Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA
Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA

Leading owner Chris van Niekerk has welcomed the appointment of Colin Gordon to head up the new racing operator, 4Racing.

The opinion of Van Niekerk, whose horses have won two Durban July Handicaps, is respected throughout the sport.

“What 4Racing is getting is a person with an in-depth knowledge of the racing industry, its players and its politics and who is himself passionate about the sport,” said Van Niekerk.

“I first met Colin some 20 years ago while he was at the Racing Association and also through the National Trust. It showed him to be an honest and hardworking man. He will undoubtedly have grown as a person and businessman since those early days,” added Van Niekerk.

In his career in racing, 50-year-old Gordon has certainly been involved in a number of areas of the sport, including handicapping, training and breeder liaison, programming and export and import committees.

He worked as deputy manager of racing control at the Jockey Club (now the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa, or NHRA) before taking up the position of GM at the Racing Association. 

In 2017, he took up the position of racing manager to successful and charismatic businessperson Chris Gerber, who died of a heart attack in October 2018.

Gordon said in an interview: “My different positions have resulted in me getting to know a little of how this complex industry works.

“I have met a great many of its colourful participants and repeatedly learnt the crucial lesson of how all these people in racing are reliant on each other, be it owners, grooms, trainers, jockeys or breeders.”

Last Friday Gordon used his first media statement on behalf of 4Racing revealing that the new operator will sponsor Champions Day at Turffontein on May 1.

The statement read: “We are extremely excited to launch 4Racing at a race meeting that sees the equine champions congregate at Turffontein for the climax of the Highveld Summer/Autumn feature race season.

“While there are still a number of regulatory approvals to be conducted before the Phumelela transaction is completed, we believe the time is right to come to the party by sponsoring this major race meeting in the interests of the stakeholders in the sport.”

Susan Rowett, chair of the NHRA, has pointed out that 4Racing has not yet been licensed as a racing operator by the horseracing authority.

However, owners and trainers will be delighted with the increase in prize money on May 1, which will see the stake for the main race — the grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge — increase from R500,000 to R750,000. The grade 1 Computaform Sprint over 1,000m will be increased from R500,000 to R750,000.

Nevertheless, Steve Reid, in a post on the Sporting Post website, makes a valid point when stating that — even with the increase — the stake for the Champions Challenge is 81.75% less than the R4m purse in 2019.


Turffontein Tuesday

1st Race: (7) Magic Choice (3) Night King (10) Pick A Lily (8) Lil Wahoo

2nd Race: (3) Smelting (1) Quick Run (4) Stormy Weathers (10) Looking Hot

3rd Race: (9) Masaaken (10) Munabadha (2) Royal Mazarin (1) Break Free

4th Race: (2) Arizona Lady (5) Super Duper (1) Rizzoli (6) Shikuru

5th Race: (1) Fasinada (2) Love Posy (3) Just Magic (4) Amber Light

6th Race: (7) Pomelo (2) Rainy Season (8) Nitro Girl (3) Star Effect

7th Race: (1) Fort Snow (3) Sheltering Sky (2) Rose Willow (9) Stunning Kitten

8th Race: (1) West Coast Lover (2) Ra’ed (7) Regent’s Park (3) Valencia

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