A whole lotta loving at Turffontein Racecourse
“If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” Bob Hope
Well thankfully we cannot be diagnosed with this as yesterday’s most charitable day was a resounding success.
It was a day of firsts!
A crop less race – a race where jockeys used sheer riding brilliance to get their steeds across the line. This is the first time in the history of horseracing that a fully fledged race, with odds attached to it, ridden by professional jockeys but without the use of a crop was staged. It was won by a first timer- Hawwaam for the Mike de Kock yard. Then there was the pioneering event from the reigning monarch of Monaco, Prince Albert II along with business associates who sponsored the Monaco Million Maiden Sprint which saw 18 maiden’s race over 1160m for R1 million Rand in Race 3. The Paul Matchett trained Bye Bye Rocket was triumphant and went away with the 1st prize of R500, 000, not a measly stake cheque to earn as a first win. For those not familiar with the lingo, a maiden horse is a horse that has yet to win a race, but with stakes paid up to 10th place, there were many smiling connections in the stands. Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco are no strangers to the South African racing industry and Princess Charlene hosts her own elegant race day every year at Turffontein Racecourse.
It was the parade ring ahead of the Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile that could have given the New York Fashion Week a run for its money. Elegantly dressed ladies and ultra suave gents complimented our equine athletes as they all descended on the parade ring. But it was the 16 horses that truly set the course alight as they jumped from the 1600m mark. Now we were not sure if the people were shouting for the horse or for the celebrity attached to the horse, but it didn’t really matter as everyone is a winner in this race. The 2018 Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile was deservedly top weighted Coral Fever who has had a phenomenal campaign this season and is trained by Robbie Sage for Colin Bird- true stalwarts of the game.
We love honouring the Charities that are close to our hearts and this is really the real reason that we attend the day. Every single one represented is one hundred percent deserving and it makes for the most exciting finish to a race when you see everyone shouting. Khangezile Primary accompanied by Pallance Dladla, a familiar face on our TV screens, won the big cheque of R150, 000. There is no doubt that these funds will go a long way in improving and assisting the school in their future endeavours.
The horse racing industry is passionate about ensuring that even after their careers, our steeds are well taken care of and this couldn’t be done without the assistance of our long time allies- the Highveld Horse Care Unit. They assist in rehoming and ensuring that these magnificent and key role players in our industry are cared for as they move into their second careers. Therefore it goes without saying that they were also on the receiving end of a cheque.
It didn’t matter whether you were young or old, a truly outstanding day was had by all under blue skies and sunshine- as always Jozi knows how to deliver.
If you missed this spectacular event, don’t forget that the G-Bet’s Summer Cup is taking place on the 1st December at Turffontein Racecourse.