Mike de Kock’s assistant trainer Alson Ndzilana, who was previously the long-time assistant of Joey Ramsden, has acquired his own trainer’s license and will be opening his yard at Randjesfontein on 1 May. Alson is now looking for owners to join his yard.
Alson, who hails from Umtata, has a life-time of experience in horses and more than thirty years experience in the racing industry. He grew up riding horses and his father, Jackson, worked at Summerveld for Steve Benton.
Alson said a life in horseracing appealed to him from the beginning because as a young horseman he grew to love horses and still does today. He said his two chief inspirations had been Ramsden and De Kock.
Veteran horseman James Goodman, who has assisted and mentored Alson for the last few years, said he had sought a sponsor about two years ago to set up a trainer from a previously disadvantaged background, knowing how enormous the expenses were to set up oneself, not to mention the red tape involved and the difficulty of attracting owners.
The initial sponsor pulled out and Goodman said: “I’ve been traipsing up and down driveways” looking for a new sponsor and Betway had “really been my last port of call, I had exhausted all other avenues.”
Betway, who has Mike de Kock as an ambassador, saw the potential and threw their weight behind project Alson with financial support and administrative assistance.
De Kock said: “This is a tremendous gesture by Betway, because they are setting Alson up for success. He is not set up to fail. Let me tell you, Alson knows how to train horses, and that he can focus on that and not on paying the water and lights will make a major difference.
“There have been really good, previously disadvantaged horsemen who have tried to start up but failed because they spend their time looking to pay bills. And then they don’t make it. Alson will have a proper platform to start from. His horsemanship and talent as a trainer is beyond doubt.”
Goodman added: “Betway saw the value. 4Racing then organised stables at Randjesfontein and they’ve done a fantastic job fixing up the stables. Then the CMH motor group have said they will provide Alson with a vehicle. All three of these sponsors were equally important.”
James added, “We have reached a point where the stable doors are open, but we now need to close a horse in that box behind them. So now we have to go out and canvas owners. We’ve had many really good owners who said they would support this initiative and hopefully we can get horses in the yard that have some potential, so Alson can show what he can do with them.”
He continued, “We will run his background business. Make sure all the vat is done, the groom’s wages are paid, the groom’s contracts, the admin, the signage.”
He added, “We are going to have functions at the stables and be able to look after owners the way they should be looked after.”
James added, “I think Alson is a better trainer than me, so I’m certainly not going to interfere with him as far as training goes!”
Owners, staff and equipment would be the order of business for Alson in the near future.
Alson said, “Each and every owner when they come to my yard, the door is open.”
Alson Ndzilana has tasted success at the top, but now he wants to achieve it under his own name and many who have seen him at work will be as confident as he is that he can do it. -Extracts from Turf Talk.