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Kimberley – Now Kempton

Another racecourse set to be sold

With stakeholders and the racing public still reeling from the announcement on Thursday of South African horseracing’s worst kept secret, the dumping of Northern Cape Racing, a British track could follow a similar route.

The Jockey Club plans to sell Kempton Park, with plans afoot  to build 3000 houses on the 230-acre site where racing has been run since 1878,

Ladbrokes signed a new five-year deal on Thursday to back the two day Winter Festival at Kempton, but this will not be changing anybody’s minds to sell for £600m.

The likelihood that Kempton would be closed appeared to recede in March 2018 when an assessment of Spelthorne council’s green belt land found Kempton was ‘strongly performing’ in fulfilling the purposes of the green belt.

Thursday’s announcement that Kimberley racing will hold its final meeting on 9 December has evoked an angry response from across the board.

After a multimillion rand refurbishment of the racing surface and the construction of 140 stables in 2005, the Kimberley Racecourse was renamed Flamingo Park. The track, the only sand racing surface in South Africa, has been a Monday afternoon institution for generations of punters.


Beyond the fact that the closure is likely to have a traumatic impact on uprooting hundreds of families, the hole in the cog of the broader racing economy created by the demise of Kimberley is a serious consideration. The centre has been a secondary market for major centre owners and many horses have found a new lease on life on the sand.

One wonders what thought has been given by Phumelela to the impracticalities of moving families who own homes, attend schools and have their roots in the broader community?

Moving the trainers to other centres is likely to see a further erosion of our trainer base, with Kimberley horses, despite some vastly experienced trainers, unlikely to be competitive against the established yards at the Vaal or Fairview.

And what are the plans with the Kimberley property? No mention is made in the Phumelela press release

Three months notice seems too short. But would even a year have made a difference?

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20 comments on “Kimberley – Now Kempton

  1. Tony Mincione says:

    “A financial analysis conducted on Kimberley Racing in isolation from the other racecourses, indicated it was losing around R23.5 million a year.”

    That’s R500k a meeting. I don’t believe that.

    Was it -20 M year before, and -18 M year before that, etc etc? You can make things looks good or bad, depending what you decide to include. You could say every Monday is Kimberley so 1/7 of NHRA is a Kimberley cost. I don’t trust ballpark figures.

    Anyone with a sharper pencil?

  2. Maryke says:

    Closing Kimberley is so sad ! So many people (trainers , owners, grooms ect) live there for many years.. and now it’s over.

  3. Sipho says:

    Since the takeover of horse racing and Sun International by the Indians they have been detereoting, the standard has gone down, the attendance has been bad and later sold for a song. Why spend millions of Rands on a place to revamp it only to close it in 5years?? My bet is 5years down the line one Indian will open a nine there, watch the space

  4. Tindo says:

    And then your point is somewhere lost between racism and lack of intellect.

  5. Clinton Pillay says:

    Sipho l think you are being racist.
    Why don’t you get your facts straight

  6. Nico says:

    ‘Indians’ .. Wow sounds interesting to say the least. You’re lucky your name isn’t of white decent or else you’d be eaten for sounding racist..

  7. Mohamed says:

    Sipho you are a racist and don’t belong in our society if you were any other race you would have been taken to court please get your facts straight before you comment. This is corporate greed couldn’t Care about the people only profits that is why they are closing down tote shops so where do people play blame pumalela for all the drama

  8. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hai-bo Sipho, you wena are way off the mark. Eish, no man….

    Don’t believe everything you misread in Chappies gum wrappings….

  9. Shanil says:

    I’d rather not respond to Sipho on a racial perspective as he has no idea when the Indian that he refers to has assumed the leadership role. It was when the Apple was already rotten to the core. The game had detoriated long before then. Unfortunately the poor performers are still their who are responsible for this mess.

  10. Donald says:

    What a country !

    Sipho cannot be racist as we are told that blacks cannot be racist so his comments must be true and factual ?

    Should a white have uttered these remarks they would have been racist and their comment false and non – factual ?

    Same comment by two people of different ethnic origin with two different results with one to be hauled before a some authority to answer and for the other it is business as usual !

    As Cecil says ” HAI – BO ” !


    Sipho told me he meant the indigenous Red Indians from America, who sold their sacred rights of their forefathers land to Sol Kezner, in return for massive casinos.

