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KZN Tracks Defended

Outstanding SA Champions Season concluded

Champions Season_520-104

The dust has settled on another highly successful Champions Season in KwaZulu-Natal and the 2016 National Championships of South African racing again produced many memorable and exciting finishes as well performances out of the top drawer by both horse and rider.

Black Arthur wins SA Guineas

Black Arthur leads the SA Guineas charge

From the time Bela Bela and Black Arthur opened the Season back in early May with scintillating victories in their respective Guineas all the way through to Marinaresco’s brilliant season-ending emotional and nail-biting success in the Mike and Carol Bass Champions Cup, the Season thrilled racing fans around the country and indeed the world.

The Conglomerate lead in

July glory time for Piere Strydom and Mayfair Speculators

Piere Strydom, who celebrated his 50th birthday during the year, was seen at his brilliant best from the worst of the draw when winning on The Conglomerate in the Vodacom Durban July. Another highlight was certainly Enaad’s Gold Vase/Gold Cup double, the first time ever that this staying double has been achieved.

Not to be outdone Anton Marcus rode the race of his life to get Rabada home in the Daily News, despite dropping his stick at the top of the straight, and Coenie de Beer’s Talktothestars took our breath away when carrying top weight to an effortless victory in the Tsogo Sun Sprint.

Gold Circle logoBut while all this glorious action was taking place, Gold Circle came under fire for the condition of its turf tracks at both Greyville and Scottsville.

While remaining silent at the time, so as not to further shift focus from the quality of racing, Gold Circle has set the record straight.

Graeme Hawkins

Graeme Hawkins – provided feedback

The Company have reported that they are satisfied that the condition of the tracks at no stage proved a threat to horse and rider.

“Naturally in winter the tracks do not look as green as the summer tracks but the underfoot surface was good throughout the season, notwithstanding the torrential downpours in May and July, each of which delivered more than 200mm of rain within a 24-hour period,” said Marketing Executive Graeme Hawkins.

“At Greyville in winter the Cynoden grass takes over from the Kikuyu which results in a mixture of green and brown turf – not aesthetically pleasing but the underlying surface was good and certainly fit for racing. This is borne out by the evidence and feedback we have had from NHA and private veterinarians as well as many of the leading trainers, locally and from around the country, who raced horses throughout the Season at both Greyville and Scottsville. The statistics appear to suggest that fewer injuries occurred during this past Season and KZN Champion trainer, Dennis Drier, was one of the leading trainers who reported that his runners all came through the Season largely unscathed,” added Hawkins.

Harry Lime wins at Scottsville on Saturday 14-04-27

“Scottsville, like the tracks on the Highveld, is subject to frost in winter and the colour of the turf quickly changes during the course of Champions Season. Unfortunately, the perception of draw bias down the straight persisted but by adding a false rail to the inside of the course we were able to counter this and ensure safe and fair racing for all at our big Sprint race meeting,” concluded Hawkins.

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9 comments on “KZN Tracks Defended

  1. Steve Reid says:

    “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin

    May I suggest that Mr.Hawkins and his board delve into the archives and peruse the state of the track in the 80’s and 90’s. The Greyville track was a green oasis, no problems with the winter or grass type then.

    1. Marcel Smith says:

      Totally agree Steve I personally have watched the July replays for the last four years and the kick back this year was horrendous Mr Hawkins is defending his job and taking into account the time he has been in racing his knowledge on tracks seems to be be poor

  2. Garth says:

    Get a second, independent, professional opinion

  3. Brian says:

    Well done Mr Hawkins! You carry on patting yourself on the back. It won’t change my opinion. Greyville in particular was absolute second rate and ifyou feel differently, it really doesn’t say much about your capabilities.

  4. Speedyvar says:

    “but the underlying surface was good and certainly fit for racing. This is borne out by the evidence and feedback we have had from NHA and private veterinarians as well as many of the leading trainers, locally and from around the country, who raced horses throughout the Season at both Greyville and Scottsville.”Says Graeme Hawkins.
    Mr. Hawkins you have forgotten to get feedback from the jockeys.The ones that ride these tracks.Surely their opinion about the underlying surface trumps that of the NHA and private veterinarians.

    1. Speedyvar says:

      Correction.The ones who race these tracks.

  5. pmb says:

    The Positioning of the rail at Scottsville did help to equalise things by preventing the rush to the inside . The surface down the middle was poor though on the big race day,and so although being less biased, the going still was not G1 quality, and affected the performance of a number of horses…..just not predictably based on draw as much as usual.

  6. hilton witz says:

    whats the use of having only gold circle employees on this show?surely jockeys like andrew fortune and anton marcus who along with trainers such as mr marshall and others should have been invited to join this panel as they had the guts to speak out against the operator for the poor tracks that had to be raced on through the season..a question for THE OPERATOR if there is nothing wrong with the greyville grass track then why not revert back to more grass meetings on it and have FULL GRASS MEETINGS NOT HALF HALF WITH POLY ?

  7. bob kistnasamy says:

    Trainers and jockeys were highly critical of the Greyville Race track. Sean Tarry in particular proferred some advice on track management, whilst I recall Anton Marcus making adverse comments about the track.. Greyville has lost it’s sparkle for attracting big and quality fields since the introduction of the poly track. in the past 20 horses used to contest minor 2000 meter races. Even major races used to have large fields thereby improving competition. Even the payouts were great.
    The operators should listen to the racing public and the jockeys and trainers when they voice concerns. Sadly these individuals are being ignored.
    Come Mr. Hawkins, listen to concerns from those that matter..
    We also used to enjoy big fields at Clairwood and Scotsville.
    Regular big payouts are now a thing of the past.

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