’s drainage was enhanced.

The first two races, both down the straight, went off flawlessly but concerns were raised after Race 3 over 1700m about inconsistencies in the going in some areas where the drainage had been enhanced.

A track inspection was held and in the interests of safety the distance of Race 5 was reduced from 2000m to 1700m.

After the running of Race 4 over 1700m, however, the jockeys expressed concerns about the safety of the track around the turn.

PhumelelaIt was then mooted to switch the remaining races round the turn to the Outside Track using bollards to demarcate the inside of the straight 1600m course. After due consideration this was deemed unsafe.

The only alternative was to move the running rail from the Classic Track to the Outside Track, which had not been prepared for racing. But despite every effort it was found it would take too long to remove and re-install the running rail. Consequently there was no option but to abandon the meeting.

The state of the track will be reviewed by the track management team tomorrow (Wednesday) and any shortcomings in the surface will be remedied as quickly as possible.

According to the ruling that at least two legs of any Exotic bet must to run to effect a payment, a dividend for both the BiPot and Place Accumulator was declared. The BiPot paid out R2.20 and the Place Accumulator R1.20.

All Pick 6 and Jackpot bets will be refunded.



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17 comments on “Shocking!”

  1. So much for track inspection prior to the race meeting taking place! We as punters go by the condition of the track, so are we being lied to more often than not!

  2. Should we not ask Mr Louis Goosen the duly elected Vaal TrainersRepresentative and Chairman of the Vaal Committees, for the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth,

  3. Do South African jockeys not walk the track before a race meeting?
    Or is that only done by pros like Frankie Dettori,Moore and company?

  4. As owner and RA member ( although cancelled my registration recently) will it be too much to expect the Racing Association to stand up and be a voice for the owners, members ,trainers and punters?
    No action can be taken with the track manager as he clearly stated he his “contrite”

  5. Why did the rails have to be moved? The old sand track on which the classic track is built had rails all round. Corporatisation was supposed to bring more efficient management not mismanagement. What a bunch of incompetents.

  6. Regarding the Vaal meeting held on 15 March 2017. The track was reported 10 days ago unsafe. Every business should start with “O” organize, if you can’t organise you don’ t belong there. K Barnard

  7. Its 11.45 Wednesday 15 March,and after reading headlines like.
    Hawkins: Industry Facing Challenges
    Tellytrack Apologies—Racing Blackout
    Shocking —The state of the Track
    Jockeys–No More
    Decide to take the Quickmix bets for the day.Go to Tabgold website Being in a hurry because first leg is off at 11.50 .quickly work out bet and phone in bet. Just managed to get bet on
    Now to Quickmix Two.But whoa according to Tabgold the first leg is 9th Vaal then 4th Cheltenham
    Whoa,whoa was that not yesterday.
    Ok it does state 14th March But Mr. Patrick Loker had promised they had sorted out these website problems
    Then remember reading this——-75 years from now people will look back and say ‘Those Idiots’.

    1. Official Response from Gold Circle:
      The writer is quite correct, the incorrect Quickmix fields were loaded onto our website this morning and when the error was realized the correct sheets were uploaded at 11:53.

      The error is regretted and the employee responsible will be subjected to a disciplinary process. Gold Circle, and in particular me in my capacity as Commercial Executive, sincerely apologise to punters who were affected by this mistake by our organisation.

      We will obviously make every attempt to ensure that this situation is not repeated.

      Regards

      Patrick Loker

      1. Promise this will be the last time comments will be posted about Gold Circles messed up website (Tabgold).
        If you had that funny idea that A came before B and B before C then check out Tabgold’s website for Quickmix Race Summary for some fun
        Click on Quickmix–You then get Race Summary A (besides Gold Circle IT people’s thinking that should show fields for Quickmix One.Right?Wrong..That gives you the fields for Quickmix Two which starts at 17.15 Fairview Race 9.
        Race Summary B gives fields for Quickmix 3 start time 21.25.
        So if you want Quickmix ! fields which starts at 11.30 click on Race Summary C
        Easy-Peasy
        About that promise, ..We will obviously make every attempt to ensure that this situation is not repeated.

        1. James, Here is response from Patrick Loker, Gold Circle Commercial Executive:

          We have had an error within our system that we only realised today was causing this “shuffling” of the sheets. It could well be the fact that it is unusual to have three Quickmix bets in the same day but that is not an excuse, just that it has never been identified as a problem before. We are in the progress of remedying the problem but unfortunately this takes a bit of time. I have also got the IT team to change the fixtures to reflect Quickmix One, Quickmix Two etc relative to the name on the sheet. As you are aware the new website has been in place for a while now and we really did believe that we had all the problems sorted out but clearly that is not the case. If errors occur we make endeavours to remedy them. I do apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers.

          Regards

          Patrick Loker

        2. And let’s give Patrick Loker a Bells!
          When it comes to responding promptly and fully to comments, he has no peers

  8. all the mishaps in the last year to many to count how come this hardly happened 25 years ago maybe the wrong people in place more of a job than passion

  9. Nico announced today that Stan Diesel the consultant to the track managers sadly lost his life in a motor cycle accident. The knowledge pool is waning will that mean more interruptions due to poor tracks.

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