“ONE always has to expect the unexpected, especially in horseracing,” says Graeme Hawkins, Gold Circle’s Racing and Marketing Executive. “But here’s hoping for an action-packed two and a half hours of racing this Friday!”
In a world first, Twenty-20 racing comes to Greyville racecourse this Friday evening. A quick-fire succession of eight races will be run at 20-minute intervals – and, like its cricketing equivalent, the action will be fast and furious.
Normally, racemeetings allow 35 minutes between each race. This gives jockeys time to weigh in after a race, and then don new silks for their next ride. Meanwhile, trainers and their assistants are busy saddling up and walking their horses into the parade ring. Jockeys then weigh out, mount up, and canter down to the start of the next race.
Eyes on the clock! Looking forward to Friday’s first-ever ‘quick-fire’ racemeeting are South African Jockey Academy apprentices (L to R) Luyolo Mxothwa, Tristan Godden, Nicholas Patel, Divan Neethling, and Akshay Balloo.
This Friday, the 20-minute interval between races requires a brand new plan.
To ensure a fast turnaround and no delays between races, there will be two ‘teams’ of jockeys: while team ‘A’ is out racing, team ‘B’ will be mounting up.
Pro’s and Apprentices
Of additional public interest is that one team will be made of professional jockeys, while the other will all be apprentices. There will be four races for each team, racing alternately to complete Friday’s eight-race programme. But, while the riders will have it easy, trainers and their assistants will need to scurry if they have runners to saddle in consecutive races. The action in the paddock and saddling enclosures should make for entertaining viewing!
“Trainers will be under pressure to ensure the meeting goes off as planned,” says Hawkins. “But with their full support, we’re looking forward to a racemeeting designed to keep everyone – including the fans! – on their toes.”
Cricket has success-fully embraced new formats of the game and, taking a leaf out of cricket’s book – as an experiment – this Friday’s ‘quick-fire’ meeting was planned.
The KZN cricket union has also bought into the Twenty-20 racing idea, and members of the Sunfoil Dolphins team will be on hand this Friday night at Greyville to sign autographs in the Kidzone during a mini-cricket coaching session.
Jay Naidoo of the KZN cricket union comments: “When T20 cricket was first introduced, many followers of the game were skeptical. Now it’s an established format. It’s interesting that the first 20-20 provincial cricket competition took place in Durban – and now the first Twenty-20 racemeeting is also happening here.”
Autograph-signing by Sunfoil Dolphins players
A highlight for young cricket fans at Greyville Racecourse this Friday will be their moment to meet Sunfoil Dolphins players Cameron Delport and Divan van Wyk. This will all be part of a KFC mini-cricket activation, taking place on the lawns alongside the Kidzone. Activities will include professional coaching, an autograph-signing session from 18h00 – 19h00, and the chance for kids to sign up as members of the Dolphins cricket club.