Kenilworth Horse Racing, Sunday 8th June 2014

Kenilworth 1

I’d noticed that there was horse racing going on at Kenilworth and so that gave Jen and I something to do on the second day of the Cape Town weekend. Not that Cape Town doesn’t have plenty of attractions, but as Kenilworth is a racecourse that I’ve only ever seen on a screen in Ladbrokes, I quite liked the idea of visiting it in real-life.

The racing didn’t start until the afternoon and so in the morning we had a drive down the coast towards Cape Point, stopping off at Boulder and then Simon’s Town. Boulder is famous for its colony of penguins. I’ve no idea what type of penguins they are, faulty ones I’d imagine, as I’m sure penguins are supposed to live in icy places.

This lot were just wandering about on the sand and in the bushes. Some of them even had burrows. Burrows! Maybe they have been crossed with rabbits or something. They’d be in trouble if they had to live on an iceberg. Whatever, they were entertaining to watch although you weren’t allowed to touch them or give them carrots.

There are probably some polar bears around the corner.

There are probably some polar bears around the corner.

Simon’s Town is a bit like Beamish with its well-preserved buildings and appeared to be very popular with people having a drive out for Sunday brunch. Perhaps after visiting the penguins and before a trip to the races. It seems a pleasant enough town, albeit with little else apart from antique shops and shabby-chic cafes. I didn’t find out who Simon was but I bet he had a pony-tail and a cat.

Simon's Town.

Simon’s Town.

After a bite to eat we headed back into Cape Town to Kenilworth, home of the South African Derby. As with Turffontein, it was free to get into. Maybe that’s how it is at all South African tracks. Initially we found ourselves in a large betting shop with no windows, but were soon directed to the four storey grandstand.

Quite posh really.

Quite posh really.

Whilst there were plenty of seats outside, it was a bit windy for that and we ended up at a waiter-serviced table by a window in one of the member’s lounges. I doubt we’d have got anywhere near the place on Derby Day but on this occasion a steady drip of tips meant that nobody had any interest in moving us on.

I did nip down to the rails a couple of times to watch some of the racing in the fresh air but, apart from the professional photographers, few other people braved the weather. I doubt even proper penguins would have fancied it.

Parade Ring and Unsaddling Enclosure.

Parade Ring and Unsaddling Enclosure.

The racing was on grass, with a straight track cutting through the inside of the oval for races up to 1200 metres and an outside circuit for the longer distances.

We didn’t have much luck early on but a run of winners later in the day saw us finish a couple of hundred rand ahead. That’s not a bad result really and next time I see Kenilworth on the screen in Ladbrokes, I’ll be able to think to myself‚ ‘I’ve been there’.


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