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Trainer ‘No Comments’ Raises Ire

First-timer comments debate rages on

Mobile phone‘You may phone me when Gold Circle pays my rent’, was the quip from one PE-based trainer after being contacted in terms of the KZN racing operator’s new initiative whereby comments are solicited from trainers on their first-timers.

The whole idea behind the move to publish the information is to provide punters with more transparency and the tools required to make better informed decisions.

While trainers are not bound by any statutory or legal requirements to provide any information, the moral issue of transparency and promoting the welfare of the punter is seen as key to the industry’s survival.

“The punting rand is what drives the engine and generates stakes, and we should be making every effort to lift the cloak and dagger veil and give punters all the information available. The punter is, after all,  the most important stakeholder and while owners are also hard-pressed and struggling to make ends meet, they may as well go racing pigeons without punters wagering monies to maintain stakes,” said a senior racing administrator.

A racehorse owner himself, he added that withholding information about well-being and ability was tantamount to ‘insider trading’, and ‘we know what happens to people who practice that!’.

But should owners, who buy horses and pay keep, be entitled to be privvy to the benefits of having information which puts them in a potentially advantageous position?

MegaphoneAs the PE trainer who made the rather sarcastic rental comment had a first-time winner the other day at huge odds, the debate has once again reared it’s ugly head with punters suggesting that a ‘name-and-shame’ campaign be instituted in the media.

While the majority of the trainers have seemingly bought into the initiative, a list has been provided of the trainers who do not want to be called and have chosen ‘NO COMMENT’ as the standard response.

They are Frank Robinson, Johan Janse Van Vuuren, Stanley Ferreria, Robbie Hill, Jacques Strydom, Sean Tarry, Stuart Pettigrew and Louis Goosen. The last mentioned was prepared to go on record at 11am on the day of the race. This unfortunately is too late to get it onto the platforms that are utilised.

Speedyvar wrote on www.sportingpost.co.za comments corner recently:

Scores and Awards for First Timers Comments:
Top score of 8 out of 10 goes to —
Candice Dawson and Mathew De Kock
And then we have Alec Laird and assistant trainer at 0 out of ten for “trainer should make comments”
In the minus 1 to 4 out of 10 zone comes all the “No Comment” trainers.
And then comes Louis Goosen at minus 6 out of ten for his comment “call at 10 am on morning of races”(Waiting for hell to explode when objection to score is lodged)
And then the one that took the Larry Wainstein Award at minus 12 out of 10—Stuart Pettigrew for his comment “Comments exclusively available to patrons”

You be the judge- are trainers shooting themselves in the foot by cocking a deaf ear to punters?

Please tell us what you think.

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59 comments on “Trainer ‘No Comments’ Raises Ire

  1. mabaker says:

    I find that the less intellectual clutter you have the better. And that applies to trainers and jockey “comments’ too. Do your own thing, use your own judgement. I don’t need someone to help me lose my money I am quite capable of doing that myself, so Wayne Fouche I don’t need your tips either.

  2. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

    I suppose Mr Hawkins should be careful what he wishes for. 99,9% of owners don’t need horse racing to survive. He unfortunately falls into into the 0,1% category.
    I may be wrong but executives, who cannot get their staff to grow grass, whilst in short supply, find themselves in a market where that short supply far exceeds the zero demand.
    A proper initiative would have included some incentive for owners and trainers. Why must all initiatives come at the cost of owners and trainers. So when it falls flat they resort to publicizing these names in the hope that the public will turn against the dissenters.

    I find it funny that some gold circle trainers who wanted protectionist rules in place don’t support the big dog that gave them that unfair advantage.

    What % of races are won by first timers on an annual basis? Maybe more effort should be put into meeting customers expectations like sectional timing.

    I wonder if track and ball will lay me odds that 400m can disappear before sectional timing can appear. For that amount of money we could have re-incarnated Houdini, as Copperfield can’t seem to find it.

    1. MGram says:

      Why is a list not made to name and shame those Gauteng yards that proclaim a horse will be green. The horse gets backed and wins. That is far more problematic than no comment trainers! Insider trading be damned, the vast majority of 1st timer coup attempts fail dismally. You would think there are guarantees the way people are crying. My trainer has been instructed not to comment on my runners. I owe no punter anything.

    2. MGram says:

      Another point for the idiots who feel owners have an unfair advantage – go ask what a full claim on a 1st timer comprises you will be in for a big surprise. So if operatora want owners to be transparent lets have 100k laid of a.first timer by betting world and the GC joke masquerading as bookmakers

      1. Korek Shun says:

        You desperately need a tour into bookmaker ownership/stakeholders… That said, I agree that first timers should not be the focus and that the overriding goal should be the facilitation of progression within an industry that is struggling to keep pace with change… in both business and communication models.

