Met stake a casualty of stakes reduction
PUBLISHED: October 15, 2019
The other main features on February 1 are unchanged – with the two CTS sales races worth R5m each and the Majorca and Cape Flying…
The Sun Met is the biggest casualty in Phumelela’s stakes reductions programme with the value of the Cape Town showpiece dropping from R5 million to R3 million. It used to be run for R2.5 million but the stake was doubled in 2017.
The other main features on February 1 are unchanged – with the two CTS sales races worth R5m each and the Majorca and Cape Flying both remaining on R1 million – but the Western Cape Stayers and the Politician both drop R50 000 to R350 000 and R200 000 respectively in line with the reductions already known for Grade 2 and Grade 3 races.
The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on January 11 stays at R1.5 million and the Paddock Stakes on R1 million but the Peninsula Handicap and the Chairman’s Cup that day take R50 000 drops to R350 000 and R200 000.
The revamped Cape Derby meeting on February 22 – intended as a showpiece for the Asian Racing Conference – sees the Diadem and Prix Du Cap both taking R50 000 drops but the R1 Derby is untouched as is the Cape Nursey (R200 000) and the R150 000 Jet Master.
For many owners and trainers, though, it is the reductions across a broad sweep of maidens and handicaps that will be felt most. An ordinary maiden, for instance, will drop from R80 000 to R 70 000 at Kenilworth and Durbanville.
There are also cuts at the other Phumelela-administered courses – Turffontein, the Vaal, Fairview and Flamingo Park – with falling betting turnover to blame as well as the loss of the Gauteng Provincial Government levy on wining bets.
Interestingly there are no cuts planned – for the time being anyway – at the two Hollywoodbets-sponsored KZN courses Greyville and Scottsville even though many of their bread-and-butter races offer higher stakes than those in Cape Town.
BLOB Kenilworth Racing has reintroduced its Queen’s Plate loyalty programme. Racegoers who attend 12 meetings before January 10 will qualify for a free ticket at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate fixture worth R350.
Events officer Clinton Theys said: “They must register first – signing up is free – and collect a stamp each time they go racing. If they have 12 stamps they get a Lifestyle Village ticket for the two-day meeting, a free souvenir racecard and access to the after-party.”
By Michael Clower
Phumelela stakes reduced
PUBLISHED: October 15, 2019
More than half of the prize money at Phumelela tracks is derived from a set percentage of TAB tote turnover, which is governed by a stakes agreement…
Phumelela advises that due principally to a decline in TAB tote revenue in the 2018-19 racing season and the withholding of the Gauteng provincial levy, prize money at its racecourses will be reduced by around 13% from next month.
More than half of the prize money at Phumelela tracks is derived from a set percentage of TAB tote turnover, which is governed by a stakes agreement between the company and the Racing Association, which represents racehorse owners in Phumelela regions.
In terms of the agreed stakes formula, set percentages of other Phumelela revenue streams also flow directly into the prize-money pool. Total stakes for each racing season (1 August to 31 July) are mostly determined by the monies generated by this prize-money formula in the previous season.
The amount allocated for stakes in the first five months of each season is based on an estimate of the amount likely to be generated by the prize-money formula in the previous season. Once the figures have been finalised and audited, any adjustments needed to balance the estimated total to the actual total are applied to prize money in the last seven months of the season (January to July).
Prize money in the Western Cape is governed by an arrangement in terms of which total stakes are set at 26% of the combined net stakes pool in Phumelela regions.
After engaging with the Racing Association, Phumelela and Kenilworth Racing wish to advise stakeholders that prize money will be reduced with effect from 1 November 2019 in order to spread the impact across nine months of the season, rather than waiting for the audited total and only applying the reduction from January. Should the various audits, however, reveal a higher-than-expected total, stakes would be adjusted accordingly from January to July next year.
The stakes pool has been impacted by various factors, including declining TAB tote turnover and a negative return from fixed-odds operator Betting World. Added to that is the loss of the Gauteng Provincial Government levy on winning bets with fixed-odds operators, 30% of which used to flow to the stakes pool.
It should be noted that Phumelela is currently negotiating with the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Gauteng Gambling Board in an attempt to have its share of the levy reinstated. Simultaneously, Phumelela is in discussions with the Gauteng Gambling Board and fixed-odds operators to resolve the long-standing commercial dispute around the provision of Tellytrack.
The other major impact on prize money is that the stakes pool will not benefit from share dividends this year. Normally 80% of the share dividends accruing to the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust from its 26.7% shareholding in Phumelela are added to the stakes pool. This amounted to some R19 million for the 2017-18 financial years. But as a consequence of the collective negative factors impacting Phumelela’s profitability, no dividend will be paid for 2018-19.
The Racing Association, through its Stakes Committee members, have engaged with Phumelela and Kenilworth Racing and innovative ways of addressing the reduction in stakes have been agreed. Details are as follows:
* Reducing the number of races at midweek meetings to eight.
