The stark uncertainty of the current times is highlighted by the reality that the inaugural R550 000 Cape Yearling Sale Cup, to be run on Cape Derby day in February, is the only event published with a stake after the Cape Summer Season programme for December through to February 2021 was published earlier this week.
The Cape’s Sizzling Summer Season rivals the SA Champions Season on the East Coast as South Africa’s premier national clash of the best we have.
But the expense and logistics of travelling from afar means that it’s not a case of an impulsive grab the passport and let’s go take our chances.
Multiple SA National Champion Trainer Sean Tarry, a regular big-hitter in the Cape season for many years, told the Sporting Post earlier this week that he had adopted a wait and see approach before making his Cape travel arrangements.
“It’s a major cost to get there and set up shop. It also takes it out of our horses. We still have our Highveld Season up here in early 2021, so we need to do what is right by our horses and our owners,” confirmed Tarry.
In reference to revised quarantine protocols following an AHS outbreak recently, Tarry’s colleague Mike de Kock said, as history shows, that he had a lot of success raiding in the past but will only travel to the Cape if he feels this does not have a negative impact on his horses.
While Phumelela and Kenilworth Racing enjoyed minor race stakes increases for the months of September, October and November, the RA announced recently that they would no longer be in a position to subsidise stakes after 30 November.
In a communication this week, Racing Association CEO Natalie Turner, pictured below, said that they are very positive about the future and welcome the renewed energy and enthusiasm displayed by the MOD team.
“We are like minded in our determination to get racing back on track and share the sentiment that together, the sport of horse racing can thrive once again. The RA believes that racing is moving in the right direction and we are confident that Stakes will return to more reasonable levels in all of our regions.”
That’s well and good but the ‘renewed enthusiasm and energy’ has not translated into anything that we can think of in the public domain.
And time is not on our side – owners are very nervous and largely in the dark if we consider the questions we are being asked weekly.
The move by World Sports Betting this week to step in and lift the Summer Cup Stake to R1 million was the best news owners have had in six months.
The latest Phumelela Business Rescue update is a lot of words – read it here
It makes no sense to leave the big season stakes information announcement to the last minute. There is either money or there isn’t money, surely? What difference will a matter of weeks make?
In the process they are extinguishing any hype and destroying the prospect of vital outside participation in a season of high-class racing that incorporates some of our greatest races, including the Queen’s Plate and the Met.
And what about majors like the Met? Now called the Cape Met and without a sponsor.
So what happens now? Just bite your nails and wait.