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Should PE Be Closed To Cape Raiders?

What's the fair answer to this one?

The small fields in the Cape and the ‘truckloads’ of visiting horses from that region arriving in the Eastern Cape has fired up a debate between racing folk on social media.

‘What’s on my mind? They don’t run their horses in Cape Town, yet they come to PE by the truck load and steal honey from our pot! That’s what’s on my mind!’

That’s the Facebook post from a leading Port Elizabeth trainer and follows a flurry of Fairview winners in recent weeks by Cape trainers, including Candice Bass-Robinson, Justin Snaith and Vaughan Marshall.

“Just have a look at the PE nominations – my argument is that they race four horse fields in Cape Town – they don’t run their horses, but will send three trucks to PE.”

Veteran Cape-based racing man Robert Champion writes on the thread that he doesn’t want to cause an uproar but feels that if Phumelela, who run Cape and PE racing, put more meetings on in Cape Town, it would not be necessary for them to raid.

“I feel for PE trainers – but the blame does not lie with Cape trainers as like all trainers they owe it to their owners to try bring as much income in as possible. The blame lies elsewhere and not on the trainers in Cape Town,” he adds.

Another Eastern Cape assistant trainer writes that everyone is missing the original point.

“Races were taken away from Cape Town because fields were not being filled, with 4/5 horses in a race. How many horses in the fields today for Cape Town? Yet in PE we fill fields every meeting, even when the programme is not user friendly – we even filled a full card for a meeting with two day’s notice. I think that they need to bring back the rule that if PE fills the quota for races, no raiders will be accepted. But for big races, allow the higher merit rated horses to raid.”

She writes that she has spent five months in Cape Town with a very small amount of success.

“The horses that make up the fields in the Cape are far superior to the average class of horse that makes up the fields in PE. The majority of PE horse are horses that can’t cut it in Cape Town and in the other bigger centres. But there are exceptions. So today I hope our PE exception goes out and comes home to make PE proud,” she added in an obvious reference to National Park’s bid to win the second of the SA Triple Crown at Turffontein.

So what’s the answer?

Have Your Say

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44 comments on “Should PE Be Closed To Cape Raiders?

  1. Ian Jayes says:

    In order to discourage this type of thing in the 1950s all visiting horses to Greyville and Clairwood (including maidens) had to carry at least 9 st in the B Division.

  2. Wayne Fouche says:

    I think that Cape Town should get its act together meanwhile how are you going to stop raiders from wherever?

    Personally I enjoy seeing quality horses from the Cape running in PE.

  3. Steve Reid says:

    Wow. Imagine Gauteng trainers bitching about National Park raiding Joburg…. Its 2019 not 1970 Mr Jayes, the world has changed and anti-competitive measures are as 1970s as Mr Jacobs stereotyping… In my opinion should owners be prepared to shoulder the costs and take the risks why shouldn’t they raid?

    Raiding is one thing, satellite yards are something completely different and unfair on local trainers.You are either pregnant or you are not and spies are not needed to see if you are actually a satellite yard or a front.

  4. Michael Jacobs says:

    I disagree and blame the Cape trainers entirely. I too have noticed that Cape fields are pretty small on average, so Cape trainers are not entering and running their horses. Even in the peak summer season just past, Cape fields were very small on average. Even the Met and Queens Plate couldn’t fill the fields!!!

    Absolutely nothing to do with Phumelela. They probably took meetings away because of the poor support for the race meetings that were staged!! Cape Trainers need to get their act together and start racing! Owners don’t pay for horses to stand in boxes and eat! Trainers like Piet Steyn with his small string runs his horses more often than the so called big guys with their big strings.

    Blame the Cape Trainers not Phumelela or Eastern Cape Trainers

  5. Ian Jayes says:

    In reply to Steve Reid, I mentioned what the situation was in Durban in the 1950s not 1970. I also was not proposing the introduction of such a situation, merely recording it. They have small fields in Cape Town because a handful of trainers have most of the horses. There was a time, not all that long ago, when owners were not allowed to have more than one trainer in any one centre and there was a limit on how many horses any one trainer could train. The game today has become skewed in favour of a select few and if allowed to continue it is going to get worse not better.

