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Stuart Commissions Review Of Track Management

'A bad judgement call from all parties'

John Stuart, recently appointed CEO of Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, undertook to commission a full review of the current track management processes after Thursday’s meeting on the Vaal Classic track was called off owing to an “uneven and inconsistent track”.

John Stuart – review commissioned

According to Stuart, track management and maintenance needs to be aligned to the racing calendar to avoid a repeat of these types of incidents in future.

It was also decided to close down the Vaal Classic course for immediate scarification. It will only reopen at the end of November.

As a result, all race meetings scheduled for that track will be moved to alternative courses.

On Tuesday a track inspection had also been made after which the track manager, trainers, Phumelela officials, the chief stipendiary Steward and a senior jockey, had concurred that the track was in racing condition.

Deon Sampson – embarassed

The senior jockey concerned was Deon Sampson, who along with former jockey Andrew Fortune, worked the horses on Tuesday morning. “When I walked the course on Tuesday morning I thought there is no way we could race on Thursday and I expressed my view to Andrew. I found mole holes on the course and reported those to the track manager so they would sort them out.

“Andrew also looked at the track and said he was considering scratching his runners because he saw lots of divots in the parts of the course where most of his horses were drawn.

“However, Andrew and I then took two horses and raced them over different parts of the track and the course held up well. At no stage did either horse stumble and mine felt safe under me.”

The decision was then taken to stage the meeting at the course.

“Obviously it is embarrassing that we got it so wrong but it was a bad judgement call from all parties,” said Sampson.

“Unfortunately, our tracks have taken a pounding this winter and we don’t have many options. I have helped out about 50 times on these issues and it is the first time I have got it wrong. The fact that Andrew did not scratch any of his horses tells you he was quite happy to race.

Thursday’s meeting was called off after the running of three races.

Next Thursday’s meeting will be moved to the Inside track at Turffontein but as the card has already been printed it will still show Vaal on the cover.

According to Thomas Rasasamola, Phumelela’s senior track manager, the Vaal Inside and Outside track, on which the Grand Heritage will be raced, is coming along nicely. “I am confident that the track will be ready,” he said.

  • Press Release issued by Phumelela Gaming & Leisure on 4 October 2018

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5 comments on “Stuart Commissions Review Of Track Management

  1. NaughtyNads says:

    RACING HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES.IT IS ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING WHAT IS GOING ON….This meeting should have been raced at Turffontein and the Vaals grass should have been given more time to mend especially with the up coming Heritage Mile.We obviously dont know what we doing…What a waste of money for the trainers and owners and such a waste of time.Just a plain simple:Sorry we have Bad News,Racing has been abandoned.Just Like that….It is quite obvious to see that no one knows what they doing anymore.2 days prior,its all systems go,everythings perfect….and then ooops a dead horse.Shame on you all.First of all Phumelela should never have sold our other race tracks and the Vaal sand track should have been left to help during the winter seasons.What were you all thinking…It really is time to sell up and get out of this game.One dissappointment after another.

  2. Grant Maroun says:

    I had to pass a horse on that classic track yesterday when I saw the condition of the track I made them take my horses out for the eleventh and told them the track was not safe to race on I was told it was passed fit to race on by a panel only after a horse broke down did they make a decision to abandon the meeting. This week alone we have lost close to two million in stakes I now don’t have a prep run for the Golden Loom all because we have the wrong people doing the job. We need a clean out from the top to the bottom and put people who are capable

  3. Jay August says:

    Wrong people doing the job. Spot on!

  4. Good on you Mr.Maroun, for speaking up! To few a owner and trainer are willing to go public with these types of issues.

    Now, for those owners and trainers that have expressed themselves publicly, about these amateurs holding crucial positions in the racing industry, Bravo !

    Start a movement

  5. Linda says:

    I disagree with wrong people for the job, rather a panel without integrity. From track manager, racing operation (Phumelela officials), trainers, stipendary steward and chief jockey those are five different role players in racing who fail to stood their ground and declare the track unfit to hold an official race as it was too soon from scarified.
    If the entire organization lacks backbone that leads to on direction only which is down and the pace their going in is very fast. Asking for a helping hand is not a crime but a sign of growth and willing to be taught the right way and informative of doing things.

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