Emerald Cup race meeting on sand a soaring success (gallery)
Thousands of racing fans braved the searing heat at the Vaal Racecourse on Saturday to attend the Emerald Cup race meeting and whatever the state of their pockets at the end of the day, everybody went home with a smile on their faces.
Not only were there 10 high-quality races, including the R1-million Emerald Cup which was run over 1 450m on the sand track, but visitors were treated to a concert by some of South Africa’s leading musical artists – Daniel Baron, Lonehill Estate, Lloyd Cele, Matthew Mole and DJ Vin Deysel.
The Emerald Cup once again had the crowd on their feet as Tommy Gun, ridden by Fanie Chambers and trained by Corne Spies, kept rolling in front to hold off the attention of joint top weight Uncle Tommy, with Killua Castle in third and Across The Ice in fourth.
There were, as usual, the hard-luck stories and one of the victims was 15-10 favourite Jet Jamboree who slipped as the gates opened and after that he battled to get into the race. Under the circumstances the Dominic Zaki-trained runner did well to finish fifth, although he was beaten by six lengths in the end.
Bettors clearly had a high regard for the meeting and that reflected in the turnover. “We were some 9% over budget for the meeting and more than 15% up on last year,” said Clyde Basel, marketing and sales executive for Phumelela.
“But what is more important at the end of the day was how the public reacted so positively to the meeting and that so many were prepared to defy the 34°C temperature to travel to the Vaal.
“It augurs well for the future of horseracing in the country.”
Winners of the competition:
> Jan Koster (Vereeniging)
> Jennifer Ibbitt (Queenswood)
> Marianna de Beer (Germiston)
> Alfred Tshoagong (Soweto)
> Patricia Tlharihan Mantosi (Soweto)
> Shulanda Oliphant (Bloemfontein)
> Mothibi Masekoa (Randfontein)
> Monika Paschek (Linksfield)