Greyville Racecourse - Home of the Vodacom Durban July
(Photo : Gameplan)
“Stakes in the Garden Province will be boosted on the 1st November,
by a not inconsiderable R10million.”
No doubt about it, the one South African racing jurisdiction in rude health, is Gold Circle. The conspirators behind their state of play are several, the windfall from the sale of Clairwood racecourse, the demerger with Western Cape racing, a genetically predisposed base of racing fans, and let’s not forget it, good management. It’s KZN’s “time” again, and a glance at what’s in the pipeline, it looks like their strategic spend has been well directed. While the attentions of others might occasionally be distracted, racing is Gold Circle’s only business, and they’re in the enviable position of being able to adopt a long view on where to spend their cash. Synthetic tracks, new floodlights and enhanced facilities are all about the sport, the horses and the customers, the fundamental ingredients of the game, which underwrites Gold Circle’s legacy not only for the present generation, but guarantees the longevity of the sport for the next one, and the next one, again.
On the other side of the balance sheet, CEO Michel Nairac reminded us in a recent conversation that his mandate was to stage race meetings, and to ensure the prize money was adequately endowed. That he’s put his money where his mouth is, is evident in the announcement that stakes in the Garden Province will be boosted on the 1st November, by a not inconsiderable R10million. While R1.5million will be dedicated to Graded Stakes, significantly, maiden races, the bread-and-butter of the game, are boosted by some 15% to R75,000. While it doesn’t apply to the big-hitters, a winning stake of R50,000 will just about take care of a year’s training fees in a smaller yard, a considerable fillip for the little owner and the little trainer, whose interests are often overlooked in a business dominated by big dosh.
Without wanting to sound parochial, it’s comforting to know that in a world of scarce resources and in an industry as competitive as ours, there’s a “little giant” down the road that’s chugging along very nicely, thank you.