Home » Racing & Sport » ‘July Was Amazing’

‘July Was Amazing’

Garrick Bergh says it was amazingly entertaining

The 2020 edition of the Durban July was an amazing event, although much of my amazement was prompted by some of the truly bizarre goings on that I witnessed from the comfort of my home.

Garrick Bergh writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag

Firstly – Congratulations to Snaith Racing for winning the race. It’s a hard race to win even when your yard has 27% of the final field.

It was also good to see a pacemaker employed; which appeared to result in an uncharacteristically ‘clean’ race with few, if any, runners able to cite misfortune in running as an excuse afterwards.

So on to the ‘amazing’ stuff :

It’s hard to imagine a local sporting event where so many words, so much viewing time and data was spent quite so fruitlessly. The winner could hardly be described as ‘hard to find’ yet the endless stream of earnest ‘experts’ that were paraded for our enlightenment during the week preceding the race managed, with remarkably few exceptions, to nail their colours to the wrong mast.

Let me be quick to add that I was well aligned with those who got it wrong although, in my defence, I will not back a horse in the July at a price shorter than 12/1 as a matter of habit.

So that ruled me out of backing Belgarion even had I wanted to. Which I didn’t.

Nevertheless I was well pleased with the performance of my pick It’s My Turn; who managed a creditable 5th place and briefly raised my hopes halfway down the straight that my 50/1 punt might actually deliver.

Then there was the Pick 6. I have not for many years supported the Tote as I am innately shy of bad service, dodgy dividend declarations and confiscatory takeouts. So their dividends are a mere curiosity to me.

But if ever you wanted a live example of ‘all the king’s horses and all the king’s men’ then that was the bet to go for on Saturday.

Somebody was very happy on Saturday night. My advice to that person – Never go near another racecourse again. You found the proverbial needle. It is unlikely you will find it again. Well done to you.

Early on in the afternoon I became aware that Hollywoodbets Greyville racing was being beamed on other Supersport channels. Yipee! At last I could watch racing in HD on my 82’ TV without feeling that I was being fed a picture with about as much quality as an 80’s porn video. That’s where the afternoon got truly ‘amazing’.

There was Neil Andrews soldiering on patiently with a studio assistant who, if her startled facial expressions and comments were any guide, made it pretty plain that she knew less than nothing about horse racing.

Let’s write that off to ‘diversity’ as long as we remember to drop another pretty, inexpert young thing into the next Soweto Derby preview; whom we make sure knows nothing about football and see how well that is received. It was equally apparent that Neil had no effective link with the course as he was mystified as to why there was a delay to the start of the July. Well planned broadcast, guys!

Of course – there had to be a delay and it had to be a spread shoe. Why not? South Africa is world class in ‘spreading shoes’. No other global racing jurisdiction comes even close.

So Greyville retained its enviable record for being unable to start its feature on time despite a gap of 40 minutes between the previous race and the July.

Note to the NHRA – a spread shoe should be an automatic scratching. Why? Because if you have seen a horse that was re-shoed at the start actually win then you have seen a relatively rare event.

But the real surprise was the other studio guest – none other than Mr Vee Moodley of the NHRA. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Mr Moodley was in full cry – dispensing all sorts of horse related advice to the viewers. For the small handful of viewers who might, like me, have found this just a little strange let’s draw a comparison :

If you were to wander into a casino and find the head of the Hawks dispensing gaming advice to all around him would you not find it a little inappropriate given the office he holds?

It’s not as if the NHRA is an efficient functioning regulator of racing. Far from it. They stagger from one foul up to the next whilst either ignoring or changing the rules as they go along.

With Vee supposedly in charge who, if Saturday is any guide, appears to find plenty of time to study form but not enough to run his regulatory body particularly well. Amazing.

Correct me if I am wrong but I am pretty sure that elsewhere in the world racing officials are specifically prohibited from conducting themselves in the manner which Mr Moodley seems to actually relish.

Not long thereafter we were then treated to Mr Graeme Hawkins – another racing personality who appears to wear a huge number of hats (for which I assume he is handsomely remunerated) yet could well be dubbed the ‘Teflon Man’ insofar as to ever fronting up and actually taking responsibility when anything goes pear shaped. (I recall a time when these functionaries actually performed their services for a personalised parking bay and free lunch on race days).

The recent cancellation of racing at Hollywoodbets Scottsville being a case in point. To date we wait with interest for the definitive enquiry…….

Mr Hawkins also appears to have plenty of time to analyse form, pedigrees and handicapping but rather spoiled his few minutes of air time with the following blooper : ‘…………..another bow to his string’.

Amazingly entertaining stuff.

