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Top KZN Owner Stands Up

'Stop the ducking and diving'

As a racehorse owner, it saddens me to read about and experience the sorry state of affairs that has befallen KZN racing, writes Brian Burnard in the Sporting Post mailbag.

Greyville polytrack

It is a well known fact that the Greyville and Scottsville tracks need urgent attention, and it serves no purpose trying to ‘ duck and dive ‘ the issues.

I am also fearful of my horses getting injured ( as are the Jockeys ) but the concerns of owners always fall on deaf ears, and we are expected to keep quiet  and carry on purchasing horses and paying Vet’s bills.

The only solution  I can see is for owners to take up the responsibility for their own horses.

It is, after all, the owners who sponsor this amazing sport of horseracing.

To this end I propose forming an Independent  Owners Association in KZN and  interested owners  can contact me at [email protected]

Based on the response from owners hereto, a meeting can be convened to take the matter forward.

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22 comments on “Top KZN Owner Stands Up

  1. Joao says:

    Brian, i applaud you for your efforts. Maybe best to speak to my mates


    and ask them how it works when you take on the inner circle. You will find MANY MANY supporters and NO allies when the chips are down.

    TO many skeletons in closets and long standing deals in place, add lots of nepotism, coupled with no real racing journalists in SA and finally you will have the recipe that is SA racing.

    Better off putting your energy into other matters.


    1. Editor says:

      Which racing newspapers you reading Joao?

      1. Brian says:

        Sorry Ed! All the press give mention in their articles but that’s where it ends. This is a serious issue but it seems someone’s scared of losing free tickets and lunch. This needs a lot more than you’re giving.

      2. Blue Peter says:

        Please edit the material before going on line. A tad offensive for the forum. [email protected]*K Issh.

        1. Editor says:

          Blue Peter, all comments are moderated. Anything considered offensive or which contravenes our policy is either blanked or not published at all. Please feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] if there is anything which you feel offends

  2. Danny Collins says:

    My my my…. what is happening to this incredible sport of ours??? Is it money, money, money…. the root of all evil…. I have been following the articles on the race track conditions in KZN with a lump in my heart!! I kept asking myself… how does this happen and not one owner/trainer take a stance against this issue….. I applaud all the jockey’s, trainers and owners finally standing up and saying enough is enough… It needs the big guns to stand up, small owners and trainers cannot do it! Brian Burnard thank you! It is every race horse owner’s dream to win the Durban July some day. We are buying and breeding race horses hoping to run in these prestigious races in our country and abroad. Cost are escalating to the point where new and small first time owners cannot get into the sport! As we all now kNOW…. buying the horse is the easiest thing to do! To maintain your horse, that’s the toughest to do! New owners (if you can find them) come and go as a result of the unknown costs…. As a new owner/breeder who loves this sport, I can only hope that we can all get together and clean up the sport and the facilities!! I am with you in my small capacity Brian!! I think the independent owners association you propose must go National and not just for KZN. We have a lot to achieve together as fellow owners. Please do not read my comments as that of someone instigating or malicious….. read it as “passion for our thoroughbred horses” and industry… It is easy to blame and shout at each other, let’s not do that!! Let’s fix it together, FAST!!

  3. Ian Jayes says:

    Both Greyville and Scotsville have been bad for some time. When we had Owners & Trainers associations in all the regions and the umbrella body of the National Federation of Owners & Trainers (NATFED) giving input and looking after the interests of both owners and trainers, officials were held to account and the tail did not wag the dog. The people who brought the present situation about could not wait to destroy the influence and control of the Stewards, OTA’s and NATFED. The myopia of those responsible for allowing this to happen is exacting a very high price now.

    1. Marcel smith says:

      Ian Jayes exactly correct that’s why so many owners have retired from the sport of kings ,trying to be as polite as possible

  4. Sorry4You says:

    Hi Joao, we do not have to “take on” anyone. Surely we are all in it to fix the problems!!??

    1. Tk says:

      @Sorry4You Spoken. Sometimes it pays to apply a little intelligence and less emotions.

  5. Gareth van Zyl says:

    Kudos to the man among us, who has the steel to stand up and do something about the same issue that concerns any informed race goer in kzn. The same concern that we all (99%) voice, but offer no action towards solving, in the hope that someday, somehow, someone will do. Mind you let me not say that, the jocks did boycott post race interviews the other day, for what that was worth.
    Doubtless the proposed committee would go on to address further issues and concerns that are facing racing, in what are surely the toughest times racing has yet seen.
    Surely a step in the right direction.
    From one who depends on the industry for my livelihood, thank you.

  6. Joao says:


    Ill respond:

    1:Certainly not your’s for anything challenging to the powers that be. Your paper is very good at what it does but I cant recall an expose’ brought to light by your paper.
    2: Brother Ian tell them in plain English how long the exact battle has been fought and at what price.
    3:sorry4you NOPE we cannot all “fix the problem” the only fix is a cull from anyone that has been at Phumelela longer than 1 month , not gonna happen. 5000 staff and only 1000 surnames…..LOL
    4: Gareth 100% but all I’m saying is men of TUNGTEN have tried and failed. because ultimately the powers DIVIDE and conquer. So lets say for example you supply bedding to the industry but you also a concerned owner with Brian Burnard’s new venture. You will find that very quickly certain trainers just wont order from you any longer…….because of they do horse will be moved.