    3. Pops says:

      And how does commenting on their first timers ability to run or not, costs these owners and trainers?
      Will it spoil their celebrations after their first timer wins because ‘outsiders’ knew it can run?
      Or is it because they got it at 2/1 instead of 10/1 and thereby not make that extra they do not need to survive?
      Could the trainers explain why they wish not to comment on their first timers It may be on instructions from their owners and if so why the owners do not want the trainers to comment?

      1. MGram says:

        Pops please explain to me how you believe it fair that owners accept a lower price on their horse? Your example gives the impression that “someone” got 10/1. Its not a bad example. Opening prices are often stolen by jocks who put their punters into your horse. Have you ever heard a bemused trainer saying “its not stable money”? Owning horses is not for the feint of heart. Owners deserve to have exclusivity on the information regarding the chances of a 1st timer. Punters are more than welcome to scoop up what is left of the price after the horse is backed.

  3. Beach Boy says:

    I think they are trying to put trainers in a difficult position. What happens if a trainer thinks his horse needs a run, honestly says so and the horse wins in a canter? What happens if the trainer says the horse is well but finishes a distant last? It’s always difficult to judge a newcomer; yes, trainers are best placed but not all that well placed either. While the stated aim is to protect punters, the powers-that-be can do much more to protect them directly themselves without pushing responsibility, unfairly IMHO, onto the trainers.

  4. AB de Villiers says:

    No body goes to casino computer room and ask them what machines they think will pay out, or as in some casinos go to screen and check which machines have paid out .You choose where to play and take your chances.
    To blame trainers for not commenting is absurd.Comments like”will need the run, is immature, still green”is just as good as no comment to me.Myself have had reasonable success by studing pedigrees.Pre-race betting on first timers also indication, but still no gaurentee., thats why we call it gambling.
    Get up at 04h00, go to track and see horses work if you are really serious.
    We do lack in racing journalism appartment compared to racing abroad.They got guys getting up early to watch and report what is going on at racing yards to give their readers a better perspective.
    Maybe the new “Racing its a Rush”boss will change this for us.
    In the mean time, gamble with head and heart, because its that what create the passion.
    Good luck is whats it all about!

    1. Korek Shun says:

      Agree, it’s all about luck on the day or at the time. But the sport involves a human element that makes us different and unique in many ways from other forms of gaming. And the promotion of this human element should be the essence of this type of project.

  5. Brian Burnard says:

    Seeing that the ‘shamed’ Trainers are named , name the clever senior racing
    administrator that makes such stupid comments.

  6. Don says:

    The point is that, even if sectional timing is in place, unraced and long layoff horses come into a race and cause a ‘blind spot’ for punters. There is no way a punter can consider a horse which has no form in the set up of his betting plan for the day -fairly. Invariably the punter loses and leaves with the belief that the trainer/owner/connections have set the whole story up to their own benefit, saying in short, re-enforcing the belief that racing is ‘crooked’. Racing cannot afford this belief (or fact) any longer, measures have to be put in place, preferably in a formalised manner.

    1. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

      Don you were at Durbanville on Wednesday I never saw you at the tote windows once…. do you punt at all?

      1. Dean says:

        Extra Don is looking after the industry that she derives her living from. There is nothing wrong with that surely?

        1. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

          Looking after is a strong term in this instance

          Anyways I am trying to establish whether Don punts as she seems to think she knows what punters want? I am trying to establish whether this is from a personal perspective i.e experience in punting , if so to what extent, a regular or a July/ Met punter.

          Lets put it this way if i was to have a heart transplant i would want Chris Barnard or the likes of, not the rubber glove sales person, performing the operation and researching it.

  7. Oscar Foulkes says:

    The industry absolutely has to have greater transparency. Insider trading is a relic of the 18th century, and has no place in a market that involves public money.

    I should add that it’s not just setting up a pretty shop front for punters, but actually drawing the public into our confidence. The sport needs to be trusted.

    The ‘comments initiative’ is better than nothing, but there is nothing to beat a formalised system of barrier trials, which are a key element in successful racing jurisdictions around the world.

    In their absence, punters are left to decipher trainers’ comments (bearing in mind that for some trainers, all their geese are swans). Spare a thought, also, for trainers who are reluctant to be overly positive about a horse in case it disappoints. I’d like to think that the majority of the trainers on your ‘no comment’ list fall into this category. It would be disappointing if they were withholding information in order to take advantage of it themselves.

