In an exciting move for local racing, KZN are leading the way with the introduction of Barrier Trials, thanks largely to the efforts of Paul Lafferty.
“I’ve been a devotee of Charles Faull’s transparency calls for a long time, so I decided to get stuck in and run with it,” said Paul earlier today. “Being a Gold Circle board member, I brought it up before our Racing Committee and we all agreed it’s long overdue.”
The initiative was put to the vote at the KZN Trainers’ AGM on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 and voted in unanimously. “I know we will be lauded in some quarters and shot down in others, but it’s a move that’s long overdue,” continued Paul. “There are very few major owners left in KZN and from a trainer’s point of view, most of us are struggling to put horses together because racing has a perception problem. The public has no confidence in our racing because of our perceived lack of transparency and can you blame them? We still have guys refusing to give first timer comments. Unfortunately, public perception becomes our reality and that affects all of us. We have to get people to believe in our racing and to me, trials are a fait accompli.”
“The advantages are 10-fold. The horse gets the full race day experience of travelling, racing in company and trying out a new surface. The trainer gets a good idea of where the horse is in his prep and if people see you’ve stepped out a nice horse and he happens to be for sale, they might be tempted to buy in.”
Trials will be scheduled on a race day, half an hour before the first race on the polytrack to begin with and will consist of two gallops of 6 horses. “We have the existing infrastructure, so there are no extra costs,” explains Paul. “We’ll have jockeys and apprentices riding with silks, commentary and timing and the NHA’s involvement at the pens. All the information will be documented in the same way as a race and made publicly available. Michel Nairac is just tweaking all the logistics, but we are hoping to get it rolling for our 2yo races which is fantastic.”
“It’s a big statement from all of us at Gold Circle that we believe in our horses, our people and our industry. We are committed to promoting good governance and transparency from the owner, to the horse, to the trainer, to the punter and we feel this is the first step towards making KZN a wonderful hub of racing.”