  12. Roy Naidoo says:

    The racist generalization by this ignoramus beggars belief. Serves no purpose to dignify this rubbish with a response.

  13. Juggie Naidoo says:

    Kimberley was on a hiding to nothing. Their meetings were pegged on a Monday when racing is furthest from an enthusiast mind.

    Maybe they should restructure the calendar to afford the centre centre better exposure. Further to that, people must remember that horses that become less competitive at the major centre tend to find new lease of life at Kimberley.

    Notwithstanding, the above, this move will have massive negative impact on the local racing community on all levels.

    The powers that be need look at giving this centre a Saturday meeting at least twice every three months and even a Friday meet to rejuvenate the turnovers.

  14. Joe Knowles says:

    In Kzn in the 90’s bookies closed shop on Mondays and didn’t bother pricing on Kimberley race meetings.
    Only die hard punters bet on Kimberley racing those days because of severe form reversals.
    Kimberley horses raced in Bloemfontein too and I used to ignore them in selections as most were in the fields to blot their form books.
    Many horses from the Mauritzfontein/ Oppenheimer ownership were raced in Kimberley too.
    Surprisingly this centre has survived far longer a period than other premier racing venues.

  15. Cliff says:

    People I would just like rectify something about Flamingo when Patrick and Larry came down.
    Larry was under the impression that we are going to discuss how to save money on course. Patrick then said that their board said it is closed. A shock to him and all. One thing I taped that whole meeting and I must come up for Larry he did not do all the talking as someone said. I have been in contact with Larry ever since and to tell all out there is that he is working hard to keep us open. I know that we all with him and stand with him on this. There has been an offer to keep us open but can’t discuss it here we will have to wait and see. I want to thank the racing public out there that simplifies with us

  16. Editor says:

    We have requested Mr Davis’ response to the statement from Cliff – particularly the alleged miscommunication and the RA’s will to keep Kimberley running.
    We will reserve comment in meanwhile.

  17. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Cliff, I am one of Many that hope and pray there is still options and discussions.

    Speaking as an Oupa, my heart sank when I saw the Pic of the innocent kiddies living at Flamingo.

  18. Ognimalf krap says:

    If you believe that Larry Wainstein had no idea about the closure of Flamingo Park before the meeting then you will also believe that a D
    Dodo was sighted in Mauritius holding a banner saying Larry Wainstein wants to save the Flamingo in Kimberley.

    Wainstein travelled with Davis to Kimberley. You do not have to be a trainer to work out that Wainstein knew the reasons for the meeting. He was holding the hand of Davis.

    It is a bit hard to believe that Larry Wainstein is working hard to keep Flamingo Park open when a final decision has been made to close it by Phumelela management months ago and with Wainstein’s knowledge.

    You will eventually find yourself standing in a long queue of people who would prefer that Larry Wainstein get out of horse racing and never return.

    I hope you ask Larry on a daily basis how he is progressing and what he is doing to keep Flamingo open. If he is doing this, it certainly is not for the RA. Maybe he has gone into business with a consortium which includes GVSC, Equimotion, Race Book, Turf Talk, PG Konsult and a few more.

  19. Steve Reid says:

    You have got to love to soapie that is Phumelela and the RA.

    So after the deserved outcry received for his role, or rather lack of role, in the closure of Flamingo, we are now told that Larry was blindsided by Patrick Davis. If you believe that, you probably believe in the existence of the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas, and the Tooth fairy.

    Why would Larry have waited two weeks to get his ex RA representative and board member to show his innocence? Why was there not a media release on the matter highlighting this deception and documenting the way forward? Is Larry really telling us all that Patrick Davis, bless him, made the trip to Kimberley with Larry and dropped the bomb on him during the meeting? And Larry accepted this deception? I have been in a few meetings with Wainstein, and believe me, he is quick to utilise every trick in the book to his advantage – including refusing to answer questions at AGM’s on the advice of Joostes attorney. Do not tell me the man would have continued in a meeting, and say nothing, thereby tacitly agreeing to the closure of Flamingo, if he was not an informed and willing participant. Do not tell me the man would have been mute about this for two weeks. Impossible.

    This cock and bull story makes no sense, and . It reminds me strongly of his tactics when cornered on the SASCOC “approval” for the awarding of SA colours. He deceived then, and he is deceiving now.

  20. Pops says:

    Wonder if this could be a version of the Stockholm syndrome

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