IRC Q&A: James Goodman
One wouldn’t call James Goodman ‘old’ just yet – he colours his hair often to avoid that – but it’s fair to say he is one of South African racing’s elder statesmen, and one of only a handful that actually possesses a functioning brain.
James, steeped in racing with a love for racers and jumpers, trained his first winner, Prof Hewmo, in 1975, just a few years after man landed on the moon, and kept a successful yard running until his retirement from training in 2016. Somewhere along the way, James even tried out in qualifying rounds for the Seniors Golf Tour in the USA!
With his worldwide travels and intimate knowledge of the industry, James became an important player in racing’s development, with roles in management and administration. He applies common logic to everything he does, which brought him close to the politics of racing as an industry advisor and commentator, not always endearing himself to authorities.
But it’s the very same honesty and logic that made him a favourite among South African racing fans, first as an on-course presenter and then as the co-host of the popular ‘Winning Ways’ show with Paul Lafferty – abruptly discontinued due to fear of criticism and scrutiny of their mismanagement of racing by the individuals who bankrupted the racing operator, Phumelela Gaming & Leisure.
He’s back at the new Racing 240 Channel now, having made a welcome re-appearance last Saturday, and we’re hoping to see more of James soon. He is consistently refreshing and to-the-point every time he appears on the box, and his ability to sort wheat from chaff – from form to politics – is essential to the debate involving the sport of racing down South.
Here is our Q&A with James Goodman:
1. Ful name? James Martin Goodman
2. Date of birth? In the 50’s
3. Steak or Sushi? Sushi
4. Superstitions? I am not superstitious.
5. Fav Holiday Destination? Race courses and Golf courses world over.
6. Which: BMW or Merc? Neither, I like prancing horses (but wouldn’t own one)
7. Who inspires you the most? My partner, Sandra
8. Big night out or quiet night in? Quiet night in, Getting old!
9. Right or left-handed? Right handed.
10. Best horseman worked with? A number of them including Angel Penna, Sir Mark Prescott and Mike De Kock.
11. What annoys you the most? Jockeys not doing their best on every ride.
12. Best horse ever seen in the flesh? Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Horse Chestnut and Sea Cottage.
13. Best horse race watched, live? Roberto and Rheingold fighting out the Derby. Lester Piggott at his best.
14. Funniest person ever met? Barry Hilton and Paul Lafferty.
15. Current projects? Working at 4Racing on TV programmes and trying to get a black trainer set up and going.
16. Strict whip rules or no whip rules? Strict whip rules
17. Biggest phobia? Snakes.
18. Most embarrassing moment? When I am having my prostate examined and feel both the doctor’s hands on my shoulders.
19. Cots or fillies? I love them both and geldings.
20. Best horse trained? Gold Tax closely followed by Last Watch and Duke of Marmalad.
21. If you had a choice: Training, bloodstock consulting or TV presenting? Training.
22. Proudest Achievement? Many, but mainly conceptualising and building the Randjesfontein Training Centre.
23.Economy or Business Class? Business class.
24. One thing to make racing better for everyone? All bets through the tote.
25. Star sign? Pisces
26. Bath or Shower? Shower.
27. Read or Netflix? Netflix.
28. Golf Handicap? 10
29. Favourite bet? Quartet.
30. As for permission or forgiveness? Forgiveness.
Nominate someone for our Q&A Next? I would like to nominate Patrick Shaw.
Two horses to follow: Sparkling Water for the July and Maharanee.
Charity Of Choice: National Horse Trust.