FARMS and smallholdings have a rate of maturing, their owners will tell you. It depends on how the land is shaped and developed over time, and relies on sources of capital and other resources invested on the property.
Trainer Clinton Binda runs his Dreamstar Racing from an 8-acre smallholding near Lanseria, a beautiful part of the world near Gary Player’s old Blair Atholl farm (the now prestigious golf estate), with a beautiful view over the Magalies Mountain Range.
Binda bought the property almost 20 years ago and over the years he’s turned it into a well-equipped and respected racing centre with a (soon to be) 800m sand track, paddocks, two horse walkers and even a home-built hydro therapy unit.
Binda told: “We’re almost done upgrading the track, we’ve widened it to start so horses can work more comfortably alongside each other, and now we’re lengthening it by almost 300m. The track has a bend and a 10 degree camber, so we can do speed work and get the runners very fit.
“The sand comes from the sand mine at the Vaal Racecourse, and we have built-in irrigation and draining. When it rains heavily the water runs down the camber, but we harrow the track with a plate to keep it firm and usable at most times.”
Innovatively, Binda has used old telephone poles to build paddocks and track railings, obtained after Telkom replaced the old pole-system with fibre. “I drove to the Free State to buy some of the poles, but it was worthwhile. Several years ago Telkom started doing away with the old equipment because of cable and pole theft, so there was an opportunity there.”
Binda has a career best 42 winners (2015/16 ) to his name and with his facilities now taking excellent shape, he is looking forward to more winners and training horses of better quality.
He said: “I sent out a first-timer to win the other day, Look To The Sky, by Pathfork, the first R200,000 horse I have ever trained. My client Hollywood are starting to invest in better horses and that is to my benefit, one can do a lot more with horses in the R100,000 bracket and up. I look forward to that.
“I have had to work with cheapies and chuck-outs but we’ve done well. Whorly Whorly (R30,000) and Premier Show (R60,000) have won near R1-million between them.”