SA horseracing moves quickly to schedule race meetings

  • Greyville in Durban will be the launch pad for the long-awaited return - 63 days after the last meeting - on Monday.
  • All race cards will be available in due course, as will online betting odds.
  • Strict rules and protocols have been put in place that will require adhering to.

Horseracing in the country has wasted no time in scheduling race meetings after being given the green light to go racing as South Africa prepares to move to Covid-19 lockdown level 3 from Monday, 1 June.

READ | Top SA trainer 'thrilled' as horseracing given green light to go racing

Greyville Polytrack in Durban will be the launch pad for the long-awaited return - 63 days after the last meeting - on Monday.

On Tuesday racing will take place at the Vaal, while on Wednesday Kenilworth in Cape Town will see action.

Thursday will see racing back at the Vaal, while Fairview in Port Elizabeth will see races on Friday.

According to a press release by Phumelela Gaming & Leisure Ltd, on Saturday, 6 June Turffontein will host three feature races from Champions Day originally scheduled for 4 April - the Grade 1 SA Derby over 2 450m, the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1 600m and the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks over 2 450m.

The other races postponed from Champions Day will be run at Turffontein on Saturday, 27 June, including the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2 000m, the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint over 1 000m and the Grade 1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes over 1 600m.

Other feature races that day comprise the Grade 2 SA Nursery, SA Fillies Nursery and Camellia Stakes (all over 1 160m) and the Grade 3 Gold Bowl for marathon runners over 3 200m.

The Champions Season in KwaZulu-Natal will kick off on Sunday, 7 June on the Greyville turf track with the running of the Grade 2 Independent On Sunday Drill Hall Stakes over 1 400m plus the Grade 2 WSB Guineas and WSB Fillies Guineas, both over 1 600m.

The Grade 2 Post Merchants over 1 200m will be run at Scottsville on Saturday, 13 June alongside the Grade 3 Poinsettia Stakes for fillies and mares over the same distance, as well as two Grade 3 races for juveniles over 1 100m - the Godolphin Barb Stakes and Strelitzia Stakes for fillies.

Racing returns to Greyville on Saturday, 20 June when three feature events are carded, notably the Grade 2 WSB Greyville 1900.

Two of the most prolific races for three-year-olds, the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and Woolavington 2000 for fillies, will be run at Greyville on Sunday, 28 June. Both races are over 2 000m and there’s a third Grade 1 event on the card in the Gold Challenge over 1 600m.

Add those to the three Grade 1 races at Turffontein a day earlier and the stage is set for a sensational weekend of racing.

Kenilworth will stage the Grade 3 Variety Club Stakes over 1 600m on Tuesday, 9 June alongside three Listed races - the Sweet Chestnut Stakes over 1 600m, and the Somerset 1200 and Perfect Promise Sprint, both over 1 200m.

And there’s also good racing ahead at Fairview in Port Elizabeth. There’s the Listed East Cape Nursery over 1 200m and 1 000m Milkwood Stakes on Friday, 5 June with the Listed East Cape Breeders Stakes (1 200m) and Lady’s Slipper Stakes (1 400m) scheduled for Friday, 26 June.

Gold Circle announced earlier that their Champions Season showpiece, the Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July over 2 200m, will be run on Saturday, 25 July. The meeting usually takes place on the first Saturday of July, but was moved to the final Saturday of the month due to the coronavirus lockdown.

All race cards will be available in due course, as will online betting odds.

Strict rules and protocols have been put in place that will require adhering to. They include:

- The field sizes will be restricted to 12 runners per race with the exception of all Pattern races in which 14 runners will be allowed

- Jockeys will be restricted to ride in the region of their choice and cannot move in between provinces. They will be allowed to make ONE move prior to the commencement of racing

- The adjusted minimum riding weight in handicap races shall remain at 54kg

- Horses moving between regions shall NOT be allowed unless a horse is moving to another province on a permanent basis as per the regulations of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

- All Horse Transport Companies must have the necessary Permits to move horses between the training centres and race courses

- The last race must be run not later than 16:45

- Only essential staff will be permitted on-course and spectators and owners will not be able to attend

- Persons with comorbidities shall not be able to attend

- Compiled by Garrin Lambley

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