Phumalela%20Logo%20LR.jpgPHUMELELA Gaming and Leisure announced on Thursday, 5 December a stakes increase across the board for racing in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape, effective 1 January 2008.

It was also announced that all Grade1 races in Gauteng will carry a minimum stake of R1 million, effective from the same date.

The Steinhoff International Summer Cup will now be worth R2 million, the Dingaans R500 000 and the Emerald Cup R600 000. These races do not fall in the current financial year.

Graeme HawkinsGraeme HawkinsTop-level stakes in Gauteng have been increased by a massive 26% and while the bottom-level stakes are only up by 8%, Phumelela Racing Executive Graeme Hawkins commented: “It all evens out in the long run. For the past several years we have concentrated on improving stakes for Maiden Plates and Lower Division races. This is an appropriate time to up the stake for the feature events, a race like the Horse Chestnut Stakes, for example, has been on R600 000 for the last four years. We will again look at the bottom races next year.’’

Stakes in the Eastern Cape have been increased by an average 12% and, coinciding with the new training centre at Fairview, is sure to inject more energy into an already positive market.

Stakes in Kimberley will be upped by a staggering 19%, a surprise to some, but Hawkins explained: “Two other factors need to be considered here. To make things more competitive, we will be paying visiting trainers an appearance fee of R600 per horse, about half of the cost of transporting the horse to Kimberley.”

“Also the winners of the Pinnacle Handicaps will be penalized by 1kg per win, which will give horses in the middle and the bottom of the handicap a better chance to win. We are confident that all these factors will make racing in the region more competitive which will be conducive to a better perception of Kimberley racing and increased interest.”

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