20 Years Ago: Sands Of Time – August 1991

August 1991

AUGUST 4 – 10

Parisian Affair, in foal to Foveros, fetches top price of R400.000 at the Highdown dispersal sale. The buyer is Norman Tilley. Sixty six lots at the sale average R41.000.

Cynics would say “I could have told you that”, when the odds-on favourite gets run over in the bookmaker sponsored Pip James Stakes (WFA). The 6/1 shot Post Manager makes all the running to finish half a length ahead of Marabar Hills, who started at 8/10.
Talk about sponsors getting value for money!

Spanish Galliard beats Olympic Duel in the Champion Stakes, but is placed second after an objection by the Stipes at Greyville. The grounds are “intimidation in the latter stages”. Olympic Duel thus opens Tony Millard’s Graded Race account very early in the new season. Olympic Duel will remain in training for another season.

AUGUST 11 – 17

Just over 300 of the 383 catalogued juveniles are knocked down at the National Two-Year-Old sale at Germiston. The sale averages R12.400. Highest price is R75.000, laid out for lot 254 – the Golden Thatch colt Gold Route, who is out of a 4-time winning Politician mare.
The sale has a high HP Factor – for Hilda Podlas buys another 14 youngsters, and retains her high visibility established at earlier sales in 1991. Her total for the season stands at 49 yearlings, bought at an average of R35.320 (median price R33.000) – which adds up to a cool R1.7 million. The monthly keep for the lot, at a guess, should not be far off R50.000 a month. It’ll be interesting to see how the HP Factor weighs up in 1992, and whether more juveniles are bought at the coming Ready To Run sales.

Goldmark dethrones Senor Santa and shows San Carlos a thing or two, too, when he wins the Mercury Sprint in impressive fashion. Always handy, he is never in any danger to score by a length from San Carlos. Senor Santa is unplaced. Senor Santa’s trainer Pieters is quoted as saying that the horse’s problem may be mental.

Computaform informs Racing Digest that it doesn’t regard itself as a tipping magazine, and therefore no longer wishes to be associated with the tipsters-log published by Racing Digest each week.
Not one of the tipsters on the log shows a profit. Computaform was in 11th position when it made the request for withdrawal. The log is based on Saturday meetings held on the Highveld only.

AUGUST 18 – 24

J&B announces an increase in sponsorship for the J&B Met, which will now be worth three quarters of a million. The race will move one week further into January, which should make for an exciting time in the Cape, with the Goodwood Sales and the Cape Guineas straight afterwards.
All events are likely to be covered by TopSport, certainly the J&B Met will be.

Guy Rixon wins the Gr1 Golden Slipper with Magnificent Miss, half-sister to another Gr1 winner, Girl On A Swing. Their dam Delectable Lady was born with a spinal abnormality, never raced, and had only three foals in all. Some achievement to have two Gr1 winners!
Magnificent Miss is by Golden Thatch, who also scored a notable Gr1 double as he sired last Saturday’s Gr1 winner Goldmark.
In previous years the Golden Slipper has been won by Star Effort, Roland’s Song, and Ecurie.

Nominations are announced for the ARCSA Awards, which are to be held in PE early in September. Flaming Rock, Olympic Duel and Star Effort are the nominees for Horse of the Year.
But there are surprises in other categories – incredously, Aquanaut and Topa Inca have to give way to Honey Chunk and Rough Rival in the “stayer” category, for which Illustrador is the third nominee.

At the annual Natal Breeders awards ceremony, Mighty Crystal is voted champion Natal-bred juvenile of the 1990/91 season. Mighty Crystal is also voted the Natal-bred Horse of the Year, but lets the side down a day later. That is in the R100.000 Natal Breeders Challenge over a mile at Clairwood, where he fails to run on and can do no better than fourth, three lengths behind (Natal-bred) winner Unaware.
The latter’s name no doubt refers to the previous night’s awards ceremony.

On the same day at Clairwood, Ricky Maingard wins the Gr1 Gold Vase for the third time in a row when Respectable holds off Icona in the run home. It is Respectable’s second win in this race (she’d also won it two years ago), which changed its title this year from plain Gold Vase to Administrators Gold Vase. This name change further confuses the naming of major races, every second one of which now seems to carry the pre-fix “Administrators”. It’s about time the respective Provincial dignitaries put an end to this nonsensical flattery which future historians are bound to abhor.

