BORROWDALE PARK – ARE WE MISSING SOME TRICKS?

Zimbabwe only has one racecourse now – Borrowdale Park – but it is one of the best in Southern Africa. In addition to a 2700m course (turf) we have all the facilities. Some need TLC but we know what needs fixing and how to bring the crowds, and more owners and trainers, back. All that is needed is extra cash.

Do I think the racing community worldwide will rush to our rescue? Of course not – but are we missing some tricks?

I am fascinated by a recently published Facebook page – Kenya Horseracing – where appeals are made for financing an all-weather track, updating the stand, providing accommodation for visiting international jockeys, a casino, introducing hurdle races, as well as acquiring additional horses and trainers, and more.

At the same time the enterprising owner of the webpage is enthusiastically promoting Ngong racecourse and Kenyan racing while comparing costs of owning and racing horses in Kenya with costs in Britain. It would appear from Comments and Page Likes that he is generating quite a lot of initial interest in what he is offering.

A couple of things are not clear… such as… are the Ngong authorities actively involved in this initiative, and surely the amount of paperwork and red tape involved would be mind boggling. That said, promotion of racing on this continent is always welcome so the best of British luck and all that.

Back in the day there was some hurdle racing at Borrowdale Park – and at Ascot in Bulawayo. Stars of the show were Phil The Fluter, Emma O’Toole and Keith Chant, but I found it all rather nerve-wracking.

Racing in Zimbabwe has managed to keep its head just above water, so far, without much needed and significant injections of money. Amazing, considering the economic difficulties Zimbabwe has faced for years. However, the pool of horses, owners and trainers is sadly diminished, and we dream of bringing Borrowdale Park’s glory days back.

A vibrant racecourse boosts employment within the racing industry and it also benefits suppliers and other associated businesses.

When one considers the vast recent expenditures in strap-cashed Zimbabwe into agriculture and other ventures…seemingly without much accountability or meaningful return …. what racing would need to exit the doldrums is a mere bagatelle.

Hollywood Bets has recently teamed up with Gold Circle to boost racing in KZN. On Boxing Day, 26 December 2019, Greyville racecourse in Durban was packed without any huge feature race or special offers to draw the crowd. How did they do that?

Are we missing some tricks? It’s certainly worth thinking about.

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