The arrival at Summerveld recently of visiting Cape trainers, including powerful strings representing Justin Snaith, Dean Kannemeyer and Candice Bass-Robinson, has signalled that the SA Champions Season is just six weeks away.
The close on three months of action-packed premier horseracing season commences on 3 May and climaxes on Super Saturday 27 July with Gold Cup day.
Hollywood have led the field with ante-post betting on the Vodacom Durban July – which will be run on Saturday 6 July. Entries for the R4,25 million contest are due by 17 April.
Unlike the Sun Met, where public gallops have been scrapped, Gold Circle have made it a condition of acceptance that all July runners will participate in public gallops scheduled for Greyville on Thursday, 27 June.
Despite the excitement of terrific horseracing ahead, Gold Circle have soberingly reported a loss after taxation of R7,4 million for the six months ended 31 January 2019 – compared to a profit of R12,1 million for the same period last year, in a recent letter to members.
The racing operator attributes this turnaround to a 10% decline in tote turnovers and reduced investment income in view of the current economic climate. They point out that the trend took a positive turn last month, and healthy returns were shown.
Overall, a projected R18 million loss is projected for the financial year – although the company remain cash positive.
They state that expenditures are being monitored to ensure cost-effective operations without reducing quality. Alternative and diverse income channels are being pursued to balance and improve revenue streams.
It is positive to hear that the two KZN racecourses have undergone their annual maintenance treatments and are ready to handle the golden hooves. The Greyville polytrack has undergone a major rejuvenation programme whihc is required every five to seven years. The company does point out, however, that the recent extreme temperatures have affected the condition of the track.
On the subject of expenditure, and given the recent overwhelming support to scrap barrier trials – see Call To Scrap Barrier Trials – it is puzzling that Gold Circle appear determined to stand by the concept.
Despite the obvious costs associated with conducting barrier trials, including transport and the now expensive testing of triallists, the racing operator toils in isolation as the only jurisdiction in South Africa to conduct trials.
They have been tried elsewhere in SA over the years and have failed.
Public opinion and, what seems to be the majority of the KZN-based trainers, are unanimously opposed to the system. But no word from Gold Circle.
The show goes on!