Gold Circle
Gold Circle

Gold Circle Sailing

(Image : Gold Circle / Reflections)


Whilst many in the racing community might have thought the more appropriate word for Gold Circle in its present circumstances, might be “drowning”, the reality, according to a recent circular from the chairman, is that there’s is a bright shaft of light at the end of the tunnel. De-merger talks with the Cape chapter are apparently well advanced, and the notion of Cape racing being absorbed into Phumelela is a growing reality. It seems this is a sensible rationalisation in the way racing is conducted in this country, as Phumelela is short of a flagship race of the ilk of the J&B Met and the Cape’s outstanding mid-summer programme, and has the resources to shore up the flagging betting infrastructure in the Western Cape, and to stimulate a return to profitability in that region.

KZN on the other hand, being a much smaller brother, doesn’t have those resources, and while it’s apparent from the circular that KZN is a thriving entity in its own right, it’s unable to carry the losses which Cape racing, it says, is bringing upon it.

The net situation appears to be this:

  • Standing alone, KZN racing would have posted a profit of the order of R17million in the present financial year.
  • Cape racing is apparently costing it something of the same order every year. The figures may sound simplistic, but its what the circular says.
  • Clairwood racecourse is costing in the region of R10-12million every year to run.
  • There is an offer of R370 million on the table for Clairwood, and while in due course, that might not be an overly attractive sum of money for this strategically placed asset, given that it is situated alongside what the government intends in the way of a deep sea port at the old Durban International airport, at this time, its an enormous sum of money, and one which racing can well make use of.

It would seem then, that for the time being, the separation from the Cape is in both regions interests, and that the KZN remnant of Gold Circle can look forward to prosperous times in the years ahead.

While it seems obvious that there is good sense in having just one racing operator in the country in the longer term, there is merit in Gold Circle restoring its balance sheet in the shorter term, and hopefully arriving at a sensible arrangement for the rationalisation of racing’s operations in the longer term, as long as racing itself is the prime beneficiary of that rationalisation. Racing fans all need to be vigilant in this process, in ensuring that this outcome is achieved for our sport.