All eyes on Kimberley

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KwaZulu-Natal-based trainer Kom Naidoo has found a happy hunting ground at Flamingo Park on their biggest race day and will be raiding Kimberley again on Saturday to try to cash in.

Naidoo has a remarkable knack of knowing which horses perform well on the sand and this year sends 11 runners to the Northern Cape to try to pick up some of the big stake money on offer.

There are a number of highlights on the day, headed by three feature races, the R200,000 RA Flamingo Mile, the R135,000 RA Sprint over 1000m and the R110,000 Department of Economic Development and Tourism Diamond Stayers over 2200m. All three are Non-Black Type events.

Trainers have come from all over the country with runners for this 10-race programme, including Jacques Strydom from Port Elizabeth and the likes of Stephen Moffatt, Clinton Binda and Stanley Ferreira from Johannesburg.

The other “first” this year is the introduction of a race for work riders. These guys work for their respective trainers and ride most of the work on the horses. Most of the time, all a jockey has to do is turn up and ride. He gets the public accolades if the horse wins while the work riders get little credit.

The Work Riders’ Programme is well supported by Phumelela Gaming and Leisure as well as the Racing Association and is particularly active on the Highveld and in the Western Cape. The first work riders’ races in the Eastern Cape started last year and it is a mission of all concerned to see the programme rolled out throughout the country over the next few years.

The programme is aimed at providing previously disadvantaged people the opportunity to undergo training in the sport so they can ride at a level equivalent to that of a professional jockey. Saturday’s race will see the riders getting the same prize money as fully qualified jockeys.

This Flamingo Park race meeting aims to introduce a new, high-quality experience to the Kimberley community and is an opportunity for Kimberley to raise its profile as a destination worth visiting.

Flamingo Park, which has the only authentic sand track in the country, aims to make it a multicultural and inclusive event, catering for the varying tastes of horseracing enthusiasts and other members of the Kimberley community.

For those who have not attended a race meeting it is an ideal chance to experience the excitement of the sport and enjoy a day packed with entertainment for all age groups and varying tastes.

In addition, 10 local entrepreneurs have been invited to promote youth businesses in the city and the province at large.

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