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Top Trainers Defend Training Centre

Bradford Smith stirs up locals

Trainers Mike de Kock and Alec Laird have repudiated remarks made by a former Randjesfontein track manager on the Tellytrack show Winning Ways that the tracks were not properly maintained.

James Goodman

James Goodman – interesting interview

The Sporting Post carried the interview by James Goodman.

Watch it here

Talking to Tabnews, both Mike de Kock and Alec Laird said they are disappointed with comments made by former track manager Bradford Smith about the condition of the Randjesfontein track during a visit he made to the centre last year.

Speaking on Winning Ways to James Goodman, Smith, who is now the track manager in Abu Dhabi, said he was at Randjesfontein last October.

“To be honest I was actually shocked at what I saw last October. You know, it wasn’t the place I had left behind.”

He added: “I was horrified. I don’t think it is maintained well.”

Alec Laird – nice horse on his hands

Laird said he had seen Smith at Randjesfontein during his visit but had not spoken to him. “He comes here for one day, the new track was still being laid and the tracks we were using were under pressure.

“I don’t think they were any better when he was here. They take a lot of traffic and I’m very happy with the effort they are putting in.

“I will say that Bradford did have the advantage that as a former jockey, he could ride the course and get a better idea of the track conditions.”

Smith also commented that track managers in South Africa just learn from the previous manager without learning new skills and that also was the reason for the lack of improvement.

“The guy who took over from Bradford was Navesh Ramdhani. He was very active on the internet and would do research from all over the world if he had a problem. He was amazing.

“Today he is the course manager at Royal Randwick in Sydney.” said Laird.

De Kock agreed with Laird overall. “Bradford came in October when we were preparing the new track. I’ve got to know him very well and I have to say that Bradford is an excellent track manager, but he’s wrong about Randjesfontein. I have travelled all over the world and I have seen many training facilities and Randjes is a world-class facility.

“Bradford probably came on a bad day and sadly has based his thoughts on that. If he came to Randjesfontein today he would have a different opinion.

Mike de Kock has some nice runners today

“The guys who maintain the tracks are thorough gentleman and are hardworking. They do their job well and we have no room to complain. We can be very proud of our tracks. “The only thing I would change is to remove the aluminium railings because they’re a health hazard.”

Responding to De Kock’s comments, Patrick Davis, Phumelela Racing Executive, said:  “We are planning to address the aluminium rails issue at all our venues with either hedges or plastic rails.

“But this is an expensive exercise given the extent of our facilities – and given current cash constraints will take time to roll out.”

Ed – the second instalment of the Bradford Smith interview will be shown on Winning Ways at 22h00 on Monday 26 August

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3 comments on “Top Trainers Defend Training Centre

  1. Chris says:

    Bradford is the Track Manager /Clerk of the Course in QATAR at Al Rayann Park.

    Abu Dhabi Racing and Equestrian Club tried to poach him…

    Does Patrick Davis realise that should a rider or horse be injured, impaled or killed due to the rusty rails still in use, it will cost Phumelela way more than the cost to put them up???

    As a member of the Asian Racing Conference, I wonder if a Precedence for riding safety has just been set in NZ with a trainer being fined $370,000 for having a horse of his go through rails with the young rider left in a wheelchair.
    I can’t imagine what settlement a listed company would have to pay

  2. Graeme says:

    Personally, as a race horse owner in South Africa I think that Brad has called a spade a spade and trainers have taken offence to it. You cannot argue with what he is saying other than they were fixing the tracks at Randjiesfontein, however, if you look at the state of our tracks that the horses compete on they are in shocking condition bar possibly Greyville. I am open for correction, however, it is fact that jockeys are unhappy with underfoot conditions and in turn it is endangering our horses lives and making our jockeys jobs harder.

    I’ve never in 10 years of racing seen so many horses break down and jockey coming off than in the past 2 months of racing.

  3. Brett Maselle says:


    I can only imagine that Phumelela is dragging its heels about the health hazard by taking comfort in the Rules of the NHA.

    The Operators have a hand maiden in the NHA.

    The NHA is supposed to be independent and its rules are supposed to be adopted without fear or favour. See for example http://www.nhra.co.za/index.php/newsletters/203-september

    The NHA rules favour all the Operators but no-one else. Rule 1.8 is a very broad exclusionary clause to favouring the Operators:-

    No person (whether or not subject to the RULES) shall have any claim of any nature
    whatsoever and howsoever arising (including, but without limitation to the aforegoing, any
    claims for damages to or loss or destruction of any HORSE or other property) against the
    respective STEWARDS, directors, officials or employees, arising, from any act or omission
    in connection with racing or breeding or with the administration, operation and regulation
    thereof, whether in terms of the RULES or not.

    The clause has not yet been tested in Court and hopefully it never will be. I believe that the clause is against all good morals of our society.

    If the NHA was truly independent it would remove all clauses in its rules which favour the Operators.

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