Sands of Time: November 1993

20 years Ago

October 31 – November 6

Stakes in the Western Cape return to “normal”, after they had been decreased earlier in the year when the local raceclubs found themselves under extreme financial pressure.

PE’s “official racecard” Computaform joins the disgraceful confusion of the missing Grooms Race (see diary entry of August 8-14), when the winning formline is now officially “missing” from the record at winner Andy’s Queen’s return to “real” racing, in a maiden plate at Fairview. Computaform’s well informed pre-race comment for Andy’s Queen is: “yet to show”. With punters (who have short memories at the best of times) now thoroughly in the dark, Andy’s Queen starts at 12/1 in a field of twenty runners. Coming with a late rattle, the filly is beaten a short head, paying R8.50 for a place.

Apparently, grooms and amateur races in PE fall outside of the “normal” programme of Jockey Club approved races. Winners incur no penalties and prize money is minimal. What it amounts to is that thanks to really silly Jockey Club rulings these races are simply treated as if they never happened. And, of course, clubs and publications give not a thought to the poor punter.

Phantom Earl gelding Phantom Saga gives the best performance of his career to win the Gr2 Computaform Stakes from a 15 draw. The win is yet another recent success for broodmare sire Northern Drive.
IGN gives live coverage to the Breeders Cup, screened at a modest number of venues around the country, including a host of Tattersalls and Kenilworth racecourse. Biggest upset comes in the $3 million Breeders Cup Classic, won by French challenger Arcangues who scores at odds of 133/1. A crowd of over 50.000 watches the Cup races (which is only 10.000 more than you’ll find on a big day in Mauritius). The Pick Seven, run nationally and on all Breeders Cup races, pays $1.6 million thanks to the French outsider.



November 7 – 13

South African racing history is made when the R400.000 Gr1 November Handicap, run over a mile at Gosforth Park, is limited to just 12 runners. Previously 16 horses were allowed to participate. “Several horses have been disadvantaged by the draw in the past and we believe it’s in the best interests of the race and the runners to reduce the impact of the draw. With a maximum of 12 runners every runner should have an equal chance”. This according to Tony Proudlock, chairman of Gosforth Park marketing and promotions committee. At time of final acceptance, 38 horses are left in, which necessitates elimination of 26 horses (twelve of these run in the R100.000 consolation handicap on the same day).

The race, postponed from Saturday to Monday because of a waterlogged track, is won by racemare Please Be True, who brings her stakes earnings to just under R1 million. Please Be True gets the better of topweighted Dominof in a rousing finish by just under a length, with longtime leader Lacroix third and 22/10 favourite Dancing Duel fourth.

Tony Proudlock

Tony Proudlock

The R100.000 November Handicap Consolation falls to Wild Cocktail, who is disqualified after causing interference first to Bluff and Golden Prerogative, then to second finisher Grey Angel. The latter is awarded the race, which is run in a time 3 seconds slower than the main event.

A horse disappears from the course at Carlisle, UK, where it is due to run. The police is called and the horse discovered in a horsebox some way from the racecourse. The horse is the subject of a dispute over ownership. Its name? Crime Passionel.

Irish visitor Vintage Crop overcomes the effects of a 30 hour, 10.000 mile flight to win the AUS$2 million Melbourne Cup. A 16/1 shot, the horse is ridden by Michael Kinane and trained by Dermot Weld. Vintage Crop travelled to Australia in a specially designed container, which is fully enclosed and sealed to prevent disease carrying insects found in the Middle East to come into contact with horses (the Middle East route via Dubai and

Vintage Crop and Dermot Weld

Vintage Crop and Dermot Weld

Hong Kong is the most direct one). Inside the container, which is carried on a normal Cathay Pacific 747 scheduled freighter, a sophisticated electrical system controls temperature, humidity and airflow, which greatly reduces travel stress. Vintage Crop, who won the Irish St Leger seven weeks before the Melbourne Cup, was away from home for less than a month to collect his œ600.000 share of the prizemoney.

1993 Fillies Guineas - Hispanola


Natal trainer Mike Airey scores an unusual double when his Aegean Boy wins the R41.000 feature race over 1900m at Greyville, shortly before his Likely Prospect does the same in the R75.000 Transvaal feature over 1700m at Gosforth Park.

Michael Airey

Michael Airey


November 21 – 27

The two clubs racing in the Cape hold special general meetings at which members are asked to decide on amalgamation of the two clubs. The members at Milnerton are too few in number to make for the required quorum and the decision is postponed until a new meeting can be called. At Kenilworth, 102 of the 743 (!) members turn up, many of them defiantly claiming they didn’t have enough information to be able to take such a grave decision. Some feel that the CPA (Cape Provincial Administration) is blackmailing the clubs into merging. After lengthy (and predictably fruitless) debate, a secret ballot rather than a show of hands is insisted on by members. The merger is supported by a vote of 92 to 10.

Betting opens early for the J&B Met with Dancing Duel and Take A Walk 3/1 joint favourites, from Sapieha at 7/1 and Eli’s Truth and Vesta at twelve’s.

Darren Beadman

Darren Beadman

In Hong Kong, Australian jockey Darren Beadman is suspended for nine months for not letting a horse run on its merits.

At Aintree, home of the 1993 Grand National disaster, all is forgiven when a new hi-tech starting gate is introduced at the beginning of the new National Hunt season. The new gate operates with a more powerful spring than the old one, releasing the remote controlled tapes some five times faster. There now are two recall flagmen (instead of one) to keep their eye on the starter’s signals, and come 9 April 1994 there should be no problems.

At the AGM of the Pietermaritzburg Turf Club, seven-time chairman Pip Davies retires. His place is taken by Alan McEwen.

1992 Administrator's Challenge - Jewel of Asia

Jewel of Asia

Jewel Of Asia runs a fine Guineas Trial when he wins the Gr2 Administrator’s Challenge Cup over a mile at Kenilworth by a short head from favourite Crystal’s Garter. Cape Administrator Kobus Meiring, who is on hand to present the Cup, is announced by the Club chairman as “our well-known Administrator Mr Kobie Coetzee.. “. The chairman is not alone in his confusion – with every other feature event in the country now carrying the prefix “Administrator’s ..” this-or-that, racing’s historians are tearing their hair out in their attempts to keep track of who’s who and what’s what.

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