Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Green light for night racing at Turfontein

Extract from Sportingweb:
The appeal against environmental approval for the installation of floodlights at Turffontein has been dismissed by the Gauteng MEC for Agriculture, Conservation & Environment and it is hoped to hold the first night meeting at the track as early as October this year. Phumelela CEO Jim Tennant said the green light for night racing at Turffontein was “great news all round” for the horseracing industry. “Night racing at Turffontein means more races, more prize money and many exciting marketing opportunities,” said Tennant. “Installation of the lights will begin as soon as possible. The project team will have to be reassembled and the project will have to be costed again. “Construction should begin in the next six to eight weeks and it might be possible to have night racing by October. Obviously this will depend on the availability of the various contractors.” Larry Wainstein, chairman of the Racing Association that represents racehorse owners in Phumelela regions, also reacted enthusiastically to the news that night racing at Turffontein is back on track. “It’s fantastic news for racing,” he said. “Nearly 20 race meetings have been lost as a result of the delay in introducing night racing at Turffontein, which has cost the industry tens of millions of rand. Night racing has always been popular with racegoers and the investment Phumelela has made in improving facilities at Turffontein will enhance the entire experience of racing under lights.” Horseracing and tote betting company Phumelela had hoped to launch night racing at Turffontein last October, but the installation of lights had to be put on ice following the appeal against Phumelela being authorised to hold night races at the venue. Turffontein has been the home of horseracing in Johannesburg virtually since the city’s birth back in 1886 and is ideally suited to night racing because of its combination of private boxes and numerous trackside venues. Major races run at the venue include the R3.5-million Gommagomma Challenge, Africa’s richest race, the R2-million Steinhoff International Summer Cup and the R1.2-million SA Classic, Africa’s richest events for three-year-olds.