Joey Ramsden has decided against moving to Singapore to train. He will now presumably stay put at his Milnerton base and concentrate on trying to build up the stable to its former glories.
Ramsden, who has gone out of his way to be helpful to this writer in the past, has not answered my calls or text messages in recent weeks and yesterday was no exception. But Singapore Turf Club executive Zenna Teo emailed: “We would like to inform you that Mr Joey Ramsden has decided not to train in Singapore.”
In April the Singapore Turf Club took Ramsden and the rest of South African racing by surprise when it issued a press release to say that he was one of three new trainers being allocated boxes. Apparently he had only made inquiries and had not told his owners but he said he would fly over and have a look. He was soon singing the country’s praises and pointing to the advantages of its racing compared to that in South Africa, although he did say what a complex process it was to set up there.
With the possible exception of Charles Laird (who retired), Ramsden was the trainer who suffered most when Markus Jooste decided to quit racing in the immediate aftermath of the Steinhoff financial scandal. His numbers slumped from well over 100 to the extent that he moved to a smaller yard and the majority of his horses were not of the same class as the Jooste ones. He has really battled in the first few months of this season and has had only two winners.
But Singapore’s loss is South Africa’s gain. Ramsden is one of the few trainers in this country to have won Group 1 races overseas and at home he was won more than 1 750 races including 26 Grade 1s, notably the 2016 Vodacom Durban July with The Conglomerate. He also has the personality to attract owners and a world-wide reputation that is likely to attract further patronage from overseas.
He has recently updated his website to publicise an attacking policy that extends countrywide, saying: “The yard regularly raids Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. With the recent success of the Johannesburg stable we are looking to make that yard a permanent fixture and, with a 10% stakes winners to winners strike rate, we believe our results speak for themselves.”
By Michael Clower