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Top Trainer JR Calls It A Day

SA Racing is poorer for his departure

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.

Joey Ramsden – tough decision made

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.

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20 comments on “Top Trainer JR Calls It A Day

  1. Vincent Bell says:

    Very sad, I like his way of gentlemanship, his runner always fit on the day. I am going to write the royal families of England and Saudi Arabia and ask if they would invest in another SA trainer and send him some horse. This is such a lose to cape racing, this industry can only go down from here. Kimberly will close and Kenilworth will become the new Kimberly. Who next, Justin Snaith. 😔

  2. This is a good man. I was priviledged to have shares in horses trained by him. He was always very straight forward and always put the horse first. He is a brilliant horseman and more importantly is a good father and person. It’s sad that he has to give up the game because of the greed and vanity of individuals who are yet to be held to account. Go well Joey.

  3. Paul says:

    A huge loss. A highly talented horseman and always a forgiving supporter of “problem” riders – Fortune; Winnaar; Morgenrood; et al.

  4. Wayne Jooste says:

    One Cape trainer down and at least 2 more to go in the near future. It’s not looking good for racing, not just in the Cape, but in the whole country unfortunately!

  5. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Wow….the fallout just gets worse. Joey Ramsden went out of his way to look after me while at a feature meeting a while back, the RA had f£@ked up and he made sure that I was looked after in his usual “do the right thing” attitude. This is just wrong. Soon the 6,6,6…..what SA racing is racing to. I know he will be successful in whatever he does…

  6. warren says:

    So,so,sad….lost for words…..always looked forward to his no nonsense honest interviews….well wishes for the future Mr Ramsden…..hope though you might reconsider and find the “Rocky” spirit….”Eye of the Tiger”

  7. bob kistnasamy says:

    Sad day for SA racing to lose a stalwart such as Joey Ramsden. We are going to lose a few more, as predicted by Wayne.
    The brainstrust need to get together to saving the industry from further damage.
    What is requirement is engagement with the racing fraternity to revive the industry. Large numbers get a thrill out of horse racing and it is indeed a tragedy to see the decline of a once thriving market.

    all the best to you and your family Joey.!!.

    I m quite sure that your knowledge and wisdom will be put to great use and benefit to the racing public. Quite honestly, I can see you still making a major contribution.

  8. Andre Fick says:

    It is just part of the overall country mismanagement, corruption, racism and security that drains South Africa with skilled and top class individuals in their industry.

    Generally, South Africans moral fibre have declined and most are entitled.

    Pure lack of strategy and skilled leadership cost the racing industry. No industry should go less rather upwards unless captured or state owned.

    Sorry to hear your professional outfit is not continuing in this beautiful country.

  9. Pops says:

    So is he going to train racehorses in the UAE,New Zealand,Oz,Hong Kong or even Britain?
    The statement,.It’s been a privilege and an honour to train in this beautiful country and I’m going to miss Cape Town very much,” gets one thinking there will be another surprise announcement soon.

  10. W W says:

    Good bye Joey. With SA racing you are in the news today and forgotten tomorrow. It’s sad and brutal but it is true. Many trainers have given up their licences. It happens. There is always someone out there to pick up the pieces and willing to try make do with them. Racing and racing folk are fickle. I will remember you for your strong views and personality as a no nonsense guy and for the trainer who put most of his eggs into the Markus Jooste basket, which over time changed from golden eggs to rotten eggs.

  11. KAZ says:

    Sad ending for a great career. Wish him well for his future. To Editor please do not make fools of the racing public by writing that Markus Jooste hit a brick wall, when it is clear knowledge that Markus Jooste and Steihoff bosses have looted millions if not billions from the pension funds, So please make informed decesions when printing your articles.

    1. Editor says:

      KAZ, thanks for the advice
      You obviously know your stuff

  12. Prasheen Harrimohan Harrimohan says:

    Mr editor please clarify is he closing his sa yard and moving to Singapore or is he stopping to train full stop cos Tuesdsys article left us confused

    1. Editor says:

      Prasheen, JR is closing down and as the story says, Singapore is no longer in the plans.
      Tuesday’s story was based on information from the Singapore Turf Club and made the assumption that JR would continue at Milnerton.

  13. Prasheen Harrimohan says:

    By by Joey and then follows de cock with Justin there after might be left with Paul Peter and Sean tarry as da only big trainers in sa

  14. logan says:

    as an ex owner I can certainly say jr was one the best trainers to have dealt with

  15. Geoff Logan says:

    Excellent Trainer. Could be quite a thorny character but hell he got away with it because he was so good. I am personally very sorry about his departure.

  16. So nice to see positive comments from everyone for a change in such trying times that SA racing finds itself in! Joey gave me a chance many years back that I am eternally thankful for and we had many great years of success and even though we boxed on many occasions it was due to our passion for winning and for the love of racing.
    Variety Club is still looked after and ridden quietly at his stables as Joey just feels he deserves that special attention.
    All the best my friend

  17. INNOCENT says:

    So sad for racing but the Man is taking a sabbatical he will be back after six years or so

  18. Deezo Snyman says:

    A master trainer who always gave his honest opinion. His large string kept him going and its unfortunate that the Jooste debacle has crippled him and horseracing to a certain degree. This industry has suffered ever since Jooste was exposed and it will take a momentous effort for it to become financially viable for new owners to enter the industry. Trainers will not survive without owners and JR made his decision based on that. I wish JR and his family all the best.

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