Racing Conditions in South Africa, Daily Racing Form, 1914-04-22


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■ , , , . , RACING CONDITIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA. A recent visitor to Sydney was Mr. W. Hutchison, spoiling editor of the Johannesburg Daily Mail. who was on his way to New Zcalaud to see his relatives. Although he has come from South Africa far a holiday Mr. Hutchison has been deputed to note the workings of the vsrioss totalizator machines ; in Australia and New Zealand, as. I hough a bill which would have the effect of abolishing bookmak-tng in the Transvaal has been shelved, there is said to be still a possibility of its becoming law. If this should come about the clubs will need the latest and best in the way of totalisators. The machine at present used by Johannesburg clubs does not give the totals on the different homes as the Investments are mode, and Mr. Hutchison tells me that in losecqin me it is occasionally necessary to e.. into the betting ring to ascertain what is favorite for a race. As is generally known, the bookmakers and to-talisator jointly satisfy the needs of Johannesburg punters. The government lakes two percent, from the machine and the working expenses are about another one pet cent. The straight out and place totalisators are ill use, the Investments on the latter being aboul double i hose on the former. Mr. Hutchison expressed himself favorable to the bookmakers and tolalisatoi in competition, hill in reply to my uuery as to what Johannesburg owners gener-allv thought of the possible abolition of the former, said: "Well, nianv favor the idea, believing Ihe totahsa-tor would he better if. aa in New Zealand, the investments had a direct bearing on prize -money distributed bv a club The necessity for betting would be lessened. If. however, uncertainty attached to a goodly [.orti.rti of the totalisator percentage finding its way back into the game as stakes, owners generally would prefer adherence to the present jk -sitioti. At one time there was no totalisator betting in Cape Colony, but the beginning of this year saw Ihe entire abolition of bookmakers and all speculation oonlinetl to ihe machine. In Durban, as in Johannesburg, business is transacted both through Ivookmakers and totalisators." In and within 25 miles of Johannesburg racing is now confaed to Saturdays and public holidays. When this tirst came about, it was thought the end of unregistered racing on the Kami was in sight. The Johannesburg Turf Club removed disqualifications from various i lea and galloways that had figured at Auckland Fark. but when they were tried and found wauling al Tiirffontein where Ihe Johannesburg Turf Club and the Johannesburg Pony and Galloway Club racet. they quickly drifted back to the unregistered ranks, and the Auckland Park proprietary are now in such a strong position that they Ihink nothing of clashing with tin- •"registered clubs. The "Fark" is a regular goldmine to its shareholders, and the Johannesburg Turf Club, with which are associated certain proprietary rights, pays about 0,000 yearly in dividends, and also rejoices in a big reserve fund. Hearing on dividends. Mr. Hutchison mentioned that no club racing under the South African Jockey Clubs rules is allowed to pay more tlcin 10 per rent. "At one time." said Mr. Hutchison, "a tremendous amount of business was transacted in Johannesburg on big evetiis in England; in fact, stable money came from the old country for Investment. Now all that is changed, as under the present law we are not supposed to bet on other than local races. In consequence our rimr is weak tiuancially hy comparison with a few years ago." Considering that it is nothing unusual for considerably ■ ver 00,000 lo go through the totalisator in a day al a Johannesburg Turf Club meeting, to say nothing of what the bookmakers iniist hold. Mr. Hutchison rather surprised me when he stated that an attendance of approached a record for Turflontein. It eosls ihe bookmakers a day to l«-i at that track, but there are only about thirty doing business. Since the present law came into force, there is really more racing at TnrlTonleiu than under Ihe old conditions. Mr. Hutchison says a looiI gsllowS] la now really more valuable for racing purposes in the Transvaal than a good horse. Its opportunities arc greater. "We have a tine lot of horses in the Transvaal." ooniinued Mr. Hutchison, "and these best suited for our tracks, which are hard and fast, an- of ihe light-topped order." The TurlTonteill track is a particularly tine one. being a mile and three-quarters in circumference. — Filot in Sydney Referee.

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