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Posted 2021-11-25 23:07:42  
Vaal's Weather Debacles

It's up in flames or rather lightning or is it bad weather. Take your pick for the Vaal at this time of the year and the same could be said for Johannesburg as well. It's a no win for the operators at the moment at the weather gods aren't playing ball with the racing gods with meeting being abandoned incomplete almost every week.

Vaal had another few races abandoned at the backend of the meeting on Thursday as the weather intervened and the meeting was called off three races short of the end. The storm that hit the Free State course was not going away and it was decided to call an end of the wait.

For the operators, they have tried their hand at an early start with 11:40am being that time. There are a number of issues that need to be considered and illogical debate will stand no one in good stead for future meetings. Let's look at the logic and facts.

It is important to note that jockeys are riding work in the morning and some finish only after 9:30am giving them little time to reach the Vaal after a change and freshen up. Obviously the Vaal based jockeys won't have that problem.

The next issue is the turnovers. As it it relatively untried in terms of both an international and local scenario, it is still too early to tell if the turnovers will be impacted in any large way. The only solice is that if you give the punter the race he is likely to bet on it no matter the start time. But earlier that 11am could be considered difficult for many including owners and trainers, who are also coincidenly rounding off their morning strings at home. Some residing as far as Randjiesfontein have to make the trek to the Vaal. That's a long 2 hour drive and the earlier Joburg traffic conditions aren't ideal.

Also note that lost races aren't tragic for the operators. A lost race is actually a saving for them as the show is expensive to put on and by all accounts, they lose staging meetings. Most especially lower turnover weekday meetings. The flip side is that they want to keep all of the trainers, owners and international audience on side, so staging the full meetings brings bigger issues than saving a few rand.

In all, there is no other solution in terms of earlier times. The 11am is as good as it will get unless there is consensus, planning and analysis from all the various components to agree to stage 'brunch' meeting.  

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