Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

A number of owners and trainers have aligned themselves with the DA shadow minister of labour, Michael Bagraim, in his statement regarding the targeting of horse racing by the department of labour.

Bagraim expressed his opinion on businesslive.co.za saying: “I recently had the displeasure of attending a parliamentary labour portfolio committee meeting on national blitz inspections on horse racing.

“It is bewildering why this industry [horse racing] was targeted and took up an enormous amount of time of the department of labour’s inspectorate.”

What has really incensed sections of the racing industry is the statement by MP Sharome van Schalkwyk, ANC whip and labour portfolio committee member. “This [horse racing] is a multimillion-rand industry which does not have uniformity in minimum standards or sectoral determinations for the hundreds of grooms who sweat day and night, weekends and public holidays to enrich owners and trainers,” she said.

Leading owner Brian Burnard posted on the Sporting Post website that “the government should rather stop talking utter bull … and fund racing”.

Trainer Louis Goosen posted that “owners are the keepers of the grooms and have no guarantee of any returns on their investment. The majority do only one thing — pay in.”

Another post on the same website asked, “why doesn’t the government of the day and all the unhappy people who know they make millions of rand each day on taxes from horse racing subsidise the grooms and/or training yards if they think it is not done well enough to their liking?”

Meanwhile, the Vaal hosts a 11-race programme on Thursday and it is unusual for a mid-week meeting to have such a large number of races.

Gavin Lerena, who rides Cascapedia in Saturday’s R2m G-Bets Summer Cup at Turffontein, will be out to add to his seasonal total and should go close on Strawberry Pavlova in the fourth race.

St John Gray’s filly boasts a win and four places in her five starts this term and the only concern is that she has had a number of hard races.

Folk Dance is a classy filly representing Paul Peter’s stable and the claim of apprentice Nathan Klink will reduce her weight to 58.5kg. Another with claims in this small field is Mark Khan’s mount, Pool Party. Lake Kinneret is another possible St John Gray-Lerena winner in the first leg of the jackpot, but the four year-old faces four tough rivals in Sail For Joy, Danza, Nordic Rebel and Missouri.

Following three recent placings, Orpheus will be a warm order to get back on the winning trail when he takes on just five rivals in the 10th race. This inmate of the Azzie stable may have most to fear from Geoff Woodruff’s runner Top Rank.

Vaal selections:

1st Race: (8) Dickens (9) Dry Your Eyes (15) Jacko Boy (7) Censorius

2nd Race: (4) Golden Spiral (2) Sun Up (12) Green Dragon (1) Tidal Tussle

3rd Race: (4) Ice Eater (6) Global Exposure (3) Sea Dance (7) Henry James

4th Race: (4) Strawberry Pavlova (3) Pool Party (1) Folk Dance (2) Rouge Allure

5th Race: (3) Nordic Rebel (1) Sail For Joy (2) Lake Kinneret (4) Danza

6th Race: (5) Elegancia (2) Samarra (3) Silvez (4) Tricia

7th Race: (8) Summer Afternoon (9) Elbi (4) Scoop (2) Royal Cavalier

8th Race: (6) Sweet Red (8) Solemn Promise (1) Cashel Palace (2) Traffic Jam

9th Race: (1) Mr Cuddles (14) Two Of Us (4) Wild Fire (2) Noble Emblem

10th Race: (1) Orpheus (2) Top Rank (6) Major Return (4) Gone With The Wind

11th Race: (6) She Rocks (1) Matanuska (5) Favourite Model (8) I’m The One