ROCK Cocktail’s joint-owner Larry Nestadt, a former Chairman of the National Horseracing Authority, has written an open letter to Graeme Hawkins of Gold Circle about his unhappiness with the 2013 Vodacom Durban July field. Hawkins is expected to respond soon to the big guns firing at him in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement of the 20 July runners.
You have single-handedly degraded the reputation of our Premier horse race to its lowest level in its illustrious history.
You override the principles of Grade 1 racing by inviting one and two time winners and horses with low merit ratings in favour of horses that have higher ratings, current form and are clearly superior In terms of the accepted merit rating system.
You ignore the advice of the professional handicappers whom you openly slate and whose advice you sorely fail to follow. They should surely have the final say in the selection of the field.
You clearly favour certain trainers and prejudice the racing public, sponsors and Gold Circle by allowing this controversy to continue.
In light of the afore mentioned, I feel it incumbent upon me to challenge the Grade 1 status of the Durban July. As far as I am aware, this is the only Grade 1 race where the racing operator selects the field. Clearly the current demeaning of the race to Carnival status cannot go unchallenged.