  6. Dean says:

    I feel that horse with a rating of 75 and above should be allowed to raid and if your horse can’t make it in so called stronger centers should transfer stables

  7. Cecil Pienaar says:

    8 days ago, Elusive Silva(3rd in July last year) ran unplaced in a 9 horse field, won by a PE horse. The QT paid R8800 with a Bass horse in the mix. My point is, PE racing is competitive. We cannot have different rules for different centres. If it is so popular for some to raid, then plan 2 PE meetings a week during the Cape off – season. Many of us like Punting in PE, with or without Cape Horses.

  8. Hogan Govindsamy says:

    If you are good enough as a trainer to compete in any centre your talent and results will come through.Just ask some top jockeys who initially started their trade in minor centres and their potential shone through and were invited to the major centres where they came through with flying colours.If you are good enough as a trainer no owner will send you a second rate horse.What is stopping the leading trainers of PE setting up sattelite yards in other centres?I noticed trainers like Gavin Smith ,Alan Greef etc having huge yards but they seem to be stuck in a comfort zone and not willing to challenge themselves by moving out of PE.So how can the Cape trainers be blamed for showing some enterprize.Yes the fields at the Cape racing has to be improved ie. the size of the fields but how can we be bitter about Cape trainers raiding PE.Its just business.

  9. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    A question for Mr Jacobs: How many horses do you own?

  10. Carl says:

    Raiding for features, yes but not maidens and low merit rated races really, stay in Cape Town for that. Lots of smaller owners in P.E. who depend on having winners in this centre surely if this carries on owners may pull out and P.E racing will suffer while Cape races will carry on as normal.

  11. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    I have just been enlightened and perhaps the complainant should go and look at the local conditions that guarantees local domiciled horses preference in maidens and Mr79 and FM 75 and below races. If the local trainers accept and fill the fields in the maidens and low grade races the raiders won’t get in

  12. Nicolin Naidoo says:

    Cry babies

  13. Art says:

    I have a theory.In all my years of racing, horses that race in PE are considered to be inferior to horses that race in larger centres like Gauteng, Cape Town and Natal.It follows then that any ‘raiders ‘ from other superior centres should be short priced if one is to believe this theory ,after all you dont send s horse for a joy ride ,it costs money.
    A recent case in point is the Cape based horse gimme katrina who in its last few starts has started at very low odds and has fared ok in running,yet on Friday at Fairview in an ‘inferior centre’ she started st 25/1 ran second and paid R5.oo for a place.The quartet with a Hewitson ridden horse running in the first four paid a handsome R8k.On top of this a 2nd place stake was earned
    My theory is that the tote is being raided by some astute businessmen who are prepared to take the risk of the travel costs and at the same time raid the tote..At the time of posting this comment I am of the belief that Gimmee Katrina is still Cape based but if not then her relocation was very recent and regular punters would have picked up on this.

  14. Michael Jacobs says:

    Mr Mattheyse, what has your question got to do with the discussion? I am a punter, are only owners allowed to comment? I see that elitist and superiority attitude is still prominent in racing.

  15. Verlynn says:

    I think everyone is entitled to the pot of Gold. In Europe there are small field races with big money at stake. You don’t hear them complaining. Alot of raiders come from all over the world just to have some of that gold in the Europe.

    PE trainers have the option to travel they horses to Jhb, CT and KZN.

    Why don’t The PE trainers fills up the fields in Cape Town?

  16. Kay says:

    Less than a handful of trainers with big name horses controlling cape racing and small trainers hardly get a show. Also just a few owners controlling racing and support only the big yards bar one prominent Cape owner i see starting supporting small yards. Same silks you see almost race after race killing smaller owner. PE trainers have many horses and I can’t see why they don’t raid cape racing especially in off season. It’s always great to see visiting trainers so instead of her crying over Cape invaders hit them with the same meds and raid the Cape. Competition is healthy!

  17. Jay August says:

    Restricting entry will not solve the issue but checking the ratings level in PE will dispel or prove the validity of the argument behind the question. So, are CT raiders beating PE horses who are ranked MR equal or above in PE handicaps, more often than they are being beaten?

