SATURDAY’s Flamingo Park Raceday will be highly competitive this year as more out-of-province trainers than ever before will be bringing their horses to the Kimberley track to compete for decent stakes.
The meeting has gained a reputation as a fantastic family day out and Kimberley residents are sure to be flocking to the course, so those travelling from further afield can expect a festive on-course atmosphere on top of good-quality racing.
It is Kimberley’s biggest racing weekend and commenced with the Racing Association’s Northern Cape Awards on Friday night, where, beside awards presentations, the horses in the RA Flamingo Mile were “auctioned off” with a percentage of the takings being contributed to a local charity.
The meeting is headlined by the R200,000 RA Flamingo Mile supported by the R135,000 World Sports Betting Sprint over 1000m and the R100,000 RA Diamond Stayers over 2200m.
Eight-time South African champion trainer Mike de Kock will be bringing his Brazilian-bred entire Toro Rosso from Randjesfontein to compete in the Flamingo Mile. Toro Rosso will carry top weight of 62kg and be ridden by Callan Murray from draw No 6. This horse achieved his 98 merit rating through a nine-length win over 1450m on the Vaal Sand exactly a year ago and will relish a return to this surface. He has been a bit disappointing on turf, although he did win his last start over 1400m off a merit rating of 92.
Triple Crown-winning trainer Mike Azzie will bring a decent dual-surface sprinter Isphan from Randjesfontein for the WSB Sprint.
Gary Alexander, for many years a leading Turffontein-based trainer, brings Commodore Al and Oriental Blue to run in the Diamond Stayers.
Gauteng-based private trainer Clinton Binda brings a number of horses to run on the day, including sprinter Night Editor, who will be 3kg under sufferance in the WSB Sprint but who has won two of his three starts since being stepped down to 1000m.
Randjesfontein trainer Candice Dawson, who was once assistant to five-time SA champion trainer Geoff Woodruff, brings Sundari to run in the Flamingo Mile. He will relish the return to a sand surface as two of his three career wins were on the Vaal sand.
Vaal-based Louis Goosen has three runners, including decent sprinters Varbration and Vincente in the WSB Sprint, while veteran Randjesfontein trainer Spike Lerena raids with Cumberland in the Flamingo Mile.
Summerveld trainer Kumaran Naidoo always supports this meeting and this year brings a handful of horses, including Letdagoodtimesroll and Royalsecuritypower for the WSB Sprint, while Royal Zulu Guard is reserve for the Flamingo Mile.
Vaal-based Corne Spies is probably the most travelled trainer in the country and will be represented by Harmston Herald in the WSB Sprint, while Speedy Suzy is a reserve for that race.
The Vaal’s Coenie de Beer and Johan Janse van Vuuren as well as Randjesfontein’s Paul Matchett, will bring a horse each to run in respective non-feature events on the day.