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Champions Day Goes Ahead

Inaugural Gins 'n Roses Festival a success

Racing at Turffontein on Champions Day was delayed by nearly an hour when grooms, believed to be protesting against employment conditions, invaded Turffontein racecourse after the running of the second race.

Tabnews reported that the group of about 50 people entered the track at the 400m mark.

Racing officials engaged the protesters and eventually persuaded them to leave the course so that racing could continue.

While Tellytrack viewers were subjected to a frustrating delay, racing fans on course appeared mostly oblivious to the protest and enjoyed the 20 different gin brands showcasing their very best at the inaugural Gins ‘N Roses Festival, which appeared to be a big hit with the crowd that swelled as the afternoon went on.

A punter noted wryly – “It seemed empty early on. That’s because we genuine gamblers organise the day around race times. The guys who came for the gin were less concerned about the racing and exotics more interested in the music and the drink.”

Phumelela’s Clyde Basel, who is now responsible for events, said that he was pleased with the turnout and suggested that the unique nature of the festival had appealed to regular racegoers and newbies, alike.

The stand alone Pick 6, projected to reach R5 million, outstripped projections and reached a pool of R7,2 million, with favourite results producing many winners – after the bomb results of 2018.

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15 comments on “Champions Day Goes Ahead

  1. Warren says:

    As a owner with a filly in the Gerald Rosenberg I was disappointed in the manner this incedent was addressed…when we arrived at the course the protest was at the entrance of Turfontein already, if we were notified earlier about this I would not have attended the meeting, subjecting my family and friends to this strike..how did they enter Turfontein .. Security was poor.. The image of our local racing was tarnished once again.

    How will we attracted new owners to this sport, as a owner we allow the same grooms carrying sticks, steel pipes to feed our horses.

    Phumelela catch a wake up your board needs to start protecting this industry starting with having the trainers backs, this is your property they renting and as tenants they need to fell safe. . This incedent could have turned very nasty..

    Grooms running across the track meters in front of race horses at full race pace.. What a joke..

  2. Art says:

    There has been much disatisfaction relating to the conditions of employment for the grooms.Whilst I do not condone their disruptive behaviour is it not time that phumelela addressed this ongoing problem with all concerned so we can have an incident free racing day.What comes to mind is the R50m that was allocated to uplifting the working conditions of the grooms at the time that racing was corporatiized some time ago.Perhaps phumelela can shed some light on how that money was spent?Also the current practice of interviewing some grooms in ENGLISH, which is clearly not their home language,after their horse has won, is not only embarrassing to the groom ,but detracts from the occasion of the victor.

  3. 7734gerald says:

    Well said Art, whilst I don’t agree with the grooms modus operandi they certainly do have some issues that need addressing and the thrush is there will be no racing without the grooms

  4. Jay Akkiah says:

    I fully agree with Art
    It’s embarrassing for the groom when he does not speak English properly and yet you find the presentor pushing the Mike down his throat
    It’s high time the grooms have decent uniforms on race days. Like that of Snaiths and Crawfords

  5. Warren says:

    Agree without grooms the industry will suffer, but they need to sort their grievances out behind closed doors.. Not hold us owner Ransome.. Fire the lot and start over

  6. Niran says:

    Warren you are a racehorse owner so im gonna assume that you hail from an affluent family ,you are free to express your views as sporting post is a free for all, obviously subject to moderation ,having said that ,I cant help but notice your appaling diction and spelling ,so obviously you seem less educated as you are affluent ,affluence gained via colonial rule perhaps????…. im not making this political,perhaps it already is ,considering the chain reaction strikes have around the country….if there isnt any substance and logic as to why grooms are protesting then they should be fired ,this county has alot of people who are unemployed … cant keep bowing down to these protesters who are tarnishing the image of a global industry.


    The breath of fresh air from a broadcast point-of-view was the interview with Mrs Woodruff. Whenever the lady is interviewed she leaves “the room” with a feel-good atmosphere abounding.