    If stakes were higher, the industry’s economics would be very different for owners and trainers. There are only two ways for this to happen:
    – increased betting turnover
    – increased sponsorship
    Both of these are dependent upon the positive image of horse racing.

    Insider trading may occasionally provide extra income for some owners/trainers, but it mitigates against achieving a sustainable future, by eroding trust.

  8. Louis Goosen says:

    1) What is the Punter going to do when 8 Trainers all say “working well, should win ” ?
    2 ) What is the Owner who likes to have a bet going to say, after his/her R200k purchase, which has been in Training for a year, opens at 8 to 10 ?
    3 ) In a race made up of unraced Juveniles, how does a Trainer know that his horse is competitive against the other unknowns ?
    4 ) What are the Punters going to punt on when the Owners stop putting in R1bn per Annum in exchange for R400m in Stakes ? And if we carry on like this, expecting the Owners to get more and more of a hiding, then the Operators must get used to 5 horse fields and 4 meetings a week in SA.

    I am astounded at being included in this list when I did NOT refuse to comment but preferred to rather comment on raceday. ( Is it too much effort to call back then ? Or too thick to understand that simple principle ?) Our team have always cooperated and we always copy Tellytrack Presenters on our reports for all runners, come raceday .

    We recently had an odds on favourite that we knew would need the run. Early on the morning of races, we posted this on ABC and sent a sms to Tellytrack. The horse drifted to 2 to 1 and ran 5th. Apparently, in terms of this article, that is not good enough….

    Maybe now, we will not continue with this practice….

    Owners are being pushed too far. Instead of the Operators encouraging us, meeting with us, this article insults us and has, in fact, drawn a line in the sand.

    To hell with them ! Rather name and shame the useless people who get paid to be stupid and who make as little effort as possible !

    1. Pops says:

      Lets be reminded of what Mr. ‘Striker Strydom had to say on giving information.
      He sees it as part of his responsibilities to help punters.

      “I gladly help people with info. If we don’t encourage people to have a bet, we might as well close the game down.” “I can only give my honest opinion. And I’d rather at least try and help than say nothing at all.”

      1. Dean says:

        Striker never rides work on 1st timers so this bit of wisdom is sadly redundant

        1. Korek Shun says:

          We often see only what we want to… apparently.

        2. Paulo says:

          Dean….you are categorically wrong.

          I have seen it with my own eyes.

          The root issue with this problem is based on probably what your comment is based on – Assumption…and you know what “they” say about that.:-)

    2. Pops says:

      Mr Goosen they way you put it is like the punter is wanting the trainers to give him a sure winner.
      That we know is not possible because of the nature of the game(Horse stumbles out of the pens,does not get clear run)
      What the punter wants is an honest comment
      from the trainers of whether their first timers have shown at home if they can run or not.(on race day on race course may be a different story)
      Most punters especially the smaller punter(who may be in the majority) needs this information not to put R50 000 on the horse before anyone else but to guide him in constructing his small Bi-Pot, PA,Jackpot or Trifecta bet.
      For the small punter this is very important because he has not got the means to take big perms.In many cases a first timer in a Bi-Pot, PA or Jackpot leg can open at 7/1 but at time of the race it drifts to 20/1 and runs accordingly.
      If the trainer says this horse has shown nothing and does not expect much(or will the trainer be too afraid the owner will move the horse) then it is up to the punter to take a calculated risk.
      Why can a trainer not comment a day before the race?

      .

    3. Speedyvar says:

      A while back in an interview this is what Louis Goosen said when asked
      .Do you ever advise friends or family to have a punt on a horse you really like? Sometimes. With a small yard, we have a good punt, about 4 or 5 times a year. The strike rate is very high, that way.
      And some where in there could be found the answer to question
      2 ) What is the Owner who likes to have a bet going to say, after his/her R200k purchase, which has been in Training for a year, opens at 8 to 10 ?
      By the way is that good punt taken on the Tote.If not, then if the operators are correct you are contributing to owners putting R1bn per annum in exchange for R400m in stakes.

    4. Korek Shun says:

      Stakes are based on turnover, derived from punters bets… don’t think owners are being targeted here, it’s the punter – for the right reasons for a change.

  9. Stuart Pettigrew says:

    Thanks for the Larry Wainstien award ,just interest why is it is named Larry Wainstien award please explain ,hope it comes with a trophy I need a door stopper at stables,many thanks again

  10. Andre Hauptfleisch says:

    Are these the same morons that have three maiden plates in the p6 Sunday (Scottsville) but leave a F&M MR92 out ? Talk about transparency and making it easier for the punter…..joke ! Maybe we as owners and members should start naming and shaming or even better start voting them out.

