‘Why Change Woolavington Conditions?’ – Owner

No communication or consultation

It came as a total shock not only to me but to every trainer and racing pundit I’ve chatted to this week when the news broke that the premier KZN Gr1 Woolavington  for 3 year fillies was no longer limited to the younger generation but an open race to older filly’s and mares under ‘weight for age’ conditions.

Owner Mark Campbell writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that he quickly grabbed the programme to check if the colts equivalent for 3 year olds, The Daily News, had also been butchered. Thankfully sanity prevails and at this stage it remains a race for 3 year olds only ! But for how long ?

Gold Circle recently advised that the conditions of the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 have been changed with immediate effect.

Formerly restricted to three-year-old fillies, the Woolavington 2000 will now be open to all Fillies and Mares at Weight-for-Age.

The change in conditions was approved by the Asian Pattern Committee (APC) and Gold Circle Racing Committee and the race will retain its Grade 1 status.

“The Woolavington 2000 was struggling to maintain the levels required by the APC for a Grade 1 3yo fillies’ race and we are confident that the depth of quality will improve significantly now that it is open to all fillies and mares,” said Gold Circle Racing Executive Raf Sheik.

“In addition, the change of conditions adds a significant Grade 1 opportunity for older fillies and mares over a middle distance and fills a gap in our Champions Season programme.”


Mark Campbell writes that the fact that no communication had been publicized prior to this change has left the majority of the racing fraternity puzzled and bewildered.

KZN have one , yes one 3 Year old filly’s Grade 1 race in the champions season.

This race offers a very unique opportunity for the best 3 year old fillies from our three main racing jurisdictions to compete against each other for the undisputed title of the best 3 year old filly in the country over 2000m.

Surely it is one of the big drawcards of the KZN championS season with past winners including the likes of Promisefrommyheart, Igugu, Smart Call , Bela-Bela, Summer Pudding and War Of Athena, to name but a few !

Clearly the new weight for age conditions at the end of May suit the highest rated older Fillies and Mares and there’s no doubt any 3 year old filly that does take her place in this race will do so under sufferance all but putting paid to their chances of winning or placing, in what, as I suggest already, should have been a race showcasing the top 3 year old fairer sex crop of this generation .

The KZN feature race programme has been set and was published at the end of the 2022 racing season some eight months ago,  so for this change to happen at the eleventh  hour is surely unacceptable.

Trainers and owners have planned meticulously and placed horses with this race in mind for many months now. And breeders scramble over each other to grab a 3 year old filly that’s placed or had the fortune of winning this illustrious race!

Who has the right to chop and change Gr1 races at the eleventh hour without consulting with trainers , owners and breeders on a transparent forum. Certainly makes me think there is something far more sinister going on!

Sadly with racing in the doldrums and struggling to stay afloat, massive decisions taken without engaging the stakeholders is nothing short of a disgrace.

We the owners go to the sales and spend copious amounts of money with a dream of winning a Gr1 race. Yet a few in this racing dictatorship feel they can make these huge decisions without openly consulting the people that count – the owners, trainers and breeders!

Clearly the bar has been set , decisions will be made without any engagement and without the people who give racing a heart beat . Sadly no lessons have been learnt from the previous racing administrators that took our beloved sport to the brink of failure. Racing is, and will be for a very long time on ICU.

Continue to make such big decisions with a total disregard to the owners, trainers and breeders and I’ve no doubt you will all be scrabbling for your UIF applications sooner rather than later !

I am left bemused and bewildered!

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