    If the answer is yes then there is a problem with the rating level for PE handicaps i.e. PE horses are likely being over rated relative to their CT competitors. As a further check the question would be; what average rating are the horses who run against CT raiders achieving in races where there are no CT raiders, compared to races where there are CT raiders?

    And as a further check for WFA races or fixed weight races; are CT raiders beating their PE opponents, who are equal or higher rated, more often than in comparable races in other jurisdictions?

    Perhaps this all sounds ambiguous but these are questions any data analyst working for the NHA should be asking and answering. The aim of handicapping is to equalise all horses chances and for that constant data vigilance is needed, to ensure that no horses or groups of horses are more favoured on average than others.

    The question I pose therefore is; Are PE horses being over rated and in doing so are they being put at a disadvantage when competing against CT raiders? Can the NHA answer this question?

  18. Basil says:

    To blame the Cape trainers and owners ,I believe , is not the true situation. Because stakes , other than sponsored races , are not allocated nationally but rather in the jurisdictions where the largest amounts are wagered creates a problem in the West Cape whereas Gauteng has higher stakes available. KZN , although under Gold Circle , has the same advantage. Realistically this means that the punter , a vital part of this industry , is aiding the owners and trainers in a particular region.
    Because of the above , and I don’t blame them , quite a few owners and breeders from the WC are racing their horses in the other centres for the higher stakes available. I know there are also other reasons but believe stakes are a big issue. This in turn has created a problem in the WC in that race meetings have been reduced mainly because of small fields. Racing in the WC , especially for the small owners and trainers , can only be described as a sinking ship and a lot of people in RSA are jumping overboard. I believe and hope that this will never happen.
    Everytime a horse from PE wins in another centre , I’m probably one of the happiest followers of racing in the RSA. However one can’t blame WC trainers for entering their horses to run in black type races in PE as such races are in the interest of their respective owners. A possible solution is that more sub MR70 races should be available in the WC so as to keep the weaker horses at home and not travel to PE. I’m not requesting a lowering of quality but rather that more races of that kind are available in the WC.

  19. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Michael Jacobs thanks I just needed confirmation that you have zero experience in owning horses. So I now know to discard your comments on owning horses.

    Forgive me if I treat your comment about elitism with the contempt it deserves. May the rider on every horse you punt, give it a shocker , if perchance he still wins, may he weigh in under and if that fails May a Stipe please disqualify the horse.

    So bet wisely with disposable income only please, winners know when to stop.


    Mr Jacobs, don’t lower yourself to that man’s comments. He has a distinct pattern of that sort of attitude/mentality with other bloggers on this site.

    Unlike others, I think your comments about the Cape fields are valid. Cape trainers display a pattern of individually complaining about race types here.

    This is apart from them naturally wanting to enter their horses in the right races for the own well-being/welfare. That’a all well and good.

    Why don’t they present a group/joint proposal/plan about the type of races that are lacking on the Cape Town programme for the lesser gifted animals.

  21. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    William your infatuation with me is concerning. I want to place on record that you should put that infatuation in the bin alongside the massive Zillzaal place bet tickets. In your case I am facing east on my knees hoping that there is a chance you may have extended yourself and are in for some hardship, a little lesson in manners. But alas I must give you credit that you don’t look the type to fall in.

    Please also bin the idea that you were invited to the conversation, rather watch the animated movie Trolls it is mildly entertaining with some good music.

  22. Izak says:

    The playing field is not level. Easy for horses to travel from Cape Town to PE than PE to Cape Town because of horse sickness. Cape Town should allow PE horse to raid at there centre without the red tape.

  23. Steve Reid says:

    “has a quiet chuckle and gets the popcorn ready for the inevitable 8 am elitist/entitlement/racist et al reaction from the Julian Assange of racing.

    It seems some posters are more equal than others, some topics are more sensitive than others, and some authorities are straight out protected.

    As a tip, I understand that spatchcocking is the simplest and easiest way of preparing a baby. The wisdom of Solomon to you Mr. Editor, just take off those very clearly protectionist glasses you have, especially when people post under their names. Differences of opinion are exactly what is needed, or should we have a united we stand, divided we fall mentality?

  24. Michael Higgs says:

    When PE horses come to Cpt we welcome them all even when they take the honey from the pot.At least when cape horses go to PE the quality of the fields are much better. In my opinion makes for good racing.