  11. Dean says:

    Yes Andre. This is further confirmation that owner and punters are placed firmly behind the interests of foreign markets. This emergence of 2nd race feature race of the day can only be to satisfy the demands of countries in earlier time zones like Hong Kong Australia NZ and the like. Moronic only if you were silly enough to think that they cared for owners. I hope that you and Buffalo Bill have engaged on his efforts to create an independant KZN owners group.

    1. Korek Shun says:

      A little information can be a dangerous thing!

  12. Speedyvar says:

    This is not good for South African horse racing.
    Let’s get back to what this is about.Trainers were asked to comment on their first timers.

  13. RSFaux says:

    This whole thing was well intended,but naive…does a poker player let his opponent peek at his cards?There is too much money at stake to believe that the industry can rely on “the right thing to do”
    Of course the punter needs as much help as possible but it has to come in the form of regulated visible exposure like barrier trials or publicly timed workouts,and not only for first timers,but especially horses returning from a break,and these would need to be monitored by the NHA
    The utilising of races as training gallops and manipulation of MR’s are issues far more important than first timers,but there is no effort to improve the regulation of thereof!

  14. pmb says:

    The comments are nice to have even on the day of the race after connections have had their chance to back.

    Truth is for most “normal” owners of a first timer the chances of getting a good price are slim, because in my experience everyone knows about a good un long before the betting opens.

    Big betting putters, tipsters and bookmakers have their feelers in every yard, and its seldom a first timer that is heavily backed opens at any decent price to make a difference to the regular masses, and often even the owner of the good one sitting on the bookies doorstep cant get a fantastic price.

  15. Paulo says:

    What a conundrum…
    Owners need the punters betting so that some of that turnover goes to stakes. Owners subsidise racing to vast amounts, purchasing and keeping horses with an ever growing disparity between costs and stakes.

    Perhaps the Operators should consider investing a larger chunk of punting proceeds into stakes rather than dividends and then owners wouldn’t be so anti “transparency”.
    The reality is that unless the incentive is there for owners in the form of stakes, the majority will look for advantages in betting. Not much to ask after the large spend.
    It is rather weak that the operators way to find extra punting pool (perhaps to add to stakes) is to penalise the owner again upfront, as opposed to “giving” to the owner and then asking for the transparency.

    Once again, good intentions haven’t been followed up with the right amount of thought before implementation.

    As an owner, it makes little difference to me if my trainers give comments or not. The general gibberish could mislead a blind ostrich, and to be fair on the trainers, most of the time it isn’t that easy to judge anyway. It is really a matter of principle and procedure. Something the operators seem to be missing more often than not.

  16. Brad says:

    Firstly if trainer’s new that there horse was going to win we won’t have car parks at our race tracks , but helipads as every owner, trainer ,trainer’s wife and familly would have a chopper. Years ago the punter had the horses form to go on and today they have the same. The only deference is that the operator’s have realised that by confusing the punter they make a bigger profit for the share holder’s. This is where the source of all the problem actual starts as years ago a percentage stakes was agreed to and this was long before the transformation of the betting environment. They take out the profit and that’s why stakes haven’t been able to stay in touch with the costs of owning a race horse. Can you imagine if the betting organisations were run as non profit organisation like the NHRA and all the profits went back into stakes . Racing would thrive, maybe a good start to renegotiate that stakes agreement that was agreed to before the TV was invented. As for trainer’s been made to disclose what they thought about there runners i believe that should be the owners choice as he is paying. If they want to pay the bills i am sure every owner would be happy to let his trainer share his info , i for one wouldn’t be happy or allow my trainer to share my horses chances until that day comes.

    1. Pops says:

      Brad,this about first timers.

  17. Anand says:

    Whew..! The arrogance of some owners and trainers here. This sport is DEAD without the punter. And owners, are u so short of cash u need to grab the good odds first? Remember this article is about FIRST timers. Have some sportsmanship. ..play fair. Perhaps punters should create a forum and call for boycott of all races featuring first timers if trainers refuse to comment. And lastly…Louis Goosen should NOT have been on this list

