Alson Ndzilana, former right-hand man to Joey Ramsden, has joined Mike de Kock’s stables at Randjesfontein as assistant trainer.
He assumed duties this week.
Ndzilana (43), joined Ramsden in 1998 and worked with a host of top thoroughbreds including Winter Solstice, The Conglomerate, Bravura, Set To Music and international star Variety Club, who he rates as the best he has been associated with.
Ndzilana grew up in a rural village on the outskirts of Mthata and found work as a stable hand with trainer Piet Steyn when he was 18 years old.
He became Ramsden’s full-time assistant trainer in 2009 and at the time the Cape trainer said: “He’s meticulous, he stands out from the rest of my employees. He deals with the cream of the crop in my stable and I trust him implicitly.”
A few years later, when Ramsden was churning out plenty of feature race winners, he commented: “Alson Ndzilana is my go-to man. It’s impossible to spread myself all over the country. I rely on Alson’s judgement. We’ve had big winners on his advice.”
Ndzilana told Turf Talk that his move to Johannesburg carried Ramsden’s blessing.
The trainer announced this week that he was closing his SA operation.
“I’ve come to the right place. I’ve spent several months here over the last year and the Ramsden stable’s raiding runners were based with Mr de Kock, so I have worked with him and Mrs De Kock, Mathew and the team. We’re good friends, I am proud and privileged to be here, and thankful.”
Ndzilana’s biggest success came when he trained Attenborough on Ramsden’s behalf to win the Gr1 Computaform Sprint last year.
De Kock commented: “We are pleased to have a man of proven ability like Alson on board. He’s a good trainer in his own right having come from the Ramsden School of Training and working with some of the best runners we’ve seen in this country.
“Alson’s services will become particularly valuable in Johannesburg when Mathew starts travelling next year. He will be spending a lot of time in Australia, getting to know their industry.”