Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S
Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S

SA racing will follow the lead of Ireland and Scotland and stage the sport behind closed doors from Tuesday March 17.

After meetings between Phumelela Gaming & Leisure, Gold Circle, Kenilworth Racing, the Racing Association, the National Horseracing Authority and the Thorougbred Horseracing Trust, it was unanimously agreed to the following protocols and procedures:

  1. From March 17 all race meetings will be closed to the public until further notice. The Johannesburg Prawn Festival and Klawervlei Raceday are cancelled, but the respective meetings will take place.
  2. Access control to racecourses are to be strictly adhered to and facilities for participants limited.
  3. Sanitisation measures are to be put in place.
  4. All nonracing events such as conferences, hosted at various racecourses across the country, will be cancelled with immediate effect.
  5. Off-course totes will be limited to under 100 people.

Fixtures in Ireland and Scotland are already taking place without spectators and the British Horseracing Authority may follow suit later this week.

Martin Cruddance, CEO of Arena Racing Company, said: “We are right now following the current government advice, but I think it is safe to say that it’s possible we won’t race again in front of a crowd until the end of June.”

Chris Wright, a leading owner in the UK, said: “There is a real risk of racing being abandoned for months if we, as an industry, do not act immediately and decisively.”

The Azzie stable has a progressive staying filly in four-year-old Fife, who bids to notch her third win of the season when she takes on nine rivals in the fifth race at the Vaal on Tuesday. The daughter of Silvano has done this column proud as she has rewarded backers twice at odds of 13-2 in her last two wins. Unfortunately, bookies are now aware to her talent and have priced her up as the 11-10 favourite for this 2,800m contest.

With apprentice Cole Dicken reducing Fife’s weight to just 50kg, it means the Azzie inmate will be receiving 10kg from Gary Alexander’s runner Master And Man. The son of Await The Dawn has more than rewarded his connections as they bought him  for R80,000 and he has earned more than R360,000 to date. The five-year-old should earn another cheque, but seems unlikely to beat Fife.

Another Azzie runner who could perform well is Magic Duke, who appeals as a good each-way wager in the second race. The son of Duke Of Marmalade made a pleasing debut at Turffontein and will have benefited from that experience.

GI Joe, placed in each of his last five starts, will have his supporters and his latest effort suggested he will appreciate the step up in distance.

Nine-year-old Greasepaint continues to defy his advancing years and it is a feather in the cap of trainer Roy Magner that the gelding is bidding to land a hat-trick on Tuesday. He runs in the sixth race where yet another Azzie inmate, Palace Assembly, looks like his biggest danger.


1st Race: (1) Untamed Tiger (6) Mount Everest (2) Numberninetynine (3) Bravo One

2nd Race: (16) Magic Duke (1) G I Joe (2) Ideal Wolff (4) Eppagilia

3rd Race: (4) Wishonaire (3) Lightoftheunicorn (2) Grey Flyer (1) Artscape

4th Race: (5) Emerald Bay (8) Alicante (10) Pink (1) Ever Fair

5th Race: (5) Fife (1) Master And Man (3) Palace Green (4) Gold Griffin

6th Race: (10) Palace Assembly (5) Isphan (9) Greasepaint (12) Galactic Warrior

7th Race: (2) Circle Of Latitude (3) Soul Of Wit (8) Loralei (4) Elusive Force

8th Race: (2) Tigermil (7) Midnight Top (8) Piccadilly Square (9) Fly North

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