TWO FRIDAY night meetings have been added to the Highveld racing programme to compensate owners and trainers for the race meetings lost through inclement weather in recent weeks.
There was 205mm of rain at Turffontein in December, making it the wettest December since 1986 when 207mm of rain was recorded. The average rainfall at Turffontein in December is 120mm.
Amazingly, no race meetings were lost in December but racing was not so fortunate in January, with four race meetings cancelled.
There was 287mm of rain at the Vaal in January and 261mm at Turffontein, whereas the average rainfall on the Highveld in January since 1969 has been 154mm.
"We had the wettest December and January for a long time and the water table is incredibly high, with the result that not much rain is needed to render racing impossible," said Phumelela's horseracing executive Patrick Davis.
The two additional Friday night meetings have been scheduled for February 12 and March 12 respectively and each will comprise eight races. In addition, several extra races have been created recently by splitting or adding races to meetings already programmed.
In terms of the national fixtures policy agreed with Gold Circle, race meetings can only be postponed into open slots - in other words to afternoons or nights on which no racing is scheduled.
Prize money not paid in a season because of abandoned meetings or races is not lost to owners and is carried forward into the stakes pot for the next calendar year.