  18. B. Kark says:

    Is it not time for the operators to start giving something to us punters? The call for more information by trainers does not only profit us punters, it favours the operators and their bottom line. To increase interest in horse racing the operators should reduce their take out by at least 5% for all bet types. The 5% will make payouts a lot bigger. The knock on effect will mean that turnover should increase for the operators and not us punters. My suggestions sounds good. But the problem is that the operators do not give a hoot about punters or anyone else. The operators will continue to take and take and give nothing back. Well done to Frank Robinson, Johan Janse Van Vuuren, Stanley Ferreria, Robbie Hill, Jacques Strydom, Sean Tarry, Stuart Pettigrew and Louis Goosen. Hopefully more trainers will follow their lead.I would rather watch the money and the horses go down than hear from a trainer who will in all probability be cautious or put the punter off. There is no reason to change the tradition which has been in existence longer than any of us have been alive. I am so looking forward to hearing what great treats are in store for us punters from the operators. Is it keeping the price of computaform at R30.00 for the next two years or giving it away for free online? Oops, sorry I just remembered that the price has recently been increased to R35.00 by Phumelela.

  19. Blue Peter says:

    Never read the comments. Made some decent returns on Mr Goosen raceday comments. Keep up the good work sir.

  20. Robyn Louw says:

    Form Organisation’s Charles Faull (who celebrates his birthday today) has been a strong advocate of barrier trials for many years.

    He asked to share the following correspondence addressed to Mr Paddy Wilson, the Chairman of WP Racing, after Charles had attended the Asian Racing Conference and canvassed a number of opinions regarding South Africa’s lack of barrier trials.

    The letter was dated 14 October 1997.

    Dear Mr Wilson

    As promised I have compiled a record of some of the opinions expressed to me by delegates at the Asian Racing Conference (January 1997).

    1. Major General Guy Watkins – CEO of Hong Kong Jockey Club 1986-96.
    2. Hans J. Stahl – President of the American Jockey Club.
    3. Bob Charley – CEO Australian Racing Conference.
    4. Terry Lee – President of The Association of Racehorse Owners Malaysia.
    5. Charles McRae Simpson – Immediate past-president of the NZ Racehorse Owners Federation.
    6. John Schreck – Chief Stipendiary Steward Mauritius.

    As you will see, their reactions to discovering that our Jockey Club’s Rules Of Racing condoned Insider Trading ranged from disbelief to abhorrence to disgust.

    I have enclosed the contact details of all these respected gentlemen with the exception of Guy Watkins whose details you say you have in your possession, and have posted a copy of this letter to each one of them.

    Enclosed also please find a letter regarding the sad closure of Arlington Park.

    Your statement that you have no problem with the victory of the first time runner ‘Noble American’ on his debut in a pick-six race at Kenilworth on 24 September fills me with a sense of dismay.

    Under the existing regime horseracing in this country has little chance of surviving the impending onslaught from major casinos and a state lottery.

    In response to your misgivings on the value of the internet, I have enclosed two newspaper articles which underline the growing ubiquity and utility of this medium.

    Could we possibly meet to discuss these important matters further at your earliest convenience?

    Yours sincerely

    Charles Faull

    cc.
    Guy Watkins
    Hans Stahl
    Bob Charley
    Terry Lee
    Charles McRae Simpson
    John Schreck
    Billy Steele
    Ronnie Napier
    Jack Ward

    Interviews:

    Major-General Guy Watkins

    The following is a verbatim transcript of an interview with Major-General Guy Watkins (CEO Hong Kong Jockey Club 1986-87) done at a restaurant at Sun City between 5:10 and 5:55 pm on Monday, 20 January, 1997. Present and witness to this conversation was Mr Billy Steele, Chairman of WP Owners and Trainers Association.

    Charles Faull (CF): General Watkins, please would you read the following excerpt from an interview with you, published in the September 1992 edition of Racing Record.

    Quote:
    ‘Gen. Watkins and his team know that only the utmost professionalism will do in a region where betting is very serious business indeed.
    “Turnover per race averages HK $111 million and with that volume of money being wagered, one needs to do everything one can to ensure that racing is properly controlled and that all possible information is made available to the punter.”
    “That is why we introduced public gallops back in the 1960’s. Time trials are held every day and the results are widely published. Punters must have access to such information if they’re to bet serious money.”
    Much has been said and written about the Chinese love of wagering but Gen. Watkins will not countenance the term “incurable gamblers” being applied to local turf patrons. “They may be incurable bettors, but not incurable gamblers – there’s a world of difference,” he insisted.
    “An incurable gambler is a compulsive fellow who is reckless and undiscerning with respect to his wagering. Our punters are the most studious readers of form you will find anywhere. They are also the best-informed punters in the world.” – Racing Record, September 1992.

    After Guy Watkins had carefully read the above:

    CF: Do you still stand by these words?