  • Pics – kind courtesy of Candiese Lenferna

Have Your Say

Comments Policy
The Sporting Post encourages everyone to feel free to comment in the spirit of enlightening the topic being discussed, to add opinions or correct errors. All posts are accepted on the condition that The Sporting Post can at any time alter, correct or remove comments, either partially or entirely.

All posters are required to post under their real and verified names, you can adjust your display name on your account page or to send corrections privately to the Editor. The Sporting Post will not publish comments submitted anonymously or under pseudonyms.

The views of any individuals that are published are NOT necessarily the views of The Sporting Post.

9 comments on “‘July Was Amazing’

  1. Warren Blumenthal. says:

    A masterful and well written letter. I found it more entertaining than the racing on July day. In good satire the letter articulates the very essence of the state that horse racing is in. No one knows which hat is best to wear as they have so many. It’s time that everyone in horse racing that is employed in a position of authority is prohibited from wearing more than one hat.

    Vee Moodley needs to be sanctioned by the NHRA. He has a full time job as the CEO regulating horse racing in Southern Africa. He should not be giving his views on horses and their prospects of winning. The purpose of the NHRA is to show everyone that the NHRA is impartial and favours no-one. The NHRA lost all credibility when Vee Moodley started tipping to punters on Saturday. If his tips are wrong what else is wrong with the NHRA and his decisions. Employees of the NHRA cannot gambleles and Vee Moodley should have steered clear of this aspect of racing. Gambling and tipping has nothing to do with regulating horse racing. Vee Moodley loves the limelight to much. He could never have been doing his job as the CEO of the NHRA by being on SuperSport. He should have been at Turffontein in the office of the NHRA making sure everything was in order. I hope he did not receive any payment whether a cup of coffee or money from SuperSport for being on the show. In any other part of the racing world, Vee Moodley would have been given his marching orders by his superiors and an advert would have been in the sporting post requesting applications for his erstwhile position.

  2. Ray Singh says:

    What I find odd is that every other expert mentioned that the 2yr old features races on July day is known to frequently throw up long shots, So how difficult would it be to get a comment from each trainer in these 2 races. After the race we hear that it was very highly rated etc., but given the many hours of airtime allocated to the July card one has to wonder, of what real value is the majority of this.

    As far as using the massively larger than normal TV audience to promote horseracing or educate potential new customers in any meaningful way, Tellytrack delivered exactly what was expected.

  3. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Garrick 👍

    2 things. Big shots like the big days to be seen. Makes me think of the Blue light brigades on our sh*tty Natal roads. Man this makes these guys feel so important

    Ah, you mention my beloved Scottsville, off course we not gonna get feedback. Let’s blame it on the Cold winter and overnight dew… I did suggest to them in our local paper to get outside (professional) help in. True story

    Betting pools are up again, and everyone is just settling back into the old groove.

    Pieta, hoe se die boere – Alles is ballas

    On a different note, well done to all the winners on Sat day. The 2 yr old races caught me out, but next time I will play the fields😂 and then the favs will arrive. Oh, a small consolation, a local horse was the one upset. Atleast the CT and Egoli boys didn’t take all the Ntl monies.

    Good Night. Thanks to SP for all the lekker articles, and allowing more posts again.

  4. Dean Padayachee says:

    Good morning Ed. Can we get a comment from the NHA regarding the blackout of Borrowdale racing. No reasons have been furnished to us punters to date.

    Dean Padayachee

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Dean
      The only news release on this issue came from the MTC.
      A copy of our report on the Borrowdale blackout, as you call it, was forwarded to the NHRA and the operator.
      Why should they be accountable to the public or stakeholders?

  5. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Was the CEO considered an essential employee? Did the CEO perform official duties?

  6. Michael Jacobs says:

    I have to agree with Mr Bergh, how on earth can the head of the “policing” authority, be tipping on national tv? This defies all norms and standards! Him and his handicappers determine the weights and merit ratings of the horses, yet he goes on tv and starts tipping and selecting for the viewers? Mind-boggling!

    A few big personalities are allowed to ride roughshod over the industry, and nothing gets done about it!?

  7. FJC says:

    The July is great because it gives lessor horses like Belgarion a chance against the big guns. I was also happy that the race returned to its previous characteristic of being run at a fast pace. Those with stamina doubts like Vardy were found out!

  8. donald bradshaw says:

    The article that has been written in a fun entertaining manner by Garrick Bergh is out of the top draw and I agree with every point he made.

    The industries leaders would do well to convene a meeting around the points made in the article and address the issues that have been raised if they want the sport to thrive , prosper and grow ?

    But alas , I must discourage one and all to hold your breath !

Leave a Comment

‹ Previous

Monday Racing Magic

Next ›

Yanga Wins Back On Track Challenge