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Sunday Racing – Is It Necessary?

Time for a shift in thinking?

While we have been racing on a Sunday in South Africa for over 30 years now, there have been suggestions from certain quarters that the day become a blank one on the roster and that players and workers – from tote tellers to grooms and racecourse personnel –  be given time to spend it with their families.

Racing on Sundays is commercially motivated – there are contracts in place between our operators and international partners where we are committed to live racing being broadcast 364 days a year.

It seems that there is a shift in thinking in Ireland where an increase in the number of blank Sundays during the summer months and an agreement on earlier finishing times for evening meetings are among the features contained in the Irish Fixture List for 2019, which was published by Horse Racing Ireland on Wednesday.

The number of racing-free Sundays has been increased to five (from three), while there will be another five Sundays during the summer with no Flat racing.

The final race at evening meetings will be no later than 20h45 for ten months of the year and 20h30 at Dundalk during the first two months of the year.

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI, said: “The 2019 fixture list has been developed with the needs of both the customer and those working in the industry in mind.”

On the flipside of the coin, there are those that wouldn’t miss racing on Sunday for anything.

Perhaps the best argument for horse racing on Sundays was this one, offered by a painter named Jack Falls who was interviewed at the track one Sunday by the San Bernadino County Sun during that 1973 season:

“The Lord says you’re supposed to rest on the seventh day … and I can’t think of a better place to rest than Hollywood Park.”

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5 comments on “Sunday Racing – Is It Necessary?

  1. Ian Jayes says:

    Whatever happened to the Sunday Observance Act? Everybody needs a break.

    1. Editor says:

      That may be outdated , Ian?

      The Pre-Union legislation which is administered by the Department of Justice might contain provisions that are
      obsolete or redundant. These Acts, however, have not yet been repealed and therefore still form part of the
      list of Acts administered by the Department. The possibility exists that some of these Acts could contain
      provisions which are in conflict with recently enacted legislation and even the Constitution. The Pre-Union
      legislation, which the Department administers, is briefly discussed hereunder.
      1.1 Cape Province
      1.1.1 The Sunday Observance Ordinance, 1838 (Ordinance No.1 of 22 March 1838), provides for the
      better observance of the Lord’s Day (Sunday) in the Cape Colony. It provides, among others, that it is
      unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale any goods, merchandise, cattle or other live-stock; or to
      trade or to deal or keep open any shop, store or other place for the purpose of trade or dealing; or to cut or
      carry any fuel or to engage in field labour, except for the preservation of the fruits of the earth in cases of
      urgent necessity, or (except upon some lawful occasion) to discharge any gun or other fire-arm on the
      Lord’s Day. It further provides that any person guilty of the afore-mentioned acts will be punished and held
      liable to a fine or to imprisonment. It is, however, not an offence for any contractor to supply, on the Lord’s
      Day, Her Majesty’s naval or military forces with any article specified in his contract; nor to prevent any
      ship-chandler from supplying any ship with anchors, cables, or anything which they may need in cases of
      1.2 Transvaal
      1.2.1 The Sunday Act, 1896 (Act 28 of 1896), provides, among others, that it is, subject to certain
      exceptions, unlawful for any person to do agricultural or garden work; to discharge a fire-arm; to hunt for
      game or other animals; or to cause disturbance or hindrance on a Sunday. Provision is further made that it
      is unlawful for any person to, among others, sell, offer or expose for sale of goods, merchandise, cattle or
      other live stock or to keep open a shop, store or other place with the object of selling or trading on a
      Sunday. However, the selling of medicines by apothecaries and druggists and the keeping open by such
      persons of a shop, store or other place with the object of selling medicines; the supplying of the necessary
      food and drink to travelers and inmates by a licensed hotel or boarding-house; and the selling of meat,
      bread, fish and milk between certain hours and the keeping open during those hours of a shop, store or
      other place with the object of selling such goods on a Sunday are permissible. The Act also provides for
      the delivery on Sundays of eatables and other goods by Government contractor; prohibits certain games
      and public entertainments on Sundays; and provides for the seizure and destruction of articles used at such
      games or entertainment.

  2. Jurgs says:

    It makes far more sense to stop racing on Mondays. Sundays are recreational days and will naturally have more participation. From the looks of things the Gauteng tracks can do will less racing during the week so move Kimberley to Tuesday and race on Thursdays and Saturday/Sunday in Gauteng on a weekly basis.

  3. Brian says:

    A law can be abrogated by misuse. I refer to a comment that although pre-union it is still on the books.

    During the boer war Fouriesburg was named capital of the Free State and that was never repealed. Clearly it is no longer

  4. JessK says:

    Just don’t give the Operators an excuse to renege on another race day/meeting.
    This is music to their ears !

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