    Guy Watkins (GW): Unequivocably. In Hong Kong all possible information is made available to the punter. All workouts are closely monitored and time trials remain a crucial part of Hong Kong Racing’s great communion with its customers. Hong Kong punters are the best informed in the world.

    CF: Would you describe the situation prevailing in South Africa which permits an unraced horse to compete without any publicity to its workouts as fraudulent?

    GW: Not fraudulent. I wouldn’t describe that sort of legitimised punter abuse as ‘fraud’. I would describe your system as ‘theft’. It is criminal to allow the connections of an unraced horse to bet against an uninformed public with privileged information, and naturally, very bad business. South Africa must be the only country in the world that still allows this sort of abuse.

    Billy Steele: Sadly, we don’t have any form of punter protection in South Africa.

    CF: Trust me Gen. Watkins, you are not the only person who is abhorred at the condonation of illegal practices by the Jockey Club’s Rules Of Racing.

    GW: I am surprised, and very disappointed to hear that South African racing is so backward.

    Summary of Guy Watkins’ views:

    Ø One needs to ensure that all possible information is available to the punter.
    Ø That is why Hong Kong introduced public gallops back in the 1960’s. Time trials are held every day and the results are widely published. Punters must have access to such information if they’re to bet serious money.
    Ø Hong Kong’s punters are the most studious readers of form you will find anywhere. They are also the best-informed punters in the world.
    Ø The South African system which permits Insider Trading can only be described as ‘THEFT’.

    Hans J. Stahl
    President of the American Jockey Club

    ‘In America a horse who has not raced for 12 weeks may not run in a race without two published official workouts. Your South African system would be totally unlawful in terms of the Constitution of America.
    American racing would collapse if we return to your world of legalised insider trading. It is unlawful to allow that sort of abuse of your customers. At a time when America is looking at ways to improve our transparency, you in South Africa are still doing NOTHING.’

    Bob Charley
    CEO Australian Racing Conference

    ‘I find it almost unbelievable that those people entrusted with the leadership of your racing in South Africa could possibly permit a system which allows the connections of a horse to be privy to privileded information. This is an endorsement of customer abuse of the worst form and quite unacceptable to First World thinking. How can South African racing possibly market its product to the man in the street under these circumstances?

    Terry Lee
    President of the Association of Racehorse Owners in Malaysia

    ‘In Malaysia we make a great effort to ensure that our punters are fully informed about all relevant workout information. Even a Gp1 winner from Australia cannot race in our country without performing up to standard in an official workout. We monitor and inform our customers of ALL fast work, not only our statutory official workouts.’

    Charles McRae Simpson
    Past President NZ Racehorse Owners Federation
    ‘Without our official Barrier Trials system in New Zealand, horseracing would collapse. I am saddened to hear that your country lags so far behind the rest of the world. To allow privileged information is so obviously immoral and bad for business.’

    John M. Schreck
    Chief Stipendiary Steward Mauritius

    ‘In my home country Australia, Barrier Trials are an essential part of customer service. Likewise, in Mauritius, the Racing Authority goes to great lengths to ensure that punters are fully informed about workouts. South Africa’s immoral system should be unacceptable to honorable racing administrators.’

    Dear Paddy,

    As I sat and listened to Guy Watkins I was looking at this huge mask which adorned the wall outside the restaurant. Guy Watkins’ opinion of South Africa’s Rules of Racing fitted the image so well.
    ‘GROSS’
    Those of us who try to make an honest living as servants of Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding in South Africa, are deeply offended by the legitimized theft enshrined in our Rules of Racing.

    Yours sincerely

    Charles Faull

    1. Paulo says:

      This is a wonderful piece of informed and researched information pieced together in letter format and penned by a clear visionary. One wonders why someone like Charles Faull has not been allowed to use his knowledge for the betterment of the industry in a more inclusive way. Thats for another day.

      The problem with the above, is that for us (our industry), to move onto the next level and abandon the “Gross”, “illegal”, “unconstitutional” etc etc ways, it needs support from the operators and the regulators. It requires them to introduce the measures and systems these “transparent” countries have in place and not half convoluted efforts at this “transparency”.
      Its not for owners who are already burdened, to further take over this control and initiative.

      If Operators introduced, barrier trials, adequate media, work watching, clocked trials, proper and consistent rule enforcing and supervised work, the issue around trainers comments or owners rights or privileges wouldn’t be discussed here, or anywhere else.
      Armed with all that information, the last thing a punter wants is a trainers comment.

      To introduce trainers comments as a step towards transparency and to make owners or trainers that refuse comment, the scape goats is naive and poor form.

