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Abandoned – After 5mm Of Rain

Gr2 Track & Ball Oaks may be run next Saturday

As a former senior rider and experienced trainer, Garth Puller said that after 5mm of rain on a dry and hard surface, anybody thinking of asking questions about how Saturday’s Hollywoodbets Scottsville meeting managed to  be abandoned, would not be unreasonable or offsides.

Great Warrior wins at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Saturday (Pic-Candiese Lenferna)

Speaking to the Sporting Post, the former Champion jockey said that he was a member of the party that carried out the first inspection.

He said that if, after 5mm of rain the track could not cope with further races after an eight-horse field Derby, then ‘something is seriously wrong with the preparation and management’.

“Look, the bend was cut up on the running rail and the Veterinary Surgeon was in support of the jockey’s sentiments. They then moved the rail. At the second inspection after the Derby, the jockeys said it was cut up on the back stretch too and even the virgin turf was not raceable in parts. The Vet once again was in agreement with the jockeys. We respect the professionals and I did not look at the track after the Derby.  I’m glad that we managed to get through the one feature as there were July hopes on the line,” he said.

Gold Circle’s Graeme Hawkins confirmed that the abandonment was as a result of ‘inconsistent underfoot conditions’ and that they were considering running the Gr2 Track & Ball Oaks next Saturday.

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37 comments on “Abandoned – After 5mm Of Rain

  1. Pieta Louw. says:

    Scottsville will become the same as Bloemfontein…..no maintenance?
    We are in the wheelbarrow racing stage……we can only go where they push us…..sad man….

  2. Shanil Singh says:

    Rain that just settled the dust on the track. Shocking. Both Greyville and Scottsville tracks are dodgy. Need help from other turf managers to assist. Or is it don’t stress about maintenance when we have the poly. Easier to move the meetings to the poly.

  3. Johan nel says:

    I do understand safety first,will this happen overseas?,

  4. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Morning Pieta, ja nee kyk, ek is speechless en geskok.

    I learnt a few things yesterday, my weather reporting sucks, I thought Vets are animal Doctors…..

    To top a frustrating day, as my Mother in law is visiting this weekend – some fellow from Kenya, texted and asked me ” Hey you, do you still think Scottsville is the best track in Africa”

  5. Jay Akkiah says:

    Well to cut this type of bull****(edited) have the track indoors
    Overhead sheeting

  6. Steve Reid says:

    It is a pity that Mr Hawkins just stated the obvious and didn’t give the reasons why a track can’t handle 5mm of rain. The facts are that the last meeting before the lockdown took place at Scottsville on 9 May 2000. There was then a break from racing with the next meeting held on 10 June – a 4 week break. Yesterdays meeting was the fifth since the resumption of racing with the track racing once a week on average. The amount of racing is clearly not the issue. It would be interesting to ascertain what exactly happened.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Steve
      We spoke to Mr Hawkins immediately after the abandonment announcement.
      He was not on course.
      So at that point, could provide no further comment.

  7. Marina Munro says:

    Ask Kenilworth how to do it. They raced a few weeks ago in pouring rain, after it had rained a lot. I thought the racing would be stopped but they carried on regardless. Nobody came to any harm, except for a few long-priced winners.

  8. theunisj says:

    Look at Racing at Gulfstream Park in the USA last night…the course looked like a giant pool…did they stop racing? Not a a chance, if your horse cannot swim take it to South Africa…there they are scared of a couple of drops of rain

  9. donald bradshaw says:

    Hang your heads in shame , Gold Circle and all involved in what can only be described as a disgraceful debacle !

    How Garth Puller can make such a statement that anyone who questions this decision is being ” unreasonable ” is beyond comprehension ?

    What is without doubt ” unreasonable ” is that a race course that has not seen a drop of rain in 3 months can not cope with a few rain showers ?

    There should be a full and INDEPENDENT inquiry into this decision to abandon the race meeting and heads must roll upon the final report and findings !

    I will chair that investigation at no cost to Gold Circle and you can be sure there will be some hard questions asked in my investigation which will start with the C.E.O. and work my way down to the crews that walk around with hoes for stamping down the turf after each race !

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Donald
      You have misinterpreted the opening paragraph.
      Garth said that anybody asking questions would ‘not be unreasonable’

  10. MichaelMGJ says:

    There was no racing in SA for alnost 3 months.

