THE Grade 2 Emerald Cup will be run as part of the Vaal’s Thursday meeting, on September 27, after hail and heavy rain forced the last three races on Saturday’s card to be called off.
Overnight storms in the Gauteng area cleared early on Saturday and the Vaal’s biggest meeting of the year started under clear skies – with a bumper crowd of many thousands enjoying the supporting musical entertainment.
Several supporting feature races were completed, but by mid-afternoon bouts of lightning, hail and rain were forcing delays.
The Emerald Cup field was in the parade ring when a lightning warning sent the runners back to the holding boxes. Conditions improved enough to allow the horses to go to the 1450m start. But, as they ringed before loading, the heavens opened and the participants headed back to safety.
A quick look at the waterlogged finishing stretch by an inspection team, including representatives of the jockeys, trainers, owners and operators, was enough to convince everyone that racing would be dangerous.
The R600 000 Emerald Cup, Africa’s richest race on sand, will be added to Thursday’s programme – along with the Banyana Handicap (Listed) and the Vaal River Handicap (Non-Black Type), the concluding two races on Saturday’s programme.