Moses Tembe. Picture: THULI DLAMINI
Moses Tembe. Picture: THULI DLAMINI

Moses Tembe, the new chair of Phumelela Gaming & Leisure, will be aware he is taking over a company in choppy waters but he has both the racing and business acumen to steer the ship into calmer ones.

Tembe is a former director and vice-chair of Gold Circle, which runs horse racing in KwaZulu-Natal. He has also held the position of president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce.

Monday’s Sens announcement to Phumelela shareholders states that “chair Bernard Kantor has retired with effect from January 21 after serving the board for the last 20 years. Moses Tembe, now serving as lead independent director, has been appointed chair of the board with immediate effect.”

Business Day reported in October that Tembe was to become the new chair, but erred in saying he would take up the appointment immediately. Kantor remained at the helm for another three months.

The Phumelela share price has taken a dive from a 52-week high of R13.25 to a low of R1.49. Late on Thursday afternoon, the share price was down 8.15% at R1.69.

On the racing front, the feature race at Turffontein on Saturday is the Sea Cottage Stakes — a race named after arguably SA’s most famous racehorse.

Sea Cottage, the first equine athlete inducted into the SA Hall of Fame in 2019, was shot before the running of the Durban July on June 10 1966. He was shot from a concrete shelter, which still exists today, while walking under the Blue Lagoon bridge.

With the bullet still lodged in his hindquarter, Sea Cottage contested the July a few weeks later, finishing fourth. A year later, he won the July — much to the delight of his legion of fans throughout the country.

Trainer Mike de Kock’s three-year-old Spero Optima has been priced up favourite for Saturday’s feature race at the city track, and a victory would be a boost for the stable ahead of next week’s Sun Met.

Hawwaam, unplaced behind Vardy in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, is favourite for the Cape’s premier race. Anton Marcus, who rides Hawwaam, resumes his partnership with Mohican in the Sea Cottage Stakes and his mount — with Snow Palace — rate the dangers to Spero Optima.

After a lean spell, Candice Dawson’s stable is firing again and the stable sent out three winners at the Vaal on Tuesday. Dawson should not return home empty-handed from Saturday’s Turffontein meeting as her eighth-race runner, Approach Control, rates a banker bet in the jackpot and Pick Six.

Marcus has been booked for Sean Tarry’s talented four-year-old Cirillo in the fourth race, in which his biggest threat is likely to be stablemate Tierra Del Fuego.

This is a competitive first leg of the Pick Six, with Geoff Woodruff’s runner Zouaves and Robbie Hill’s raider Camphoratus likely to be supported in the betting.

Woodruff saddles another fancied runner, Capitania, in the fifth race but he is likely to find Pool Party a tough opponent. Roy Magners runner has been knocking on the door for another win.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (4) Storm Commander (6) Golden Tune (14) Sunny Side Up (5) Able Surprise

2nd Race: (2) Double Hearts (4) Elusive Force (10) Roman Royalty (5) Dancinginthewind

3rd Race: (4) Lady Of Steel (2) Elusive Butterfly (3) Eightfold’s Lass (1) Pretty Ballerina

4th Race: (1) Cirillo (3) Tierra Del Fuego (2) Zouaves (4) Camphoratus

5th Race: (2) Pool Party (9) Capitania (6) Ouro (3) Nicky Noo

6th Race: (2) Anne Boleyn (7) Evening Rise (3) Madame Patrice (5) Encryption

7th Race: (1) Spero Optima (3) Snow Palace (5) Mohican (4) Green Laser

8th Race: (1) Approach Control (5) Risk Taker (6) Golden Belle (2) Al Borak

9th Race: (5) The Bosbok (4) Before Noon (6) Palace Green (7) Knight Owl