14 May 2016
The first race meeting on the new turf track at the Vaal will be held on Thursday 19 May next week and trials on the new surface suggest that the track is going to be a winner.
The new track will be known as the Vaal Classic track and replaces the sand track, which unfortunately was dogged by a range of opinions and criticisms down the years. With little prospect of ever resolving the issues to the satisfaction of all horsemen, coupled with doubts if the track was environmentally or commercially sustainable into the future, Phumelela decided to replace the sand track with turf after first consulting with a cross section of trainers.
Work began last November and everything has gone according to plan. Trials have been held on the new surface and senior jockey Sherman Brown is among those impressed with the track.
He said: “The track was very nice, very even all over the place. I sat behind a horse and didn’t get much kick back, pulled out to the middle of the course and the horse really enjoyed the going.”
The configuration of the new track is identical to the previous sand track. It’s a right-handed course with a 2800m circumference and a 1000m straight course. Races over 1000m are down the straight with 1200m races starting in the middle of the bend and 1450m races at the entrance of the bend.
Phumelela Horseracing Executive Clyde Basel said: “Not many turf tracks in SA have a 1000m run-in, giving every runner ample opportunity to get into a winning position. Many thanks to the track management team for working long hours to get the Classic track ready. We plan to stage about 20 race meetings from now to the end of the year on the new track.”