  25. Michael Jacobs says:

    This Maythese chap sounds like a proper clown? Who is he, does he own horses?

  26. B steele says:

    You just can’t have a different view if you not an ordinary person and you don’t call the cape flats home


    Don’t worry how many horses he does or doesn’t own, Mr Jacobs. There’s something wrong “their”.

    That man continues to show a pattern off negative criticism and then replies with nonsensical analogies totally unrelated to the topics.

    Unlike your various comments/topics and motivations, his is clearly not intended for the great good of racing.

    Its all personal with him.

    Your concerns are genuine. Keep it up.


    Michael Higgs, I owe you a food hamper/bucket for the Hawwaam / Barahin clash. Well done

  29. Michael Jacobs says:

    I have certainly ruffled feathers and rattled cages in the racing fraternity, and shaken some elitists out of their comfort zone. My posts, commentary and letters to the Argus has made quite a few people very defensive. The racing elite, like the ANC elite; prefer their lapdogs inside the tent p….ssing out than outside the tent, p…..ssing in! My work here is almost done.


    Mr Jacobs, if you don’t ruffle feathers then you know their wasn’t an issue in the first place. You do not defame anybody personally and aim at the subject matter ….. so well done !

  31. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Not so many any more and will keep cutting down, don’t want sub-elite people enjoying what I pay for anymore.

    I would like to make a large Zillzaal like wager that all ruffled feathers will fall back into place like before and next year this time Michael Jacobs will be complaining about the same thing – and the Argus will find space for it and retrench another journalist as Michael Jacobs does it for free

  32. dobrin says:

    Robbie Champion correct it is still summer (MARCH )in cape town but the powers that be have decided NO midweek racing in Cape Town ??????? see race meeting DVLLE Saturday three of the races 6-7 runners.It must be the trainers (lazy) if I own a average horse I would like it to run at least once a month,after all it cost the owner a small sum every month to keep a horse.
    Phumelela has always seen Cape Town as a nothing centre and they dont care if racing disappeared there

  33. B steele says:

    Mr Jacobs the only ruffled feathers here (s p) are the ones from the dodo you so dutifully carry on your shoulder.As for the Argus their sales per copy only rivaled by The New Age and we know what happened to that.I don’t think they count the racing elite as part of their marketing strategy.As a P.A.P and ….IF . .. ..I’m classed as an elitist ,then so be it ,that’s the cross I have to bare the same as you ,with your lot in life,but hey the sun will rise tomorrow,we will find a winner and everything will be fine.For a few hours at least.Dont let the sun catch you crying

    In light and love

  34. Michael Higgs says:

    maybe the PE trainers should raid during the off season and not only for the summer season to fill up our fields as well.Can only be good for racing and we will welcome them with open arms as we the best city in the country.Is PE the windy city or friendly city lol

  35. Basil says:

    Dobrin , I take it that you have authority to make statements on behalf of Phumelela?

  36. Michael Jacobs says:

    Steele, how do you make a small fortune in horse racing? You start with a big fortune! Have a great evening!

  37. Rian says:

    A lot of unfair comments from people who really love this fantastic game called Racing, just imagine if we had social media in the early days when we had fences for racing folk who all loved Racing on weekends etc
    Separate stands for Cape Flats and Philipi punters and horse racing fans, and security guards at entrance to members section
    Coloured folk also owned horses those days but had to watch from their stand far away from the finish line
    Still cant see why we still bringing up the Cape flats?????
    Getting back to the topic, I still treasure the memories and stories from my Uncle Charles Luyt who raided in P E with The Great Mr Millard in the early days
    Cant wait for the Durban season to start.


    Yes Rian, good on you.

    Ja, elitism, you have never ridden a horse, you have never trained a horse and I own a horse or a number of horses, so who are you ? … Sies man.

  39. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Yes Rian, Ntl season is a highlight. We might not match the total stakes of CT and/or Jozi, but we certainly attract most, if not all the top horses and Jockeys. There is just something special about The July, and for me Gold Cup day as well. Then my home track with the 4 Sprint Races down the straight. LoL, we even welcome the PE guys – hope National Park visit…..

