The talk of a proposal recently by the National Horseracing Authority to outlaw sponsorship of trainers by betting operators is surely a shortsighted view of the bigger picture? One only has to consider the multi-million pound deal signed by Manchester United with sports betting company Bwin, to understand that entities that profit from sport can put a lot back into the game.
Soccer is big business today and the debt-ridden Red Devils floated their shares on the US stock market last week, raising some $233m. Half went to pay off some debt and the rest apparently went to the Glazer family, the billionaire US sports investors who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The flotation values the club at an astonishing $2.3bn, making it one of the biggest sports clubs in the world.
Manchester United has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with sports betting company Bwin for an undisclosed amount. The Gibraltar-based outfit will become another of the club’s 28 sponsors and its official online gaming and betting partner for three years, replacing Betfair.
Bwin is also the shirt sponsor of Real Madrid and a partner to Bayern Munich.
“As Europe’s leading online sports betting operator, football is fundamental to our long-term success, making up approximately half of our total sports betting revenue of 261m euros ($320m; £204m) in 2011,” said Norbert Teufelberger, co-chief executive of Bwin’s parent company, Bwin.party.
He went on to say that United has 569 million followers outside of Europe, providing a great opportunity to offer jointly designed and innovative products in countries that do not yet allow real money online sports betting.
Bwin, the largets sportsbook in the world will have their own branded betting kiosks at Old Trafford.
There are other football clubs in England that have either shirt sponsors with online gambling sites or have betting partners. The likes of Bodog, 32red, Sportingbet and Mansion are just a few brands that have made appearances on English Premier League jerseys.
I heard recently on the local front that the National Horseracing Authority were proposing changes to legislation, the broad intention of which was apparently ‘to protect the integrity of the sport, prevent undue influence by Betting Operators over the Trainers and ensure that conflicts of interest do not arise in relation to the duties owed by Trainers to their employers on the one hand, and their Betting Operator sponsors, on the other.’
I am trying to understand how sponsoring a trainer with an incentive to win races and whose function is to train winners , can differ from say an entity sponsoring a jockey?
The international trend of a bookmaker sponsoring a sports club like Manchester United, where millions of pounds are spent on every game, and where players will make mistakes and miss sitters, is surely living proof that international processes are based less on perceptions and more on the reality that money talks and BS walks.
We should learn lessons from international best practice and stop harping on Bookmakers not contributing enough to the sport. Let’s rather focus on the serious issues and be thankful for those betting operators that are prepared to put their hands in their pockets and put something back.
Cape Jockey Exodus
The Cape jockey ranks, bolstered by the return of crack heavyweight Brandon Morgenrood recently who rode a top-class race to win last Saturday’s Gr3 Champagne Stakes on longshot Northern Heritage, will soon see an exodus of three top jockeys.
Lightweight Gerrit Schlechter returns to Buson in South Korea after returning recently from a three month stint, in which he rode 32 winners, including three major feature races. Schlechter has been riding with great confidence in the Cape in the past few weeks and will return to Cape Town on 29 October.
Another crack but newer generation lightweight will also be bidding Cape Town goodbye.
Richard and Tatum Fourie and family also leave this week for Hong Kong, where Richard takes up a post as a club jockey.
Glen Hatt also flies out on Thursday for a couple of weeks in Mauritius where he will join the Gujadhur yard, who recently lost their stable rider Robbie Burke.
Hatt will ride the former Joey Ramsden-trained KZN Derby winner Il Saggiatore in the island’s biggest race, the Gr1 Maiden Cup over 2400m. The race will be run at the MTC’s 23rd racemeeting of this season on 2 September.
Hatt has ridden the Galileo gelding in six of his eleven SA starts and his engagement must be regarded as a scoop for a stable that has long touted this fellow as their 2012 Maiden Cup winner. Il Saggiatore has won two classics on Mauritius since his arrival this season.
One of the jockeys with the best ever records at the Champ de Mars, Hatt will ride at two meetings, on August 25 and September 2.
He knows his way around he tight inner city track with 227 winners there and has won the Maiden Cup on three occasions, including once previously for the Gujadhur Stable with Solar Symbol in 2009.
Lara Hatt and the couple’s daughters will join him for the final week of his stay.
Looking Up In Zimbabwe
Things are looking up North of the Limpopo and here we have another good reason to race in Zimbabwe.
The Board Of Stewards of the Mashonaland Turf Club have announced a stakes increase with effect from 9 September 2012.
Club Features are increased from $ 7000 to $ 9000, while minor events go from $ 5000 to $ 7500.
Any owner with a horse battling to pay their way or looking for a change of scenery may want to consider sending them to the kinder climes of Zim.
Attractively competitive packages on keep and veterinary care, as well as five star holidays thrown in at nominal cost, mean that the entire dimension of racehorse ownership could take on a whole new meaning of enjoyment and fun.
Thanks to the dynamic recent Gr3 Republic Cup winning trainer Seb D’Aquino for keeping us informed of this positive development
Seb has a few empty boxes and would be happy to answer any questions or field enquiries without obligation on firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Kings Of Kimberley?
The Port Elizabeth-based Steenkamp/Sham training partnership appear to have struck diamonds in the dusty reaches of Flamingo Park, since experimenting with some of their turf performers.
They enjoyed a treble on Monday’s card, which included the very consistent Almushtarak gelding Bhundu Spark, who won his fifth race from 18 starts, the Albarahin gelding Beast Of Burden and the formerly rather ordinary looking Requiem filly Perhaps To Dream, who shed her maiden in the final event over 1000m.
The Late Peter Miller’s wife Stephanie, a vastly experienced stable manager and administrator who knows what it takes to train winners at Flamingo Park, looks after the Kimberley operation.
Dorrie Sham was most complimentary of Stephanie on Monday, saying that ‘personnel considerations’ had always been the factor that had been the stumbling block in their plans to establish a yard at Kimberley in the past.
The Northern Cape was always the preserve of a few powerful yards in years gone by, and the fact that the predictability and stranglehold is now a thing of the past, means that the likes of the Shams, Vernon Rugg, Leon Lotz and Phillip Smith will all be having a say. It certainly makes for more interesting racing. We wish the Shams well.