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Vaal Track – Life Goes On

Why no investigation by operator or regulator?

While the water leak that sabotaged a meeting at Turffontein earlier this month may be unrelated to Thursday’s Vaal track concerns, as a collective within weeks of each other they do raise questions about the general competency of the track management up North.

These kind of things happen too often and take us back to loose ends from 2017 and investigations – by Phumelela and the NHA – that don’t seem to have produced any results.

Again, we must ask – do the Stipes and track management not do a pre-meeting inspection?

On Thursday, the jockeys raised concerns about the state of the classic track and an impromptu inspection was held after the fourth race. An insider tells us that they were unhappy from the second race already.

The course clearly exhibited holes – see the two way radio in the craters on the pics provided to us.

That’s a crater – the two way radio puts it into perpective

The official Stipes Report says:

Following the running of race 4 concerns were raised by both trainers and jockeys regarding the underfoot track conditions.  A panel was formed in terms of rule and a track inspection was carried out.  It was deemed safe to continue racing, however, the trainers were granted permission to scratch their horses in terms of rule 4.2.16.  As a result of this races 5, 6 and 7 were rescheduled.

We have learnt that the local track manager was pulled up for providing too much information too freely to the trainers on track. One jockey told us that he failed to understand how with three track options, that they still could not properly prepare the racing surface of the day.

Punters and the tote were affected as some trainers exercised their options to withdraw their runners without penalty.

So that’s it?

No investigation by Phumelela or the NHA.

So it will happen again.

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17 comments on “Vaal Track – Life Goes On

  1. Steve says:

    It just goes from BAD to WORSE!!! Nobody takes responsibility because Nobody Cares!!

  2. Mich says:

    And so should the track manager advise the trainers of the going underfoot.That is a primary requirement for the welfare of the runners and riders.We are in the realm of being afraid to speak truth to power and the ensuing sanctions by the ones on high

  3. Ian Jayes says:

    We used to have the best racecourses in the country. We now have the worst. Makes you think doesn’t it. So much for affirmative action.

  4. Kamal Ganesh says:

    In all fairness the remainder of the meeting should have been abandoned like the Turffontein saga.
    Trainers were given the opportunity to scratch their runners ,what about the us the punters??
    Our exotics were left to the favorites and we all the story with that.Total disregard.When will we matter.

  5. Jay August says:

    This is what happens when people who have no interest in racing are in charge.

  6. Brian says:

    Now Rd, you don’t seem to understand. An investigation would mean people have to do their jobs. how on earth could you, and punters, possibly expect that!

  7. Jurgs says:

    Mr Editor perhaps you could confirm the cost cutting by Phumelela that has seen the Vaal track staff cut in half. I have been told this by more than one Vaal trainer, Simply put, the allegation is the Vaal is understaffed and we can expect this to continue.

  8. Louis Goosen says:

    A few weeks ago, I stopped at Vaal, en route to Sales. I drove around the tracks, on the access road. It was heartbreaking to see the deterioration in a year. It has gone backwards by a distance. Actually a disgrace.

    Yes, the ground staff have been cut. Costs have been cut. There is only one way now and that is downwards. PGL’s exit strategy will leave the Game in Tatters, with no way of bringing it back to the proper standards which they took over.

    I would like to read Ian Jayes comments, if he went past there now, after having Trained for so many years on proper tracks with proper courses and facilities and him having been at Vaal for so long.

    Ian warned us all, for a few years, that this would happen. And it has happened.

  9. perd says:

    partners and i have decent horse hopefully runninng on 27th sept will personally walk on track before meeting if track full of holes no race for horse gatvol of this rubbish will incourage other owners to scratch horses too

  10. James George says:

    Mr. Jayes,what has affirmative action got to do with the track conditions?

  11. Where’s the good news with SA racing, then ? We get labelled for continually been critical ! Not much works properly in our racing anymore.

    Should we grateful then, when a photo finish is correctly posted, a jockey weighs out and in according to the rules, enough vets are hired to see that the beautiful horse is not abused ?

    Should we ?

    Hip Hip hooray. Most of this general “crumbling down of the racing foundation” is due to corporatization and board-room decisions to keep Shareholders happy…… Phumelela !!

  12. Ian Jayes says:

    In reply to James George, the simple answer is the people appointed to do the job are not up to it or don’t care. Until people start losing their jobs for not performing it will not change. I am told Turffontein is not much better.

  13. Steve Reid says:

    Jesus wept.

    I am one of the passionate bunch of people about to incur my form on wrath on Phumelela and yes, well done Mattheyse for predicting this , I definitely am going to say I told you so. It is a pity that the passionate group is so small when it comes to vocalizing the obvious abuses that the operator makes on such a regular,nauseating basis.

    Traditionally this was Vaal sand season and the Emerald Cup time. This was also the time to give grass tracks a well deserved break in the heart of a harsh Highveld winter. In the absence of the sand, there has been no choice but to pound the living hell out of the turf. You reap what you sow and it is crystal clear exactly where the blame should lie here. It lays unmistakably at the door of Phumelela who cannot provide a racing surface that is safe to horse and jockey throughout the season. This is indisputable when the shenanigans around protests by the jocks about racing surfaces are taken into account. The RA mice need to accept their portion of blame here too, where were these clowns when the decision to close the Vaal sand took place?

    Whilst on the blame game topic, perhaps Phumelela should explain why they have cut back on staff allocated to maintain the racing tracks? Perhaps we should also be told about an alleged “all weather” track that is being touted to be built on the INSIDE of the inside track? God help you owners if this rumour has any substance.

  14. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Good to see Steve Reid still considering himself passionate. Probably a very good candidate for NHA leadership role as he is not conflicted anymore, and always seems to be at the forefront of breaking news – people confide in him getting the graft literally hot off the press and over the airways.

    I hope it won’t take another 285 days for this passion to be harnessed into some positive action.

  15. Steve Reid says:

    Assumptions are dangerous and probably arise from lack of communication and missed appointments. Because the name is not in the book does not mean all interest is lost. As for the kind words about candidacy, clearly things are worse than even I imagined.

  16. B d steele says:

    Could get a whole lot worse than Mr Reid ,step on up to the plate boy,

  17. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Missed appointments and going hungry are no good … not even an old toppie can make a 291 day old steak look properly aged …

    NHA still bossless , Phumelela seem to think they sorted.

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