      Introduce the correct measures and don’t pass the buck.

  21. markg says:

    Well done Louis Goosen . Owners purchase horses, pay training/vet bills so if they manage to back their runner at decent odds surely most of this winnings will be reinvested into horse racing ?

    How many 1st timers actually WIN ?? Craven in Cape Town got beaten by stable companion Brett Crawford comment would have been wrong if his comment was will win ?? Craven is a top horse and he could not win 1st start . So betting coup failed ?? I know bookies would have been hurting if he had won.

    Bookies in SA hardly lay 1st timers as they only lay R10 000 of the horse then shorten and shorten hence 8/10 etc..

    Sometimes people back a horse which increases the odds of other runners in the field which other punters might benefit from

    Horse racing rely’s on betting to generate turnover to pay Stakes etc….
    The tote is the main contributor to the stakes pool, so betting with bookies DO NOT contribute to stakes so very little stakes growth . Hence some owners need to TRY subsidize your monthly costs , obviously not all punted horses win.

    I cannot see why bookies can’t pay a % to stakes pool ?
    They are selling a product with little costs to have the races ( NO racetrack costs +++ ) If bookies contribute to stakes owners could use larger stakes earned to try recover investment or pay future costs

    1. Paulo says:

      They do

  22. RSFaux says:

    Wow ,I have often been accused of being negatively obsessed with this aspect of our rules.When I look at the adjectives used to describe our rules by overseas administrators,I realise I have been very restrained in my comments.
    Their comments say it all really!

  23. B steele says:

    This article was penned some 20 years ago when racing was still in the hands of the “good ” people ,who supposedly had the interest of the racing public at heart.
    Soon after this letter to Mr Wilson the door was firmly closed on Charles and he was regarded as persona non grata .He has never giving up the fight and his call for barrier trials ,We need a lot more people like him.

  24. Leon Smuts says:

    A contributor to the problem for racing is the punitive nature of most bets, especially the bigger paying exotics and the impact on mostly smaller players who make up the majority of the numbers in the playing population. When an outsider or a formless horse or first timer wins those who have not selected this runner are eliminated from the pool and this robs racing from having entertainment value which is as important for most taking part as is winning.
    Product design can do so much for restoring the image of the game and making involvement fun, which is central to rolling racing out to a new generation. Why should players be punished when an outsider wins when we could have a few games that caters for this regular eventuality in a more amicable fashion. Reward those that find the outsiders but lets not punish those who don’t.
    With clever product designs racing will be easy to promote again and transparency or lack thereof won’t need to be blamed for the industry’s problems.
    I am very much in favour of transparency and cleaning up the image of the game as everyone associated with racing will benefit from this in the long run.
    Thanks to the trainers and owners that share, it makes the game a game for all rather than a game for just an exclusive few.

  25. Joao says:

    This is a SUPID topic and this initiative makes no sense.

    Hong Kong
    Australia

    Have the “best” information out there and STILL the outsiders WIN, they carryovers happen.

    USA has timed and documented workouts and STILL outsiders WIN and there are carryovers.

    SO for me the comments mean nothing. and i FULLY support any trainer that says NO comment.

    1. Leon Smuts says:

      You cannot be serious Joao. Ignorance is not bliss when you are betting, information is king.
      You don’t need to get tipped a winner or a certainty but knowing that the horse is not fully prepped can be very useful when structuring a bet.
      Horses will make fools of all of us at one time or another but we don’t need to be made fools of by misleading or non information.
      Wagering is not a perfect science, and never will be but it needs to be seen by the public as a clean game with accessible information and a game of skill rather than a mindless game of chance.
      If not we may as well play the lotto or slots as it pays better when you catch a big one.

      1. Joao says:

        Leon of course I’m serious. I highlighted the ABUNDANCE of information in the 3 jurisdictions and yet week in week out in those countries there are results that are from left field. I just don’t buy into information or the lack thereof being a critical part of wagering. Wagering on horses should be viewed as a hobby with the occasional win.

        In my circles I meet professional punters all the time and here are the sports they make their living from

        Football
        Poker
        Cricket
        Tennis
        NFL

        I can hand on heart tell you that I have not met 1 person punting full time on horses as a main source of income.

        1. Leon Smuts says:

          I have to admit that what you are saying makes sense Joao, good point. That leaves one thing only to make punting more fun as I eluded to in my initial response, and that is to offer products with a different calculation method where the punter is less exposed to rough results and can still be in with a winning opportunity (single race betting excluded, exotics only)
          The contest model is so much better than pure pari-mutuel to achieve a more player friendly outcome which will make promotion of racing far easier and more effective. Our game needs capacity building over and above pure economic short term bottom line dynamics.