    Every racing executive and his horse was bemoaning the suspension of racing. So in that three months of b*tching and moaning, why did they rather not focus on the basics of the industry- the tracks, maintenance, totes, infrastructure. They had 3 months to fix up the tracks for the KZN winter season, yet 5mm of rain brings racing to a standstill.

    Then also our jockeys?! What a bunch of softies! 2 months ago they were begging for support and for hand-outs. Now a few millimeters of rain falls and they are the first to protest! I’m sure all the benefactors who contributed to the appeal fund are rethinking their support! Our jockeys take but they don’t give! I doubt any of this current crop would make it in Europe or US, where they ride in sleet and snow!

    I can see now why racing is going down the drain and will be out of business before the end of the decade! Poor management, no leadership and a bunch of pathetic ” jockeys”!

  11. Wayne Fouche says:

    I think we all know why the tracks are in the condition they are in.

  12. Rudi says:

    I have to agree . Michealmgj crying for racing now crying not to race then we must give handouts sis

  13. Luigi Morelli says:

    If the workriders were riding we would not have these discussions. I still maintain that the licensed jocks are not hungry enough!!

  14. PMB.POLYTRACK says:

    Cecil Pienaar ….
    GC is still smiling, the Bipot, PA, P6 and JP still made it just in time. I wonder, had this Rain ‘storm’ happened before the 4th race, would racing have continued ?

    Mr Ed, I sheepishly responded to the Kenyan guy and said “Please do not call me Hey You, it is rude..” Wragtig he replied with – ” HWBets Scottsville Polytrack”

  15. Wade Batteson says:

    Actually I don’t. Please enlighten me.

  16. Mayen Naidoo says:

    Wonder if it rains on July day, only 12 July runners will run on the Polytrack. Would be interesting how this will be managed.


    Rudi & Mr. Jacobs, excellent points.

    What a shambles our racing has become… farcical incidents happening on a daily basis even taking into consideration that weather is a natural phenomena.

    What happens next time when 14 jockeys, on the way down to the start, all have an urgent natural calling to do NUMBER ONE ?

  18. Ramesh says:

    Correct, the tracks could have been fixed before racing resumes,with regards to jockeys refusing to ride I support them 100 percent, their well-being is first priority therefore, a good decision taken.

  19. Jay August says:

    How is a sealed dirt track at Gulfstream in any way comparable to Scottsville yesterday? All the grass features were moved to the dirt, the dirt track sealed and as a result 16 horses were scratched due to the switch. Theunis, are you suggesting that Scottsville have a dirt track to move to when the turf becomes unusable?

    Michael, perhaps you have not noticed but in the UK they stop their flat racing on turf in the first week in November and resume it in the last week in March or first week in April. I lived for a decade in the UK and cannot ever recall any sleet or snow in the flat turf season but perhaps you can jog my memory.

    It is one thing to ask reasonable questions about the fragility of the near turn at Scottsville and the courses ability to handle racing in winter, and management’s response thereto, but quite another to expect jockeys to ignore the dangers and carry on regardless.

  20. donald bradshaw says:

    Good Day Ed , my apologies to S.P. & Garth Puller for my misunderstanding and therefore retract that sentence however the remainder of my comment I stand by and may I add that as I will not be taken up on my offer to chair an independent inquiry at no cost to Gold Circle I no longer need to be impartial and agree with all those posts that lay the blame at the K.Z.N. jockeys who for some years now have the reputation of being ” FAIR WEATHER ” riders !

    My sympathies to all those who paid into that jockeys benevolent fund ( although it must be said that the riders involved are not those that would have benefited from that fund ) and race horse owners affected by yesterdays poor rational in abandoning the race meeting !

  21. Preston M says:

    Question: could the remainder of the meeting be switched to the stand side track?

  22. George Croucher says:

    Jay August great post bud…Fact not Friction will always out trump unsubstantiated whining and shine a bit of truthful light on the subject…thank you for taking the time to contribute…

  23. Steve Reid says:

    The fact of the matter however it is spun is that 5mm fell on a track that has not received rain for weeks. The friction is that 5mm caused a race meeting to be abandoned. Durbanville being abandoned today because of heavy overnight rain is understandable and will not cause any of the keyboard warriors to whine. No Titch – lets call a spade a spade.

