Just three days in his new post as Phumelela CEO, John Stuart travelled to the Vaal with a member of his Executive team on Friday to assess the prospects of racing going ahead on the Grand Heritage raceday on Saturday week.
“I like this man already,” said one Vaal trainer when he was introduced to the new man at the helm of Phumelela.
The racing operator have issued a press release following an inspection of the Vaal track, in the interest of keeping all horseracing stakeholders informed.
Half of the Vaal track was scarified almost a month ago on 23 August 2018 and that part of the track has responded well to this treatment. The second half of the track, the front straight, was partially scarified more recently on 5 September and this area is the current cause of concern.
They report that they have conducted an analysis of the prevailing weather patterns over the last three years and, while average temperatures from the beginning of August this year are similar to those experienced in 2016 and 2017, they have not seen the typical increase in temperatures since the beginning of September that has been experienced in previous years and this, along with a spell of black frost overnight in the last week, has prevented the newly scarified portion of the track from recovering as planned. The track has been covered to prevent any detrimental effects from potential further black frost.
A track inspection was carried out on Friday 21 September by Phumelela CEO John Stuart and the Vaal Track Manager and a further inspection will be carried out on Sunday 23 September at 11h00 which will include PGL CEO John Stuart, Racing Operations Executive Clyde Basel and National Track Manager Dean Diedericks, along with various other industry role-players and an update will be given post this inspection.
A decision will ultimately need to be taken regarding the Grand Heritage race meeting scheduled for 29 September 2018 and possible solutions include:
- Delay the Grand Heritage (Main races) by one week and continue with the other scheduled races on the 29th September at the Vaal, without using the new course track.
- If the new track has shown sufficient improvement and the weather forecast for the week shows increased temperatures, the Grand Heritage meeting will go ahead as scheduled.
A final decision will be taken on Tuesday 25 September but watch Tellytrack at 20h30 on Sunday evening for a further update which will be followed by a press release.