I felt I would be failing in my duty not to respond to Mr Thiselton’s article in the Sunday Argus of 16th December 2012, “Keeping you on the Right Track”.
I am writing my response both to Mr Thiselton and the Sporting Post as I believe my comments would more likely be binned in the National paper due to the restrictions placed on their journalists.
Regarding Satellite yards in Natal: There seems to be a rather warped view of who is suitable to hold a satellite yard in KZN and who is not, which I find extremely hard to fathom. I have asked why this is so but have not yet received a reasonable answer.
In response to Mr Thiselton’s article, where numerous KZN trainers are quoted, I would like to know between Mr Bass, Mr Kannemeyer and myself, how many MR76 horses we are holding? In fact, how many horses in total are we holding? I would say it is in the region of 30 to 35 horses between the three of us. Are we really that much of a danger to our fellow KZN colleagues?
How many Maidens do we have out of those 35 horses? I would bet it is not really that many. One thing is for certain; hopefully our Maidens are a little bit better than Mr Eudey’s Curlin’s Cousin that ran off a 47 rating on Sunday 5th January. This poor animal has had 9 runs and I don’t think has reached under double figures yet in his distance off the winner. Is this really the type of horse that KZN is trying to attract?
Out of our massive 35 horses amongst us three trainers, how many of those are being used to fill in the races in which the KZN trainers don’t seem to be doing an awfully good job of filling themselves? Whether they might be local owners, as Mr Eudey is plainly so in favour of, or the dreaded International one, which Mr Eudey so clearly hates. He can’t hate an owner as much as he hates the owners of Curlin’s Cousin to make them keep on owning and paying for him. That’s all I can say.
How many races are actually full fields in KZN? Maybe the NRB or KZN management could answer this question. Every race meeting I have been watching lately, even with all the rain storm interruptions and lack of racing, have not had full fields.
I also find it strange that if KZN trainers do not back themselves to find owners, when I currently reside 1600km’s away and visit the province once every 3 weeks during the Spring and Summer, then I am not sure they should be backing themselves at all. If they don’t back themselves to beat my assistant, who trains the horses in KZN for me (and does a pretty good job of it), surely they must back themselves to be better than him or they wouldn’t be training there, would they? If they don’t back themselves to beat my assistant, they really do have a problem.
I would also like to know where in the world restrictions worked? Limited trading, where has it ever worked over any period of time? Please, if someone from KZN and/or Gold Circle could give me an answer, I would be most grateful. I have been asking for a long time and sadly have yet to receive any reply.
There was also an accusation in the article, from Herman Brown, where we are accused of just leaving behind the “rubbish”. Well, they do a pretty good job of that themselves without them worrying about us leaving certain horses there. We are only running horses in the races that they themselves program.
They should first have a good look at their own horses and fields before worrying about ours. At least our “rubbish” has a bit of form. When it came to leaving behind good horses, when we did leave them behind, sadly the races never filled and were subsequently cancelled. There is only so long one can leave a horse in KZN without him having a run. It just made no financial sense whatsoever to leave horses with high merit ratings in KZN because the races just never held up, whether in Plate or Handicap form. I am sure the NRB can confirm these statistics for me.
I believe I have had a yard there for almost six years, with a slight brake in the middle regarding a change-over of staff. I am not sure how long someone is supposed to be there before one is eligible. Either way, I believe Mr Kannemeyer, Mr Bass and myself have a role to fill in KZN racing. One thing is for certain at the moment; they are definitely not full and are certainly able to provide stabling for anyone wishing to take out more boxes or send horses to KZN. Regarding the one trainers comment that they might have to turn away a trainer or an owner because they do not have a box; this is the biggest load of bollocks I have ever heard in my life.
Even if we are full, we do not turn anyone away and we will always make a plan. There is always one horse that can have a break on the farm or one that shouldn’t be in training in the first place. Having had a look at some of the runners being produced from some of the yards, I am sure that would be the case with them as well.
I wish KZN racing well with their bumper windfall of money for selling the Crown Jewels. For the next ten years, they can only blossom. However, I feel they will only do this once they have taken the blinkers off and welcomed competition, in all forms, with open arms.
Via email – Joey Ramsden