PLACE YOUR BETS: The old racing venue on the Port Alfred flats, with the Kowie River in the background

The old racing course

Serendipity with Bev Young

I RECEIVED a special request to show once again the horse racing on “the flats” in Port Alfred.

The races went past the old Cock’s Mill on the west bank. I should imagine this era would have been 1870-90.

It was not necessarily an “English sport”, as seemingly everyone enjoyed the festivities, pre-1820 Settlers, in most countries in the world. Very little has changed, if not more sophisticated nowadays.

The community would turn up in their masses, tents erected for the elderly, the children and new mothers, affording them shade and privacy. No doubt, earlier arrivals would have used them as overnight accommodation.

Snippets I have received speak of the horses being led to a home in Sports Road, where a very sturdy tree had become the weighing station. A rather crude affair, of a blanket, or canvas slung, under the belly of the horse, hoisted up- somehow, and a round brass scale contraption, hooked, onto the blanket, and the weight noted down. Apparently gambling/betting ensued.


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