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Flamingo Park – A Good Year Lies Ahead

SA's only sand track survives testing times

Glasses will be raised at Flamingo Park today as those connected with the Kimberley course celebrate Phumelela’s decision to lift the axe that for the past three months has been hanging over the track like the sword of Damocles.

Cliffie Miller – a lifetime in Northern Cape

Michael Clower writes that few are more entitled to celebrate than Cliffie Miller who apparently played a major, and largely unheralded, part in saving the course which has been his life for more than four decades.

Miller, leading trainer at Flamingo Park last season and second on the log at the moment, said: “When they announced at the end of August that the course was to close after this week’s meeting I said ‘Nonsense. It can’t happen like that. We have our houses here, it’s not simply a matter of packing up and going somewhere else. I personally have been at Kimberley for 42 years.’

“I decided to get the ball rolling and I went to see the people who have stepped in to save the course – Gold Circle, Mary Slack and Hollywoodbets – and thankfully they decided to get together to keep us going for at least another year. They are the real heroes of all this.”

Miller is confident that, thanks to the new backers, the course has a future well beyond the next 12 months – “They say that they are looking at much further than a year.”

When Phumelela announced the closure they pointed out that the course was losing R23.5 million a year and had the lowest TAB turnover in the country at around R3 million. But  without Flamingo Park’s 36 meetings a year, mostly on a Monday, the country could struggle to race every day in times of bad weather. South Africa would be down to just seven racecourses – at one time there were more than 90 racing clubs, each with their own racecourse.

Miller points out that the course’s importance to the racing industry should not be measured purely in terms of betting turnover, saying: “We are the only sand track left in South Africa and it is one that is very kind to horses. We buy horses that are bred to race on sand and many of those we get here would only win on sand – you can count on the fingers of one hand those that can also compete on grass. Also there is nowhere else that they can race. We couldn’t take them to Johannesburg because many of them come from there and they did nothing at Turffontein or the Vaal.”

  • www.goldcircle.co.za

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11 comments on “Flamingo Park – A Good Year Lies Ahead

  1. Rob Palmer says:

    Sanity has prevailed

  2. Pops says:

    Think of Phumelela as a cuckoo bird and Flamingo Park as its egg.Now say well cared for Hollywoodbets Scottsville and Hollywoodbets Greyville are Gold Circle’s Eggs.
    Sneaky Phumelela lays its egg in Gold Circles nest.’
    Will Gold Circles eggs survive.Just a thought.

  3. Mike du Toit says:

    A true officer and gentleman..

  4. Dylan says:

    Besides all that is said above, imagine no Kimberly, what would happen to all those poor horses and all the futur horses without a second chance? Well done to all for saving it. Wish you all the best and most of all thanks for giving the horses a second chance.

  5. Deena Pillay says:

    C’mon ‘Larry’ tell us how instrumental u were in this deal……. We waiting……….LOL

  6. Brad says:

    If racing is to survive then we cannot have inconsistent horses. This certainly puts me off. A horse wins by 10 Lengths and the next run finishes last. No investigation into in an out running by the authorities. This must be addressed PLEASE !

  7. twinkletoes says:

    I would also like to see an increase in stakes for those running at Flamingo Park. I was embarassed and saddened when I saw the latest pittances they are running for. Instead of paying huge amounts to a limited number of individuals, spread the money around to the bread and butter racers. T

  8. Prasheen Harrimohan says:

    Eventually we will be left with greyville turfontein and Kenilworth and have racing on a.saturday only same like borrowdale and Mauritius. Our country is heading towards Zimbabwe anyway. PS we might not have any power left to broadcast racing anymore lol

  9. Peter Dembitzer says:

    Fantastic news that Kimberley is continuing. No thanks to bankrupt Phumelela.The lack of turnover is a pittance compared to the amount paid to fatcats at Phumelela who would battle to find work elsewhere.
    Kimberley is an example to the rest of the country in running racing professionally. Races run like clockwork at 30 minute intervals, seldom running late.
    I wish all at my favourite course a wonderful 2020

  10. Ashley says:

    Why does spies no longer come to flamingo park

  11. Cliffie says:

    I agree they won’t suppose to cut our stakes but now they cut the maidens by 27% rest of races also very bad. I think i got stakes like that in the 90″s.

    Maybe now that we got convermation about the track staying open they trying to force us to quit the game. Hell will freeze over before that happens.

    It is very bad for us to race for a pittance but what can you do we love the game and will stay here.

    Very sad state of affairs.
    Suppose not to cut maiden plates and juv races according to the letter send to the sporting post.
    Rest of races were cut by 13%

    Wonder how many of the top brass salaries were cut by 27% . Just a question

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