LIKE most of today’s racing enthusiasts, 40-year-old Durbanite Greg Powell-Rees literally grew up with a race card in his hand. He actually sold race programmes outside totalisator branches as a boy, unable to go inside and have a bet, but taking everything in.
The moment he was old enough to enter horse gambling houses, he found himself a job behind the counter, working at the tote and for bookmakers and learning the game from the other side. “Naturally this job went along with plenty of punting of my own,” Greg laughs.
He went to the UK for a spell and tells: “In the late 1990s and early 2000s they covered almost no SA racing so I lost touch, but they started showing it midway through the 2000 and I watched a lot in London, getting hooked again.
“When I returned to South Africa it was like old times and I got involved in watching and betting, later in the Green Street Bloodstock Syndicates with Justin Vermaak. I’ve had a share in a winner, Sovereign Reign and some bad luck but I’m in it for the long haul. I have shares in six or seven young horses including Herodotus, Delphine and King Of Pop who made a nice debut the other day. I’m holding thumbs.”
Name: Greg Powell-Rees
Occupation: Property Management, Training, Consultancy in Durban
I like to eat: Seafood
I like to drink: Good whiskey
Personal ambitions: I’d like to retire early, have some way to go still!
Racing ambitions: I suppose I could say I’d like a July or a Met winner, but I’d rather have several multiple winners to enjoy my racing career, horses that people will remember.
Favourite horse: Zenyatta
Favourite racing personality: AP McCoy, for his record-breaking 2001/2002 season.
Best moment in racing: Zenyatta, becoming the first female to win Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2009
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