* Reducing stakes of selected major Grade 1 races, as well as the majority of Grade 2 and Grade 3 race so as to lessen the burden on minor-race stakes.
* Introducing different minor-race stakes levels in and out of season on the Highveld and in the Western Cape (the Highveld feature season runs from 1 October to the first Saturday in May, whilst the Western Cape feature season runs from 1 November to the end of February)
* Introducing a lower stakes level for minor races restricted to fillies and mares (with the exception of Maiden, Maiden Juvenile and Juvenile Plates) across all regions
Full details of the new stakes levels can be viewed on http://www.sahorseracing.co.za.
The Racing Association has also taken a decision to change the distribution of stakes in all races run in Phumelela regions (Highveld, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape). With effect from 1 November, the winning portion of the race stake will be reduced from 62.5% to 58% and redistributed to pay down to 10th place as follows:
6th to 10th 1% each
In the event of less than 10 starters, any stakes not allocated will be stockpiled for future distribution.
It is worth noting that as things stand the current stakes pot receives zero revenue from TAB tote (open) bets taken with fixed-odds operators. As an example, for every R1 million wagered on Pick 6s in the form of open bets, R75,000 is lost to the stakes’ pot. The magnitude of the lost revenue to prize money is highlighted by the National Gambling Board statistics for 2018. They show that R3.9 billion was wagered on horseracing on the tote versus R7.68 billion with fixed-odds operators, of which a substantial portion can be attributed to open bets.
Declining tote betting turnovers on horseracing are a trend facing many racing jurisdictions around the world and are by no means unique to South Africa. That said, Phumelela is totally committed to engaging with regulators and fixed-odds operators to find solutions for the issues that have impacted so negatively on its business and the sport of horseracing.
Puller leads KZN championship
PUBLISHED: October 15, 2019
He said, “We usually have a good run at the beginning of the season but I know how these things change and we don’t have the top horses…
Garth Puller leads the KZN trainer’s championship at this early stage of the season.
He said whilst he was always striving to improve and build his clientele he was realistic enough to admit he did not have the firepower yet to hang on to this lead.
He said, “We usually have a good run at the beginning of the season but I know how these things change and we don’t have the top horses to compete with the big yards in the Champions Season.”
The former jockey great has 68 horses at present although a lot of them are youngsters.
He has had 15 winners this season from 100 runners, so his strike rate is 15%.
Among the promising ones is the three-year-old Gimmethegreenlight filly Travelling Light, who won by 4,80 lengths on debut last season before finishing unplaced in the Grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship. She has had two starts since in a handicap over 1000m at Hollywoodbets Greyville for a narrow second and a win in a Graduation Plate over that same course and distance. Her merit rating is 99. She is currently resting on the farm after being given her African Horse Sickness vaccinations.
Puller said, “She is very fast and will be back in training in three weeks’ time.”
Puller’s long-striding four-year-old Jackson gelding Jack Of Hearts has won his last two starts over 1950m and 2200m respectively. The Jacksons are starting to shine throughout the country and Puller rates Jack Of Hearts “an improving stayer.”
His promising three-year-old colts Bay Tibbs (Bold Silvano) and Brass Bell (Pathfork) are both owned by Hong Kong residents and Puller expected them to soon be on their way overseas to Tony Millard’s yard.
Puller is hard working and arrives at Summerveld at 20 to four every morning and only leaves at half-past six in the evening.
He was known as a fine horseman during his riding years so it is not surprising he has become a good trainer.
Meanwhile, the nine times KZN champion trainer Dennis Drier is currently lacking in big race firepower and will only be sending a “low key” string down for the Cape Summer Of Champions season this year.
Drier is sure to make a bold bid for a tenth KZN championship, although he is currently only in fourth place with nine winners gained at a strike rate of 10,59%.
Dennis Bosch and Gavin Van Zyl are in joint second place on eleven winners apiece, achieved at a strike rate of 18,97% and 17,19% respectively.
Johan Janse van Vuuren is in joint-fourth place with Drier on nine winners.
Former KZN champion trainer Duncan Howells is in a rebuilding phase following the departure of his chief owner Dave McLean, but he has still managed to send out seven winners this season to put him in joint sixth place on the KZN log together with Alyson Wright.
Next on the log with six winners each are Tony Rivalland, Kumaran Naidoo, Dean Kannemeyer and Brett Crawford.
Drier and Howells have dominated the KZN championship over the last few years.
However, this season it looks to be more open, although Drier is still the overwhelming favourite to win it.
By David Thiselton
Head Honcho to catch them fresh
PUBLISHED: October 15, 2019
Head Honcho has not raced at the country course before and has not been seen since dropping back in the closing stages of the Vodacom Durban July…
Head Honcho should be able to get the better of Tap O’Noth in the clash of the titans in the TAB Telebet Pinnacle Stakes at Durbanville today.
The six-year-old, ridden this time by Richard Fourie, has not raced at the country course before and has not been seen since dropping back in the closing stages of the Vodacom Durban July. But he was good enough to take third in the Sun Met and on adjusted merit ratings he has 4.5kg in hand.
