Vaal Hole – Who Is Accountable?

Starting stalls moved to avoid danger

The old debate of whether the National Horseracing Authority or the racing operator is responsible for a pre-meeting track inspection has been raised again after a hole was randomly detected on the Vaal track on Thursday afternoon.

It was reported prior to the 2400m fifth race that a false start was called by the starter with regard to Earth Shake.

A file pic of the Vaal surface

The Stipes state that thereafter a hole was detected at approximately the 2200m on the inside of the track.

Phumelela track staff attended to it and in order to avoid this area, the stalls were repositioned on the outside of the track and the horses reloaded. This caused a long delay.

We were given assurances after incidents some years ago that the track manager walks the track prior to every South African meeting.

Interestingly, the Hong Kong Jockey Club inspect their track between all races.

There was no indication in the Vaal Stipes Report that an investigation would be opened into the incident.

So life goes on and no corrective action is taken.

An experienced trainer said at the time of a similar incident in 2019.

“We may regard ourselves as a first world racing jurisdiction but we are in reality closer to third world. We need the Australians out here to come and teach us the basics. And what about the knock-on effect of the delay in timetable and the potential reputational damage for SA racing in the eyes of international viewers?”

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