A Transkei-born horseman who started out as a Groom, will soon find himself training horses out of Futura Park in the Cape, alongside big-hitting neighbours Justin Snaith and Brett Crawford.

Lunga Gila was in Cape Town on Wednesday last week where he met with the Chairman of Cape Racing, Greg Bortz, and Justin Vermaak, Executive Racing and Bloodstock, to discuss his plans.

“I had a look at the facilities and where my stables will be at the Philippi Training Centre. I will be there in the first week of January.

The ‘immigration’ of trainers to the Cape is being implemented to balance and bolster the horse population in terms of the operator’s medium-term plans to ultimately be in a position put on more racemeetings.

“My last runners at Fairview will be on 29 December when I will saddle two horses at the Poly meeting,” Gila explained.

“I am obviously very excited about this new chapter in my career. I would like to thank Messrs Bortz and Vermaak, and Hollywoodbets for their assistance and guidance in the process.

“I am looking forward to the challenge and am determined not to let my clients, and all those who support me, down.”

Gila started training at Fairview in Gqeberha last season and saddled eight winners from 67 runners last season. That gave him the third highest win percentage of 11,9%in the Eastern Cape in his debut 2022/2023 season!

This season he has already had seven winners with a win percentage of 10%.

Gila started working with racehorses many moons ago.

“People are surprised to hear I even worked for the late oom Nic Claassen,” he says.

Lunga worked with top trainers in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal before deciding to take out his license.

He had a long stint as the right-hand man of former trainer Mitch Wiese at Fairview.

He then worked for the Glen Kotzen-stable, running the satellite yard in Gqeberha and later in Durban.

In 2021 he was in charge of the satellite yard of KwaZulu-Natal trainer Kom Naidoo at Fairview before a move to Gauteng in late 2022 didn’t work out, through no fault of his own.

That incident saw the NHA impose an interim suspension on horses owned by Mano Pandaram that were under the care of Gila. Down but not out, he then returned to the Eastern Cape to get his stable going.

“Although excited about the new Cape adventure, I am also sad to leave the Eastern Cape.

“To my fellow trainers, friends and supporters here in Gqeberha, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support and advice. It is greatly appreciated.”

  • Follow Lunga’s stable on the Facebook page of Lunga Gila Racing Stables.