    1. Brian Burnard says:

      Joao I don’t know what business you are in, but let me explain the situation to you.
      Owners are in the sport of horseracing for the love of the game, and most definately not for any financial gain from it.
      Horseracing ownership should be seen in the same light as owning any business, and run on the same basis.
      For example, you own a business but have random people in control of it and you have no say in how the business is run or the finances thereof ( It would be akin to a chicken running around with no head ) Surely you would want to be in control, especially if you were also pouring finanses into the business,
      Sitting back and folding ones arms in my opinion while the wheels are falling off is certainly not the approuch to take.If you have a better solution to the challenges facing the industry please share them with us

      1. joao says:

        Brian , my business used to be telecoms. I currently and have for a long time owned horses in SA. One of my best friends is a trainer whom i spent a good few days with recently.

        What i did learn from business was the following

        1: spending 1 minute with my son was worth £5m in turnover
        2: massive corporates like my client (british telecom/phumelela / GC) don’t give a f*** (censored) about supplier’s / customers they care for their shareholders only
        3: Stress at our age is the biggest killer
        4: some battles are just not worth fighting
        5: I’ve NEVER met anyone that loves racing more than me (equal but not more) yet racing WILL die. Its time is limited because of many factors most of them OUT of our control.
        6: Today everything is about quick fix. Racing has not moved with the times, 20/20 cricket is SHYTE but its popular. This is because everyone wants things NOW …..racing cannot survive and won’t exist in 50 years time certainly not along these lines.
        7: This fight you about to undertake is a good fight, but after everything is said and done not much will change except you will be admired by some and ignored by many more.
        8: The secret to McDonalds is that their product is not in their quality, its in that their rubbish product is consistently rubbish. You can go anywhere in the world and get a piss poor burger. Phumelela / GC have cottoned onto this. They have done the math and lowering standards has had no bearing on the bottom line. Same as BT does to its suppliers it forces profits to come from the suppliers getting squeezed rather than by for example charging £0.10 a month extra on every phone line. Its easier/ cheaper to make the compliance department redundant and push compliance onto suppliers making them carry the burden of an extra cost with zero increase on their rates. Phumelela and GC operate the same way.
        9: The ONLY way to bring them to a PARTIAL standstill and it really would be short term is the following. YOU BUY every single yearling on every single farm and sit FAS. When they become 2 no horses entered, so for 1 and a half years there will be NO HORSES as YOU own them all. BUT its short term BECAUSE the gamblers WILL demand a product to bet on and Phumelela/GC will deliver
        Cartoon racing
        UK racing

        and your admirable cause will implode.

  7. Steve Reid says:

    All the best Brian.

  8. Marcel smith says:

    Could not agree with you more ,Ian J also has paid the price ,while others have reaped the rewards .Brian I wish you well .Enough from me as this is controversial

  9. Louis Goosen says:

    An Independant National Forum which seeks improvement in Racing. Not a power struggle, no personal agendas, just improvement at grassroot levels.
    This will be brilliant for Racing. But, it will be hard work, believe me. Communication with members will be the key.
    The minute that it is made clear that there are no power struggles, hostilities and personal agendas, this Independant National Owners and Trainers Forum will have hundreds of members.
    Often up here in Gauteng, improvements are made simply by us communicating with either RA or PGL. Yes, there is still more to do. A National Forum is definitely the way to go.

    And if the above is where it’s going, I am in.

    Either way, Brian deserves all the support in KZN. And hopefully we can go National.

  10. Durnban Night says:

    Great idea but it cannot work. GC is not beholden to anyone except to the nhra, province and the gambling board. Owners look out for themselves and any collective action against GC is a pipe dream. An independent owners organisation will only remind GC that someone is watching it and nothing else. These independent owners organisations have come and gone. Their ideas and ideals have been used and abused by people to bless themselves and not horseracing. Look at JHB and those who have had egg in their beer.

  11. Tom Callaghan says:

    Nice Brian..You are so right about taking a business approach make the industry work better. Why not take over the TBA while you are about it! Good luck.

  12. joao says:

    Tom is correct about the industry working better, what i would say though is before taking on the industry and TBA try something easier 1st. Like a dry run or trial run. So i suggest taking over CUBA 1st……i also fancy its 5/10 fav against taking over the TBA

  13. vernon says:

    lets face facts, racing is not controlled by passionate people who want to do what’s best for racing. trainers are managers, other trainers are under them to curry favour so to get a position when it becomes available . friends of friends in position of authority get positions in the industry. No accountability and yet we complain about our government.

  14. Jess K says:

    Only when stakeholders realize that horseracing has been hijacked and subsequently butchered by the Operator(s), the better. It is a business where the share price and shareholder is not just a priority but the only game that matters.
    I read about the RA (owners” body), …. what a laugh !
    The RA = Phumelela (no-one knows or cares about the Trust which actually holds the key but since Phumelela pulls the strings in the RA it controls the Trust too).
    With hold your horses you say ?
    That’s what they would love you to do. Why do you think they’ve closed or sold most of the racetracks ? Horseracing is not their profit making leader anymore, so they will continue to dilute the sport/industry, cut costs, cut corners, cut stakes and cut dissenters. They pull the strings, be it with defaulting trainers, employees’ cupboard skeletons, hangers on, those queuing for a job or contract, those relying on the industry for a living.
    This sad state has been deteriorating for years and has long been highlighted and fought by a few honourable men like Jayes, Maselle, Reid, who spent their own time and money only to be ignored by the same people now jumping up and down, only when they are personally affected and to be discredited by the Operators’ accomplices/agents.
    As that genocidal past President of the U.S said, “you are either with us, or against us”.
    Good luck !

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