Charities the big winners on race day

The celebrities and their charities cheer on their horses during the Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile. Photo by: Annette van Schalkwyk.

Great summer weather in the city of Joburg coupled with the running of the Charity Mile opened up the summer racing season at Turffontein Racecourse.

It was a feather in the cap of trainer Mike Azzie when Hat Puntano was steered clear of the field by jockey Grant van Niekerk to win the R1-million Grade 2 Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile in sensational fashion on November 4.

IBO cruiserweight boxing champion and celebrity on the day Kevin Lerena was once again on the winning side, this time for his charity, the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL).

This is the second consecutive time that Lerena has backed a winning team.

Last year his charity also walked away with the first prize.

AACL bagged a whopping R150 000 in prize money.

Their media partner on the day was Caxton South – Get It Joburg South.

Azzie was elated by this win.

“He showed his true worth today

“Thanks to Gaynor Rupert for putting the money down and allowing me to train him.

“I must also say a huge word of thanks to Bomber Nel.

“Hat Puntano had been hanging in his work.

“Nel identified that we were using the wrong bit in work and racing,” he said.



Charity Mile opens Highveld racing season

Celebrities to cheer for their charities


He worked very hard to get Hat Puntano in great shape during the week.

The days that counted were the two days with Nel, which brought Hat Puntano to the podium on November 4.

“I urge trainers in the country to use him.

“He came out to the training, worked out what was wrong and he corrected it.

“Look at the result on the podium,” Azzie said.

Van Niekerk had Hat Puntano relaxed on the rail just back of midfield as Irish Pride led Top Shot and his more fancied stablemate, New Predator.

Coming into the finishing line they fanned out with New Predator placed well and Hat Puntano, still on the inside, making his move to outsmart the rest of the field and gradually make his way up the rail.

Hat Puntano won by a 0.75 length lead over Social Order, with French Navy dashing for third, ousting favourite New Predator.

The winning time was 97.06 seconds for the 1 600m.

It was a thrilling day at Turffontein Racecourse with the 16 horses racing for their 16 charities, cheered on by the 16 celebrities and supported by the various media partners.

It’s A Rush made a sterling job of creating a wonderful atmosphere at the Charity Mile, which boasted a capacity crowd.

Media partners from Caxton South were Alberton RECORD, Southern COURIER, Comaro CHRONICLE and Get It Joburg South, and from Caxton East were Germiston City News, Benoni City Times and Boksburg Advertiser.

All their charities walked away with R50 000.

Have a story?

Contact the newsroom by emailing: Melissa Hart (Editor) [email protected] or Leigh Hodgson (News Editor) [email protected] 

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Catch-up on more local news with our sister newspapers Bedfordview Edenvale News, Alberton Record and Kempton Express.

Annette van Schalkwyk

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