Joey's Blog

Who would have thought the few comments I made about the tracks would have stirred up such a storm.  It was lovely to see the KZN jockeys make some form of stand regarding it by refusing to be interviewed but sadly this will be to the detriment of the whole industry. It is time KZN realises that their actions have a reaction that affects everyone involved in racing. I am not going to harp on about this as so much has been written on social media and to the Sporting Post website itself.  It is lovely to see that so many people care: people who are in the industry, on the outskirts of the industry, gamble on the industry or just love the game. 

Although I have said I will not harp on about the KZN track issues, a couple of things need to be mentioned. Gold Circle chose to bring up the fact that certain jockeys were invited to a meeting. I am disappointed that these jockey’s memories are so short that they forgot about the meeting and did not attend. However, as one jockey says, once reminded of the meeting he made an effort but was late and was told to go home. That has to be disappointing in its own right. The fact that something so serious can then be brushed under the carpet is extremely disappointing. It needs readdressing and the meeting rescheduled. I cannot also skip the fact that the three trainers (or for want of a better word, three Gold Circle “stooges”) invited to the meeting are employed by Gold Circle. Some would say that Craig Eudey is not and he and I have no beef at present. But he came up to me last year and shook  my hand and told me that he worked “under Tony”  so I can only assume he has a vested interest. Whatever the facts, they can surely do better than this? Not regarding training skills: these three are all accomplished horsemen in their own right but surely they are not independent? One cannot help thinking the hierarchy has just made fools of themselves regarding this issue. 

I do not get paid for writing for the Sporting Post; these are my personal points of view in relation to what I see going on around me. I get no pleasure from being negative about these issues but the condition of the tracks in KZN has been up for debate for quite some time. Greyville has had more than five or six years to sort this out and have probably made five or six attempts. To still be poking around in the dark is simply not good enough.   There must also be a question mark regarding the big meeting coming up at Scottsville.  I want to see good tracks, good racing and a safe surface for my horses. Surely not too much to ask?  

 It is no good ignoring the issues and taking the ostrich approach and sticking one’s head in the sand. Surely there is plenty of advantage to be gained at sitting around a table and sorting it out? It is the sensible and best solution.  Why are people so afraid of doing this? But it happens year after year and no one gets down to actually sorting out the issues and coming up with solutions.  I do not see the sense in denying there is a problem. There is nothing to be gained by it. Address the issues with the industry leaders and get it done and dusted once and for all.  There is so much to be gained for everyone involved.   

Improvement, having the best and being the best, is what we all strive for.  This obviously has not happened here or we would not be moaning – year in and year out – about the same issues.  I am sure we are all tired of hearing about the condition of the KZN tracks and surely it is time for this “information black out and closed shop attitude” to change or stop completely.  We all want things to improve and surely now is the time to do it, with so many top racing brains in the province.  I am in total agreement with everything Vaughan Marshall has said regarding racing surfaces and the fact that the track manager, Ralph  Smout, is a great brain and a hard worker.  However, something is going awry somewhere along the way.  It is time to sort this out. I really do not want to be writing these same comments on next year’s blog! 

Saturday’s racing saw some great finishes and close results – good for some and poor for others. It looked as if it was going to be a howling tail wind but ended up just being strong and not howling - but it certainly makes a difference to the results.     No one likes to see Grade 1 races being decided in the Stipes boardroom - possibly a little bit too much interference on the day and one has to ask oneself if it is a coincidence or not?  

Like everywhere else, we are extremely dusty up here at Summerveld and like most of the country, unable to do much about it with the water shortages.  Colonel Avo says the Cape has finally found winter and has become icy cold in the  mornings. However, he is still churning out the juvenile winners so well done to him.  It is going to be a tough choice as to who we run in the Langerman next week. 

No surprise the Euro Championship soccer thugs were out and about and I really could not care if England or Russia gets sent home.  It is pathetic and spoils what should be a memorable tournament for all in what is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. 

It is with terrible sadness I read about what has gone on in Orlando, Florida and it makes no sense at all. But when one has gun rules like that, what else can one expect?  It is perhaps made more ridiculous by Sky News’ focus on the coverage of the Oscar Pistorius case. Maybe shootings are such a regular occurrence down there in the south that scores of people being gunned down is no longer such a newsworthy event and Oscar Pistorius is getting more coverage. What a world we live in. 

And on those thoughts, this is your Captain signing off on DAY 243, 14th June.









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