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Lockdown Extension A Major Blow To Racing

Will our jurisdictions put their heads together?

The extension of the COVID-19 lockdown to the end of April now looks set to threaten the scheduled start of the SA  Champions and effectively scupper the remainder of the Highveld Season.

South Africa’s premier racing season is carded to commence at Hollywoodbets Greyville on 1 May with a bumper feature programme that includes a traditional season launch pad in the Independent On Saturday Gr2 Drill Hall Stakes.

Perovskia wins 2018 Drill Hall Stakes (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Entries for the features, including the WSB Gr2 Guineas and the WSB Gr2 Fillies Guineas, are due on Friday 17 April.

While the season could well be shuffled and compacted, if it runs late Cape trainers cannot get their horses back in time to AHS them within the required time frame, and get them fit.

“If Durban goes ahead late and Cape-based trainers stay to race in KZN we will either have to miss the Cape Season or next year’s Durban Season, due to not being vaccinated to travel,” a trainer told the Sporting Post.

“We now face a serious dilemma which the authorities are going to have to work together with very carefully. The Cape horses need to come home by 1 August. Any later, and we can’t prepare them properly for the Cape Season.”

A proposal was made by another trainer to possibly lure the KZN trainers to the Cape for the Summer Season by offering incentives of free stabling, and even possibly sponsored B & B accommodation in the Milnerton area to maximize the Sizzling Summer Season.

“We will have the opportunity by then that we are hopefully all back on the tracks and the Cape can be a launch platform to better things after very little racing.  I think if we go the same route as many other countries under COVID-19 lockdown, we are going to be back on track in about four months time. Unless the government allows us to continue somewhere down the line under very strict conditions? But that’s hardly likely as it’s a huge risk to our staff and attendant personnel. Many other industries are also paralyzed at the moment. Whatever the situation we desperately need a plan,” he added.

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27 comments on “Lockdown Extension A Major Blow To Racing

  1. DEAN DEMONT says:

    Phumelela was on its knees, and gasping for air, I understand the ramifications of people gathering etc,but racing in China has gone on. Happy Valley and Sha Tin still flourish behind closed doors. Australian racing, still going ahead. The USA, the hardest hit country with up to 3 race meetings a day, still going ahead. Surely if the correct measures be put in place, racing can continue behind closed doors. No totes or tattersalls may open as it entices gatherings. So racing should go ahead and people must punt on line only. Racing is my only source of income and it’s starting to take its toll,as am sure many others. Sure,we can punt on various meetings across the planet, but a professional needs a Computaform to put in 5 hours of studying. Punting off the tote sheet is like going to a gunfight, with a knife.

    1. Editor says:

      Dean, you should try a publication called Sporting Post 🙂

  2. Ravi says:

    I would hate to think that I’m omniscient or profess to know everything, but we have to consider the facts and the fact of the matter is that when the President addressed the nation this evening, every single South African had to have taken notes on the various carefully selected topics he spoke of and his explicit choice of words.

    I hope the racing fraternity and the powers that be were careful too in what they digested and as well what the ramifications of all this would mean to the racing industry if not the country.

    If for one minute anyone herein feels that we are going to be racing anytime before 1 August 2020. Please get a psychiatrist on speed dial right away. The now extended lockdown and the gathering of facts, screening of people, collating of reports, reporting of infections, consultations of research will only exacerbate our Covid-19 strategies and thus more than likely we will probably see another lockdown implemented after the April deadline.

    If we want to horse race again, we must stop looking at when we want to race or for that matter looking at the calendar…we must ask ourselves “How” are we going to race. Could this be behind close doors, no crowds, only online betting, which centres should race and most importantly how frequently.

    The economic fragility of the punters pockets right now is a big factor to consider. If racing continues under specific conditions will it be sustainable to trainers, jockeys and owners? Where does racing generate its most revenue from? Are the walk in tote bettors making up the bigger slice of the revenue pie? Are online bettors keeping the industry alive or is it the average Joe in the street? Tough days ahead and its not going to get any easier.

  3. Van Niekerk says:

    Life Before material Things


    This extended shutdown will, economically, cause way less damage to our economy than compared to most other countries.

    Irreversible damage has already been inflicted by State Capture, wide scale/rampant corruption, etc etc, over the last 7 years.

  5. Michael Jacobs says:

    I agree with the editor. There is a publication called the Sporting Post which is the best source of info in the country.

    I am just hoping that they will somehow get the date of gelding into their formline, that’s the only thing that is missing. One has to go look that up in Computaform or Winning Form, which is a schlep.

  6. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Dean you great 🤣🤣🤣 I can just imagine the BIG SCREEN TV GOING AGAIN when the President announced a further lock down…Thank God I got the news while the family were saying prayers 🤣🤣🤣anyway just for the records I believe stakes have been slashed by 50%…Phumelela trying to put the blame on the lock down…BULLSHIT…we knew it was coming and also predicted a further slash sometime in the new year before we see a increase in stakes…If Phumelela last another month without Major Players getting involved racing will be done and dusted…and the truth of the matter who better than Mrs Mary Slack and Daughter Jessica Slack,, it’s exactly what the game needs Genuine and Honest Racing people controlling the game we dearly love so much,,The Lebanese people will love to see that happen along with the Indian community racing guy’s…Not if but or maybe they’ll kick a few so called manna into touch on the turn if it ever happens…We need a llha Da Vitoria finish in this case from last to 1st in a matter of strides…My goodness did she slaughter them in the Gommagomma she gave the Manna a good proper hiding…Maybe Mr Ed could down load her win in the Summer Cup for us…Cheers and God Bless

  7. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Did anyone see the virtual racing last night. All Rouvan Smit fans will love his digitized voice calling the numbers. Not my cup of elitist tea

    1. Editor says:

      Saw it Rod – at ‘Milnerton’
      The commentary quite odd using numbers rather than names
      Rouvaun has become the Covid commentator

  8. Cj Aucamp says:

    I agree 100% with Dean..