  8. Warren says:

    Hi Neran

    Sorry if I made a spelling error.

    It is not a question of finances… It is a passion for horse racing… It is about the safety of the public and the horses. How can Phumelela, having prior knowledge of the intended protest action, allow the grooms to jeopardize the race day without any warning to the owners or the public.

    3 Months ago there was a national grooms strike and all owners fees were increased in order to meet the grooms demands. When is enough, enough?

    If you or I behaved in the same manner, I am pretty sure that our management would take action against us. Especially in the event of an illegal protest.

    Is it fair, that a trainer has to stand alone to feed and take care of 50 horses ? Where is his recourse?

    The only way forward is to stop allowing a handful of people to ruin it for everyone…

  9. Jethro says:

    Brendon’s comments are interesting. However he loses credibility if he suggests in his final line that there should be some form of appreciation of the actions by the grooms on champions day. To try and justify or endorse this type of action or give it publicity legs, defies belief. Racing is ailing and to have a group 1 day affected and the safety of horses and riders placed in jeopardy by what is outrageous behaviour is not the answer. The industry employs many thousands of people and is a contributor to government coffers. Would this ever happen at Newlands cricket ground or Ellis Park? And I’m not saying Racing’s Management are not to blame.

  10. Warren says:

    And like I said in my response earlier, the industry is in trouble and have just learnt that a well known trainer has decided to call it a day due to the strike yesterday.. Not going to be the only one, now 20 grooms need to find alternative jobs in this economy…just because a hand full of grooms threaten fellow grooms.. Not fair

  11. Rian says:

    I called them the MAFIA Brendon but I dont get the exposure !!!! Wonder sometimes who side Ed is on.
    You so right William she is still as beautiful and as you say brings a breath of fresh air every time shes interviewed
    Fondly remember them at the old Cape Hunt and Polo events many moons ago

  12. Niran says:

    Theres strikes all over the country ,and unfortunately its these foul mouthed ,unethical,ludicrous and seemingly uneducated politicians who provoke employees to protest. They stand on proverbial mountain tops and make empty promises which make people grow bolder without thinking rationally ,sad state of affairs in this country as a whole ,imagine racing without ,sheik hamdan,chris van niekerk,lawrence verners ,mr mclean ,nick johnsonn, to name but a few owners who love and revere the noble thoroughbred,one day decide that they have seen enough ,multimillion industry collapses ….. good grief ….. need I say more

  13. Ds says:

    It seems like these strikes are happening on feature race days hope the same doesn’t happen on 25/05/2019 at scottsville hope somebody from goldcircle is reading these comments and security will be tightened up as we get closer to the Tsogo sun sprint at scottsville, as a business owner I always discuss protests and strikes with my employees and I make sure in my meetings weekly I bring this up and the consequences they will face if this happens especially if it’s in front of customers I don’t tolerate bs from employees if owners are straight forward with employees about strikes and protests and explain to the employees that’s why we have meetings weekly so that conditions of employment and wage negotiations will only be tolerated at the weekly meeting they will understand trust me I’m in business for over a decade and I didn’t have not a single strike or protest because of these weekly meetings that I hold try it it works


    Yes Rian, oh how I miss the Cape Polo & Hunt meets, Sandy Bickett and Rod Phillips Saturday morning 1-2-3 selections, The Doll House in Sea Point, Demis Roussos and Albert Hammond at the 3 Arts Theatre, The Colloseum movie house on the Foreshore, Morris The Butcher’s biltong at the top of Long St, the wooden escalators at Garlicks, Venezia Ice Cream in Seapoint, Shorty Vermeulen, Gus Wise, King Loius Miller, Messaris chips and Club 604 at the top of that skyscraper they built in CT.

    Niran, its all gone for a ball of sssshherbet.

  15. Mboni says:

    Remember this year on Met day. The prize for the groom was missing the chief of the RA had ‘forgotten’ it somewhere, clearly the grooms don’t matter, what a shame

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