South African horseracing will bid farewell to one of its great characters and leading trainers at the end of November.
Former Cape champion trainer Joey Ramsden has decided to close down his South African operation.
Whatever his personal reasons for making this sea change in lifestyle, there is little doubt that he will go down in history as some of the collateral damage, which includes many individuals and sectors of the racing and breeding industry here, of the Joostegate scandal.
While he was a top trainer long before Markus Jooste’s arrival, Joey was one of the men most exposed when the former Steinhoff boss hit a brick wall back in December 2017.
“We’re taking a sabbatical as both Steph and I feel that this is the right decision for ourselves and our family to take a step back for a while and reassess in the future. Goodhope Racing will be closing its doors on 30 November 2019.We thank you all for your understanding in what has been an extremely testing time and an extremely hard decision we’ve had to make,” writes Joey in an email that has done the rounds of racing’s unforgiving bush telegraph in the past few hours.
He goes on to say that they need to reiterate that this is not a knee jerk reaction to any ‘news’ that’s been released – ‘we simply needed to take the time to speak with our family, friends, staff and owners before we made anything public’, he writes.
He adds that naturally the horses in their care will be looked after as per their usual high standards until new homes are found.
“Having been lucky enough to have trained many Champion racehorses it has been the staff behind me that have made it all possible and it has been heartbreaking to tell them and I can’t thank them enough for their loyalty and their understanding.It’s been a privilege and an honour to train in this beautiful country and I’m going to miss Cape Town very much,” he says in closing.
Joey obtained his trainers licence in 1995 and has been Cape Champion Trainer four times. He has trained 20 Gr1 winners of 26 Gr1 races, including Variety Club, Attenborough, Just Sensual, Winter Solstice, The Conglomerate and Red Ray.
He has three young daughters, Holly , Zara and Ruby who he once said keep him busy and broke! His partner Stephanie Grentell worked for Inglis in Australia before meeting Joey.
There is no question that Joey Ramsden will be missed and that South African racing is poorer for his departure.
We wish him well and let’s afford him and his family the courtesy of the privacy that they deserve.