          1. Joao says:

            Leon

            The ONLY way to make racing pay is by pure luck. You see some results are just un fathomable so people like myself have over the years won a few rands.

            The “problem” with my strategy is that it can be LONG between proper drinks. It can be LONG before that BIG win but it does come.

            So how do i play horses ???? Well its simple and even if i had trainers/jockeys/grooms and anybody else’s comments there are a few rules that i abide by since the introduction of the MR racing system in South Africa. A system, that even TODAY MOST TRAINERS don’t fully understand. Last week a trainer of mine told me my horse was very decent because it is working with a 2 time winner…….I asked the rating of the 2 time winner and hung up the phone.

            Anyway onto punting…..here are my rules..

            1: NO Banker / s , I frankly dont care what is running i WONT banker it. (jackpots and PA’s)
            2: My minimum spend on a Place Accumulator is 30 000 lines , I then take a % or full depending on what i think the day might do.
            3: I don’t ever play the Pick 6
            4: Jackpots minimum lines is 3500
            5: last 2 legs of PA always go field field
            6: Last leg of jackpot always go field.
            7: If i fancy a horse at 8/1 or BIGGER i take it BANKER in a QT with 3 fields
            8: If i fancy a horse at 12/1 or bigger i take exactas Horse by field (20 x ) field by horse (5x)

            the rest all comes from me , studying/watching and very seldom listening.

  26. Riaan Heunis says:

    The problem is you can have all the times and barrier trials and comments from the trainer all the confidence from the owners then the first timer walks into the ring at Turffontein . The horse might be bred in the purple potential champion , what happens first thing he / she sees is the points of the jumping castle flapping from side to side spooking him . He / she now gets a jockey on the horse is already nervous now the kids sitting on the side of the ring shouts at the horse , kids that were never allowed on race courses . This horse now made its way to the start struggled to load but is in and jumps at the 200 meter mark the horse comes under pressure , what do some jockeys do try and cut the horse in half with the whip ,because they were told the horse had to win yet it losses .Because of the hiding the spooked nervous horse got in his first run his confidence is shattered forever .Now next time out the horse is unruly and get scratched this behavior carries on for a few races until one day they decide the only way to get this horse to behave is to (GELD) him . The Fillies are luckier they do not have to get this CUT .In this manner SA racing looses top sires all the time . Yet had everything gone his way in his first appearance to the track how different the story could have been . So just maybe things should start with course management !!!

  27. Grant says:

    Hi guys the reason we can’t have barrier trials is we don’t have tracks. It’s bad enough that we race on them and you would want barrier trials.

    1. Robyn Louw says:

      We hold regular grass gallops on many of our tracks though, Grant?

  28. Grant says:

    A barrier trial is equivalent to a race where a grass is maybe 4 horses our tracks just can’t handle it

    1. Don says:

      Grant, we regularly have 8 – 10, some days even 12 races per meeting now whereas years gone by the standard was 7-8? They struggle to fill the fields. Some of the races have majority first timers, it may as well be a barrier trial already.

  29. first timers are for the owners end of story. after that the horse becomes public property. whether the first timer is punted or not. this has been the un written law from the start of racing in this country. it worked and there was no problem. the bookmakers would lay the horse as well not short odds the owner or trainer. when the big bookmakers left the courses so did the prices. betting world is professed to be the biggest but will not let you have 20k on a 5-1 shot. these are the guys that have ruined the racing game with all there limits.

    when mr kleb, terence millard, peter kannemeyer,colin palm stables backed a first timer you got on and took the 4-6 and 9 times out of ten you collected. mr kleb and pk would tell the public to get on. so we would get on and everybody was happy.

  30. david says:

    Joao just to let you know there are people who have the game taped, but that’s another conversation another day

  31. bob kistnasamy says:

    Joao, like your methodology. Requires a lot of thought and studying. What we also need to understand is that we cannot punt in every race. The maiden races and first time runners do present challenges but rewards are greater.
    It’s a great mindset to develop. Eighty % of the time, the money is not spot on, trainers comments can confuse especially when 5 sources (trainers and jockeys) in the same race advise “strong chances”. We should get hug the guy who labelled racing as a “Mugs’ game”. Wander what was the reason for calling it the”Sport of King”.
    When you go to the betting outlets, a far number are now resorting to soccer betting.

  32. Warrenl says:

    Tarry defends trainers’ right to reserve comments | Turf Talk

    Well done Sean. Very Well put.

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