  40. Trevor says:

    PE horses are not as good as cape town horses. Capetrainers raiding PE is bad for the trainers based there. These trainers try hard to make a living, well I guess all trainers do. It’s a tuff industry, it’s like trainers in PE are sitting ducks to the cape trainers whom have top horses. Why cape trainers raid PE, I guess you should try and full up Kenilworth on a off season time and see the difference, then there will be no need to raid those poor trainers. Maybe then cape can have racing twice in kenilworth. Un like greyville and the old clairwood and scottsville, even off season there is a crowd there. That’s why they race so often. Leave PE to PE trainers to do there job cos horse you cape guys cant train you’ll send to them and they get the best out of those wonderful horses.

  41. Swift and Bold says:

    It’s cherry picking for the cape trainers to raid PE with a superior horse and they know exactly what they doing when they nominate.

    If a cape trainer raids PE, a rule must be put in place by raising the mr by 8 points that adds up to about 4 lenths that should equal the playing field.

    Most of these cape raiders are superior to the PE horses by 4 to 5 lengths that should sort out the superior horses raiding PE.

    Cape horses that haven’t got the ability to race in the cape let them stay in PE with a PE trainer.

    Then you get the people saying what about the owner……yes they are right…..what about the PE owner. THEY HAVE TO PAY TRAINING FEES AS WELL.

    Problem solved.

  42. Basil says:

    I have not analysed MR races available in PE yet , but noted that the Vaal had 2 races with MR’s of 65 and 66.
    Greyville , on Sunday , had 2 x MR 64 and a MR race of 62 while CT never has a MR race of lower than 68. In fact the average race in CT for both colts and fillies is in the mid 70’s (analysis of other centres not available) So where do CT owners take a struggling novice to race? They are always going to race under sufferance in CT.
    Something , therefor has to be done to create races for weaker CT horses to keep them there.
    It’s not just a matter of superiority between horses but indicates the problems created by the MR system when comparing horses from different centres.

  43. Jay August says:

    Basil, I think you have a fair point. If you look back over the data for the 2017/18 season the data for MR handicaps is as follows;

    CT – 299 MR Hcps – Ave MR Rating = 73.56
    PE – 284 MR Hcps – Ave MR Rating = 65.93
    KZN – 404 MR Hcps – Ave MR Rating = 69.83
    JHB – 623 MR Hcps – Ave MR Rating = 69.49
    KBY – 216 MR Hcps – Ave MR Rating = 60.17

    If you look at the latest MR Ratings by region for individual horses you find the following;

    Average MR CT = 72.92 – 815 horses
    Average MR PE = 61.44 – 753 horses
    Average MR KZN = 64.32 – 1068 horses
    Average MR JHB = 65.57 – 1495 horses
    Average MR KBY = 53.42 – 440 horses

    The programming in CT is clearly geared to catering for the fact that the region has a higher number of high rated horses running there. There is another factor which plays into this and that is that the top 4 rated horses in MR handicaps win more than their fair share of races. On average in the season 2017/18 the top 4 MR rated horses won 58% more races than would be fair, compared to the MR 5th-20th rated horses.

    The handicapping system in its current guise is clearly still not fair! Fair in this case is a handicap which on average favours no individual horse or group of horses and where a horse ranked 10th in an MR handicap has the same chance as a horse ranked 1 in that MR handicap. Last season, on average, a horse ranking 1st in an MR handicap had an 85% higher chance of winning that handicap than his 10th rated opponent.

    The CT horses raiding PE are most likely within the top 4 MR rated horses and therefore are more than likely winning more than their fair share of those races, purely because MR handicaps on average favour the top four rated MR horses.

    This favouring of the top 3-4 horses in handicaps is a worldwide phenomenon so not just an SA issue. The BHA data show exactly the same trend. Just how to solve it is a matter of much debate.

  44. Basil says:

    Jay that was very informative. The situation is further exacerbated by CT only having 8 races on a card as well as no mid week meetings lately. Looking at April and May racing there are only 3 races over 1800m ranging from MR74 to MR80. Over 2000m there are 6 races with averages of MR79 and MR83 for fillies and colts respectively. In other words weaker CT horses either go to PE or race in CT under sufferance.

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