It is easy to picture him going off in front at a strong gallop and being difficult to peg back. “I think he will suit the course,” says Andre Nel. “I was really pleased with the way he went when he went there recently for a gallop.
“He is the type of horse that can run well fresh and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins but it is a prep run and I want to give him at least two of them before he goes for something like the Premier.”
Tap O’Noth, winner of the 2017 Cape Guineas, has not raced since the Met in January. “We gelded him and then sent him to the farm but he has come back a much better horse,” reports Vaughan Marshall. “He has been doing well and he galloped on the course with One World recently but whether he is quite sharp enough I am not sure.”
Nel has three others in the race but, while Kampala Campari is far from certain to run, he expects a good showing from Capoeira – “He is doing very well and I think he is worth watching.”
Most bookmakers had Head Honcho favourite at around 16-10 and Tap O’Noth on 7-2 yesterday morning but those odds will shorten considerably if Kampala Campari comes out. Man About Town is probably the pick of the remainder but it will be a surprise if he comes home in front.
Mr Cobbs has the form to change Candice Bass-Robinson’s luck in the Play Soccer 6 Maiden (race two) but Anthony Andrews’ mount has a difficult draw to overcome and preference is for Stormin Norman, the second of eight rides for S’Manga Khumalo.
Imperial Rage was the stable’s second string when going under by less than a neck to Veratrum early last month and the Justin Snaith runner may have come on enough to account for Lit in the Interbet.co.za Maiden (race six).
By Michael Clower
Durbanville Tuesday Tips and Race Previews
PUBLISHED: October 15, 2019
Durbanville Tuesday October 15 Tips and Race Previews by Warren Lenferna…
Durbanville Tuesday Tips and Race Previews by Warren Lenferna
Preview: TO DO RON RON (4) bumps a weak field and looks the right one. Gauteng based rider Sherman Brown gets the ride again! RYANAIR (5) debuted very well and then went off – she showed last time that she certainly still has something for her supporters and has to be respected again. ALL ABOUT SOPHIA (2) is a must for the quartet. (Warren Lenferna 4-5-2)
Preview: STORMIN NORMAN (3) has placed four times from five starts – he can go one better. MR COBBS (1) nearly caused an upset last time at odds of 30/1 – if he confirms that recent improvement, he can go close again and ULTERIOR MOTIVE (10) improved last time and is one for the shortlist – he more than likely has a lot more still to come. (Warren Lenferna 3-1-10)
Preview: BELLINGHAM BAY (4) gets the services again of red hot, in form rider Warren Kennedy and they look set to reel off the hat trick. SKIDOO (5) is running well and finished second to the first choice last time and is the exacta selection again. DJOCKOVIC (2) could be the value in the race and MISTER VARGUS (3) has obvious claims. (Warren Lenferna 4-5-2)
Preview: IKEBANA (1) gets the luxury of some weight off her back from apprentice Mbhele – they are drawn a bit wide but this mare brings solid form into the race and has therefore been made the firm first pick. DARK CRYSTAL (4) won at only the second time of asking and could go on to greater things – she is worth including and respecting. REBELS SPIRIT (6) has a bright place chance – she will notch up another win one of these days. (Warren Lenferna 1-4-6)
Preview: Many of these horses will be using this race as a stepping stone into the feature race season coming up so it makes it hard to assess who is fit and well and not but I will nevertheless try! TAP O NOTH (2) has not been seen since the Met but his yard has come back to form and he has ability – he surely has strong each way claims. CAPOEIRA (4) caught the eye in the Daily News 2000 in KZN last season and must be respected in this race and in the season too. THE SULTANS BAZAAR (7) has obviously relocated to the Cape for serious business and he showed in KZN that he is talented – do not ignore his chances here. (Warren Lenferna 2-4-7)
Preview: LATE AT NIGHT (3) won on debut and was far from disgraced second time out. He is nicely drawn and goes the mile for the first time which should suit – he is the first selection. I am expecting a lot more form this son of Soft Falling Rain. HEXATONIC (5) could be the value for the places and recent maiden winner DOUBLE THE FUN (4) could go close first time in open company. (Warren Lenferna 3-5-4)
Preview: IMPERIAL RAGE (2) is improving quickly and looks ready to score. LIT (7) showed huge improvement when kicking on strongly to finish a close second last time and he should not be a maiden for too much longer. He should enjoy every inch of the mile. PACIFIC RIM (3) has a quartet chance. (Warren Lenferna 2-7-3)
Preview: DYNASTIC LIGHT (9) ran an absolute cracker on debut when more than likely just needing the experience. She is well bred and well-drawn today and rates the one they all have to beat – she is my firm first choice and could be considered the banker on the card. MAYFERN (3) and HALLIBERRY (4) are consistent and again should be in the first three but they might all have to run some to beat Dynastic Light! (Warren Lenferna 9-3-4)