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Van Reenen Throws In Towel

Joins Glen Puller as small trainers slowly fade away

Piet Steyn’s dire predictions about the future – or rather lack of it – for the Western Cape’s small trainers had already come home to roost for Riaan van Reenen when Steyn issued his heartfelt plea for support of others like him.

Riaan van Reenen

Michael Clower writes on www.goldcircle.co.za that the Philippi trainer quietly handed in his licence eight days before Steyn’s Tellytrack interview sent shock waves through the South African racing industry, warning that there would only be a handful of trainers left in Cape Town in a couple of years.

The general public knew nothing about Van Reenen’s surprise decision until he appeared alongside Glen Puller for Fee Ramsden’s interview and explained his position after the Robert Khathi-ridden Celestial Storm had defied top weight in the Interbet.co.za Handicap at Durbanville on Saturday.

Shortly before the race he said to the writer: “I only had ten horses at the end and it just wasn’t financially viable to continue but the writing was on the wall a long time ago. The market has gone to the big trainers.

“I have joined Glen as his assistant so I am no longer in the Premier division but my clients moved over to him. Really, I don’t mind because my health was being affected by the strain. I felt it was either join Glen or get a heart attack and die.”

Van Reenen had been training for almost 15 years and he met with immediate success, winning the Winter Classic, Winter Derby and Final Fling with Sweet Virginia. A Daughters Legacy won the Final Fling twice, the Victress and Ladies Mile and he trained Diana’s Choice to win a string of races including the Olympic Duel before she was sold to race in Dubai. At one stage he had over 35 horses but more recently he went into a training partnership with Carl Burger in an abortive effort to rebuild the numbers.

He said: “I was doing well and I was competitive for a long time yet I couldn’t survive. I ask myself how are those who are not doing well going to manage?”

www.goldcircle.co.za

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6 comments on “Van Reenen Throws In Towel

  1. David says:

    Trainer or assistant as a person big respect to you Riaan

  2. Vincent Bell says:

    Good evening readers,

    Here is a thought, The FA limits the amount of top talent the top clubs can buy or have on their books, putting in laws to protect the interest of all the role players. Can this not be a option to ensure the longevity of this sport. I totally agree that the small fish can’t compete with the big whales. Eg. Big owners must be forced to spread their interest, maybe have 4 horses in training with smaller yards, until those horse so possiable talent, and move them along or even leave this as is. There could be like a requirement for a good owner status that would be a requirement almost list a order of good standing from a bank to buy at auctions.

    Just my opinion, who ever listen to poor little old me.

  3. Barry Irwin says:

    Racing is based on Capitalism not Socialism but I am in favor of limiting the number of horses any one trainer is allowed to have. It was that way for years in Smerica and it worked fine until D. Wayne Lukas began raving divisions all over the place and ruined it for the vast majority of trainers

  4. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    Why not Mr Bell, why not. I like the basic idea.

  5. Jay August says:

    First we have suggestions that raiders from the Cape should be controlled or banned in PE. Now some want to restrict the number of horses any trainer may have.

    In both cases the “problem” is the elite Cape trainers, who clearly are satisfying a market demand, otherwise why would they be so successful?

    There is a very good reason why we are in this era of super-trainers who dwarf all others. They are simply more efficient and markets love efficiency, especially in a sport which has shrunk in real terms for 20+ years.

  6. fahiem steffenson says:

    This problem is easy to solve……limit every yard to a max of 100 horses…

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