  24. George Croucher says:

    What a lot of posters are missing was that the Vet was in total agreeance with the riders that the track was hazardous and not only a danger to the riders but the horses as well, or dont the voiceless equine athletes have a right to be protected?? sadly there are far too many folk who cant wait for a reason to have a go at the industry and tell us all how terribly its been run and that the entire system is flawed etc etc etc…to them i say…move on to what you perceive to be greener pastures you clearly wont miss us and the industry certainly wont miss you or stop whining purely for the sake of having a vent…

  25. MichaelMGJ says:

    I donot live in Pietermaritzburg so cannot verify how much rain fell in the 24 hours prior to the racemeeting or the previous 7 days. I am guided by the headline- 5mm of rain. How the track was cut up after a break in racing of 3 months astounds me!

    Also, I really don’t care whether they stop flat racing in the UK, they still race in winter much worse than this. They also race over jumps in winter, far more dangerous than the mild winters we have in SA.

    So Mr Jay as the spokesman for Scotsville racing can make all the excuses in the world , bottom line is after 5mm of rain, the meeting was abandoned. And for that I blame poor track maintenance and soft jockeys.

  26. George Croucher says:

    ED The Oaks will be run as the 9th race on Sunday 9th…the favorite Chitengo is under the care of Dennis Drier and is doing well Gav Lerena will be keeping her ticking over during the course of this week

    1. Editor says:

      Thanks George

  27. Jay August says:

    More reductive reasoning Michael. When facts interfere you always fall back on yet another straw man argument. Pity that because in your more lucid moments you are capable of better.

  28. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Investigating officer Mr Zack Attack would start with the mud on the bandages on Great Warrior,as one can clearly see in the pic above…How deep were they digging into surface in certain areas ? surely 5mm of rain could not have caused them to abandoned the balance of the meeting…I think we need answers from Graeme Hawkins and the track manager as soon as possible..pls don’t keep us the public waiting for weeks to get a answer…

  29. donald bradshaw says:

    Frankie , what happened on Saturday at Scottsville needs more than just answers , it needs an INDEPENDENT inquiry into how , why and the exact circumstances that lead to that race meeting being abandoned after only 5 m.m. of rain ?

    If anything 5 m.m. of rain or even 10 m.m. for that matter should have made for perfect going on a race course that has seen no rain in 3 months !

    The inquiry must be held against the backdrop of similiar situations being a recurring theme in K.Z.N. over the past few years which is a negative for the horse racing industry , despite Titch wanting us to believe this is a normal business practice !

  30. Pieta Louw. says:

    Hi Cecil, naand se.

    My p6 vir more gaan min of meer so lyk:

    Klein %…..Die pap is dun.

  31. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hello Pieta. Dankie, ek gaan ook so paar Rande waag op daai nrs van jou, my current form is Maar bra k😅k.

    Poly, nie my fav nie, but no ticket no chance. Hoop jy het opgestock met n paar Drankies, Cyril caught me off side.

    Goeie Nag out Maat 👍

  32. Pieta Louw. says:

    But nobody will be held accountable for the poor maintenance…..we all know who will have to take the blame…ask CNN…..TRUMP……easy way out.


    Cecil, you are not stirring, not by a long chalk.

    Gold Circle management, track managers, directors whatever… call them out!

    The track crumbled, 100 % correct, only after 5mm !

    When the public/punters read that, it’s then easy then to say, “Those bloody jockeys are soft”.

    That isn’t fair-play on them. What’s even more unfair is that the racing administrators can then ‘worm their way out’ of these scenarios by indirectly transferring the spotlight to jockey protests.

    We all like to compare scenarios to the ‘olden days’.

    If this happened in the 80’s, the track manager and/or director would have received a minutes notice and his car impounded.

  34. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hi William, spot on….

    I have asked the Editor to move my post to the updated article ( I am quoting Eric Denman ) Eric D makes valid points, just don’t agree with the Jockey one’s …

    What gives me serious heartburn, of soos die boere se, so
    k*k smaak in die mond is that the so-called Bosses sit back, read and listen how the jockeys take the flack…

    Agree 110% ( like Naas says ) so true your last paragraph

    I am saying this again Horse racing bosses are no different to Govt, mostly non performers, well paid EN klou vas soos k** aan n wol kombers
    ( Well paid jobs are scarce I suppose )

    Pieta, hoe is daai vir goeie Afr 😅

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