A list of horse racing tracks in South Africa. We have included descriptions of the courses to give you a bit more knowledge on the specifics of each track.
You can click on the name of the track below to expand the relevant sections.
Low number draws are a marked advantage over almost any distance and Durbanville has a tendency to produce course “specialists.”
The use of the false rail often dictates whether horses come home on the stands-side or along the inside rail.
Bowlers Way, Durbanville – Box 53073
The straight course (and therefore the run-in) is mostly downhill, which means that most races are run at a true pace.
Horses who race from well off the pace have every chance to give of their best.
High number draws hold a marked advantage in races run over the straight course, but barriers seem of little significance in races around the turn.
Fairview tends to be a slow-draining course and the going frequently remains soft or heavy for some time after a wet spell.Polytrack
A right handed all-weather polytrack with a circumference of about 1800m. All races have at least one bend, with races from 1400 to 1800m starting on the bend. The near bend, leading into the 450m home straight, has a slight camber to assist horses racing around it. The track came into operation in October 2013, and evidence of the effect of the draw will evolve with time – although there is the assumption that low numbers in the draw and/or early speed out of the starting gate may count as an advantage, especially in races over 1000m (see map).Draaifontein Rd, Greenbushes 6390, PE Box 7479 Newmarket, Port Elizabeth 6055
Start-to-finish winners are particularly common, especially on firm going in the winter months, and Kimberley is notorious for making course “specialists” even out of horses who have shown no ability at all on grass tracks elsewhere.
No 78 Boshoff Road, Kimberley 8300
Tel. (053) 843-0014 Fax. (053) 843-0013
The effect of a wide draw can be negated to some extent by the siting of the false rail, though, and horses making their run on the outside of the course often hold an advantage when the going is soft.
Polytrack (wax-coated mixture of silica sand and recycled synthetic fibers and rubber/pvc). 2000m inside of the existing triangular-shaped turf track with a 400m run-in. All races run clockwise round turn. Low draws preferred.
The ability to race handy on this surface appears to be an even greater advantage than that of the turf.
150 Avondale Road Greyville, Box 40 Durban 4000
Tel. (031) 309-4545 Fax. (031) 309-2553
The 1200m straight is the stiffest in the country, though.
A climb for the first 200m and another rise over the final 200m make this a real test of ability to stay1200m and horses who go fast early on almost invariably get caught wanting at the finish.
Horses who seem best over middle distances often do well in 1200m races at Kenilworth, especially when the winter going is soft or heavy.
Low number draws are generally favoured in sprints, but fields tend to split into two distinct groups when the going is heavy and outside barriers then enjoy a slight advantage.
Draws are of little importance around the turn, especially on the “new” course.
Rosmead Ave, Kenilworth 7708
Tel. (021) 762-7777 Fax. (021) 762-1919
With a downhill run to the about the 600m mark and a climb to the finish, 1200m races at Scottsville are usually run at a true pace from the start and horses who go too fast early almost invariably are found out by the climb to the finish.
Horses racing from off the pace usually do well in sprints at this track.
The effects of barrier draws in sprints is unpredictable, but high numbers are favoured when the going is soft.
Barrier draws seem of little importance when racing over 1600m and upwards.
Scottsville Racecourse, 45 New England Road, Pmb. Box 40
Tel. (033) 345-3405 Fax. (033) 394-1141
A right handed course with a circumference of about 2900m, the Vaal consists of two 1000m straights connected by fairly sharp bends.
The run-in of 1000m is the longest in the country, and the Vaal also has South Africa’s only 1600m straight course.
All races of up to a mile are run down the straight, which can be a real test both of a horse’s stamina and of a jockey’s judgement of pace.
Generally, outside draws hold an advantage on the straight course, especially when the going is soft, but in the winter months the two extremes appear equally favourable and fields tend to split into two distinct groups on either side of the course.
Draws are of little significance in races run around the turn.
Despite the length of the run-in, horses racing handy or in front frequently do well at the Vaal.
A right handed course with a 1000m straight course, with the 1000m start taking place at the top of the straight.
Races over 1200m start in the middle of the bend, those over 1400m right at the entrance of the bend.
Starting stalls for races over 1400m are positioned at an angle, to compensate for wide draws – as a result those drawn on the very inside could be cut off unless they jump very quickly. The sand track appears to put a premium on stamina, although making up ground from behind seems more difficult than it is on grass.
Horses racing handy or with the pace may have an advantage.
The sand track at the Vaal was inaugurated in August 2001. It is still too early to determine whether the track is biased towards the inside or outside, and whether there is an advantage to the draw.
Ascot Road, Viljoensdrif, 9580 Box 100 Bedworth Park 1940
Tel. (016) 457-1124 Fax. (016) 457-1113
The draw appears to be of little significance in sprints, but low barriers are favoured in races run over 1400m and 1600m.
Turf Club Street, Turffontein, 2190 Box 183 Johannesburg
Tel. (011) 681-1500 Fax. (011) 683-7116
The track is right handed, with a circumference of about 2400m, a long sweeping bend, and a homestraight of just over 500m. Races from 1400m to 1800m start on the back straight, races over 1200m and 1000m come out of separate chutes on the bend, similar to the Turffontein (old) outer course 1400m.
The effect of the draw seems likely to be significant in races over 1400m, where the start is close to the bend, and also in the sprints where runners are on the bend from the break.
Turffontein is widely considered to be one of the stiffest tracks in the country, because of a steady climb from the middle of the bend to the entrance of the final straight. The effect of this on the sprinters in 1000m and 1200m races might be significant, as they have to climb right at the beginning of their races. This could result in races run slowish early on, from which front runners will benefit in the shortish straight. Alternatively, if the pace is on from the start, a certain measure of stamina seems likely to be required to see out the distance.