It’s still winter, but two course records are broken at opposite ends of the country.
At Clairwood My Double runs the 1000m in 56.2 seconds on what can only be described as firm going, to break the record held by Red Bishop.
In the Cape, at a wind- and rain-swept Milnerton, the gelding Sailing Fleet peels one tenth of a second off the longstanding record of 58.2 seconds set by Cape Flying Championship winner Tucaman.

AUGUST 25 – 31

The cinder track at Milnerton gets a new lease of life when the last of 120 trucks delivers its load of seashell grit from Blouberg. The seashell grit can only be collected in winter, given the right tides and winds, and raises the cinder track’s surface by some 10cm.
It seems that now that Millard has gone, they’re bringing his beach to the training track!

The Argus Group and Times Media emerge as the major players competing for the future PRS (Premium Rate Service) market – a telephone information system. At present the market is being tested with an international link-up to Australia. Now suddenly the heavy advertising campaign for racing information (“phone Australia at R6 a minute”) run in the Argus papers, and Times Media’s Computaform and Racing Digest, falls into place.
The service is said to attract thousands of calls a day – but that may have been before the callers got their next telephone account.
When the service comes on line locally in a few months time, the cost of such calls ought to drop considerably. But how long-term its success is will depend to a large extent on the quality of the information provided. If the Racing Digest tipsters log is anything to go by, not many players will survive.
The one thing hard to accept is that the South African race clubs appear to have settled for second place, lacking the will to win. One would have expected them to be first in line to provide their betting customers with the latest updates, especially as a network of phone numbers already exists in all major centres. This simply has to be money no raceclub has the right to give up to private enterprise.

The “Passport to Paradise” competiton, run by the Durban Turf Club (Greyville) to the end of the winter season, is won by trainer Ricky Maingard (with David Payne second) and jockey Robbie Sham (with Anton Marcus as runner-up). Both win a trip to the Seychelles. The burning question is: will they go together?

The Jockey Club votes apprentice Doug Whyte as the outstanding apprentice jockey for the 1990/91 season. Whyte receives the prestigious Elevation trophy in honour of the achievement.

Provincial representatives agree on common levels for tax payable by punters on winning bets to be the same country-wide (they hadn’t been up to now). The new level of 12% has Transvaal bookmakers up in arms.

Five of the six new Milnerton Turf Club stewards elected in the controversial special club meeting earlier this year find themselves out in the cold again when the latest election results are announced at the Club’s AGM. Their places are taken – you’ve guessed it – by five stewards who were on the committee before March. With one exception, the current committee now exists of the same stewards as before March. Ironically, Jeff Bub (chairman of the committee that bit the dust) receives the majority of the votes.
It’ll be interesting to see what the committee’s approach to Club membership fees, parking facilities and bookmaker’s siting will be – the three points that so publicly caused the fall of the previous committee – and whether the “new” stewards still have the courage of their former convictions.

At Scottsville, racing stages its first “Skins” meeting, loosely based on the concept successfuly used in golf. Trainers, jockeys, owners, as well as punters (for them jockeys will be the key) have the opportunity to double up and up as the afternoon progresses.
The meeting is sponsored jointly by TopSport and the Daily News, and all races on the day are televised. It seems rather a pity that top jockeys Felix Coetzee, Robbie Sham and Jeff Lloyd (he rode a 4-timer at Clairwood last Saturday) all started suspensions earlier in the week, and are unable to ride on Skins-day.
Hero of the day is Kevin Shea, who collects R60.000 worth of skins, and also wins the feature event, the Frank Lambert Stakes, on San Carlos.
The Scottsville Tote reaches the near record level of R6.7 million on the day, with a record Pick Six pool of R637.000.

At Turffontein the stipes report after the first race on Saturday reads: “Desperate Woman changing legs in the latter stages”.
They don’t miss a trick, do they?

STOP PRESS – TIPPING SERVICE. So shouts Computaform, the publication that withdrew from the Racing Digest tipsters-log not so long ago. And adds: “Computaform, the leading form guide, enters the telephone tipping arena offering the following: Best Bests, Main Dangers, Outsiders To Consider. This expert information is available for all centres on the following numbers (…). This is an international call. Calls cost R3.00 for 30 seconds.”
Home Jerome, as the saying goes.

The Sunday Tribune runs a mystery race competition, where the field from a major race run during the last five years is published – but with the horse’s names left out. Contestants, who stand to win a trip to the USA, are asked to identify two of the first three horses home.
For those newspaper editors around the country who still doubt the power of the racing page, the Sunday Tribune receives more than 20.000 entries.
And for those who are still searching: the mystery race was the 1987 Gilbeys, won by Bold West, who beat Lord Randolph and Enforce.

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