  9. Taki says:

    I agree with Dean

  10. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    i think Mr Smit did a whole series of voice overs and then they try and map it to how the race is unfolding – obviously all done well in advance of the “race”…

  11. DEAN DEMONT says:

    Frankie, you are 100% correct. TV is still intact though. I think its inevitable that the Oppenheimers will take the racing game by the scruff of its neck, shake the tree ,so the rotten apples fall away,and start afresh, if it doesn’t happen, I doubt we will see racing on the highveld for a long time. Perhaps this lockdown and no racing,is what the game needed, to seperate the men from the boys. The Oppenheimer/Slack generation has been going since the start of racing and with them rescueing Flamingo Park from doom, bailed the livelihoods of many associated in Kimberley out. Frankie I remember you jumping the rail to lead Horse Chestnut in,when winning the Met, then leading Dynasty in when winning the July, and not a word was said, in fact,they embraced it with open arms. Sure Dynasty wasn’t owned by the Oppenheimer/Slack “dynasty”, excuse the pun, but it was bred by them. It will and should be run as a non profit organization, then you will see racing flourish in this country. If this does not happen, then there will be exactly 4 trainers left in Gauteng, maybe 1 in KZN and 4 in the Cape. Many jobs would be lost,and racing would be a faint memory to all on times to come.

  12. Jeb says:

    Can someone please tell us when the so-called task team is going to address the sport with their contingency plan? We are all speculating but nothing from the operators. They are speaking to government. Who? A clerk? If government ministers are taking pay cuts, what are they doing? The powers that be are very quiet. Clearly no form of leadership. Do they think saying nothing will make the problem go away? Or are they too comfy in lockdown. We want to know what’s happening and who is sacrificing other than owners, jockeys, trainers, grooms and other personnel.

  13. Cameron James says:

    Heres a thought/pipedream…….Since the Champion’s Season is almost upon us cant Gold Circle and Phumelela come together and give the country an idea of what horseracing is all about.

    Heres a thought just a thought, we make the Ashburton training centre a Covid19 free zone. Everyone who needs access is to be tested and certified negative. Put up proper facilities for accommodation and house the relevant people on site. The majority of the Capes finest horses are already stabled there, all we need to do is get the Jhb contingent there as well…..like a virus free zone.

    Only travel allowed will be to the track, Scottsville, Cecil’s probably licking his lips , to run all feature races there for this year, including the Vodacom Durban July.

    The Highveld season has been decimated and as the stark reality is that we may lose the remaining feature races. So if the operators can come together and bring the very best horses to KZN and Televise these select races would be great for the game.

    Let Phumelela and Gold Circle pool the stake moneys and a percentage of that pool to be shared amongst the horses not competing in this even.

    Nows the time for all the industrys roll players to engage government. The added benefit will be the sale of the content, which can bring in revenue. The show must go on.

  14. jai says:

    jeb its not at task team its a ghost team

  15. Donald says:

    Surely one for the ” SECRET TASK TEAM ” ?

    If I was the chairman of that august body I would be hard at work negotiating with government to resume horse racing on 1st May under the terms and conditions that prevailed just before the lockdown !

  16. James says:

    PLS can someone tell me how can I cash my Hollywood winnings ticket anywhere since it’s lockdown

    1. Editor says:

      Hi James
      Will check

    2. Editor says:

      Hi James
      Hollywood responded as follows:
      James will have to open a HW account if he doesn’t already have one.
      Then send us a pic of the ticket or the ticket number and we can do a manual payout into the account.
      He can withdraw or play after that.

  17. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hello CJ , wow … Yes pls

    We had lunch at the training center’s restaurant, The Zebra and Porcupine, just before lock down. Good food and cold beers, on the deck with a view.

    As for your thoughts on Phum and GC talking, don’t know, they very Quiet in difficult times. Maybe after Easter 🤔

    In Afr – Stil soos Oorlog Skepe. The silence is deafening !

    Happy Easter All 👍

    1. Editor says:

      Selfde, dankie Cecil


    James, try phoning them and quote them your ticket number.

    Have you an account with Holygolucky ?


    Hollygolucky might then be able to EFT the money to you.

    Happy Easter to All

  20. Cameron James says:

    Hey Cecil, not talking brings no revenue. Lol , look what Seabiscuit did for the Americans during the great deprrssion.

    Surely it can be ” Done Again”, excuse the Pun.

  21. Ashraf says:

    Its not only money just adhere to lock down its a pity god has not put a price on heaven what the world would turn out to be ?????????????????

  22. Lance Rooplall says:

    Things happen for a reason. Nothing good lasts forever, We will race again soon. Take this lock down as an opportunity to recharge your batteries, reflect on the past mistakes and forcus on the good times ahead. Lots of bad vibes going around “things not going to be the same” Currently we are in this bad situation but I know that things will get much better by correcting our mistakes.

    Good luck guys.

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