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RA Trumps Sporting Post

"No obligation to answer" says Larry

Larry Wainstein (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Larry Wainstein (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

RA CEO Wainstein’s recent statement that the increased stakes for this year’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Sun Met came from the RA (“That money does not come from the sponsors. When a request was made to up the stakes on those races the guys came to me to see if we could afford it”) raised questions in a number of quarters.

Questions, questions

On 8 February 2017, we emailed the RA asking who serves on the stakes committee (if there is such a thing) and who made the decision to up the Queen’s Plate and Met stakes. After receiving a letter regarding Industry Liaison Meetings and the representation of Grooms Associations on the ILM, we enquired as to the RA’s role and involvement in that capacity as well.

The RA’s Merle Parker responded to ask that the queries be directed to Mr Wainstein as he is handling media inquiries directly, which we did. Following additional reader queries regarding the stakes issue, we followed up with a second email dated 9 February 2017.

With no response forthcoming, we followed up again on 6 March 2017 with the following:-

As advised by Merle Parker, I am contacting you in your capacity as media liaison.

Firstly, a follow up to my email of 9 February with regards to Stakes (and another request / reminder for a copy of the stakes agreement that you promised previously). The query was to ask who serves on the stakes committee and also to clarify your statement that the cash to raise the stake for both the Queen’s Plate and Met has come from RA coffers – is that correct or is it not?

Secondly, I am enquiring with regards to Industry Liaison meetings. It seems some information has got onto the African Betting Clan. Notwithstanding whatever the fuss is about, I’ll repeat my question of a few weeks ago as to why Industry Liaison meetings are an RA function and why are they exclusively chaired and controlled by the RA?

Why is the content of Industry Liaison meetings confidential?

Thirdly, I believe it was a Government mandate that grooms’ associations be represented at Industry Liaison meetings – why do they not attend?

The RA Responds

On 7 March 2017, Mr Wainstein, in his capacity of CEO of the Racing Association, furnished us with the following:-

In response to your email of 6 March 2017 I wish to respond as follows:

· The Boards of the Racing Association and the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust have both taken a decision not to interact with the Sporting Post.

· The reason for the decisions by these Boards is due to the fact that in their opinion, the Sporting Post chooses to publish mostly sensational and unsubstantiated articles based on the opinions of persons who are negative towards the sport of racing.

· Further, these two Boards do not respond to other social media platforms whose main purpose is to criticise, make personal innuendoes and insult persons dedicated to all aspects of the industry.

· I wish to place on record that I am answerable to the RA Board and to the RA members only and further, to make it clear that I am under no obligation to answer to you or the Sporting Post.

What To Make Of It

Mr Wainstein’s response is disappointing as via the relationship between Phumelela, the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust and the RA, Mr Wainstein is directly responsible for the management and administration of stakes. As the RA is allegedly also taking charge of Industry Liaison Meetings, he is also in the driving seat as far as this function is concerned.

The racing community funds the RA (and its salary bill) partly with membership fees, but mostly by way of contributions from our nomination and acceptance monies (approx R10 million annually). That means that the RA is funded by any colour holder who has ever paid nomination or acceptance fees for horses running anywhere in the country (with the exception of KZN), regardless of whether they are an RA member or not. That is as compelling a reason as any to regard this organisation as not only a servant to owners, but also accountable to all owners for their actions.

Secondly, the RA acts in an administrative capacity for the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust (usually referred to as the Racing Trust). The Trust is funded by the dividends it earns from its controlling shares in Phumelela. The Trust is paid those dividends with the mandate of safeguarding the interests of racing. The Trust is run by a board which, according to the latest RA Annual Report, currently constitutes Brian Finch (Chairman), Johann du Plessis, Mark Currie, Chris Gerber, Louis du Preez, Gideon Sam and Vinesh Maharaj. Five of the Trustees are nominated by the RA and two by SASCOC.

Between the Racing Trust and therefore by default, the Racing Association, they administer the all important Stakes Agreement with Phumelela, which controls the level of stakes.

Altogether a pretty compelling reason to expect transparency.

Have Your Say

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25 comments on “RA Trumps Sporting Post

  1. “the Sporting Post chooses to publish mostly sensational and unsubstantiated articles” …..”whose main purpose is to criticise, make personal innuendoes and insult persons”

    Shame on you, Mr. Wainstein.

    So you and these Boards cannot or don’t want to understand the concept of positive criticism ?

    Shame on you, Sir !

    William Milkovitch

  2. Steve Reid says:

    So the Sporting Post are now official members of the “bad for racing” club, welcome. The simple truth of the matter is that Larry and his motley crew have been avoiding answering questions related to finances for many years now. This is well documented. There can only be one reason why legitimate questions are not answered. RA members do not have the balls or the will to challenge the status quo of the pigs at the trough. A blatant abuse, and one highlighted before by other persons, are the costs of the perfunctory RA website. Costs of running this amatuer show are listed at more than R600K per annum. It could be done at less than a tenth of that price. This is but one of many very clear examples of poor corporate management of RA funding.

    “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  3. Kim Jong-in says:

    As per the Constitution of South Africa

    Freedom of expression 16. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes—

    (a) freedom of the press and other media;

    (b) freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
    (c) freedom of artistic creativity;
    (d) academic freedom and freedom of scientific research

    Thank You Robyn for asking the questions , but that’s all you can do.

    If the Board do not feel to answer, well that is their right .However it does not confirm confidence to how the industry is being run.

  4. Jess K says:

    Many have been saying it for ages. A forensic audit of the RA, which would obviously include the Trust, is needed. The question is who is willing to instigate such a move and to fund it at the risk of being discredited and threatened ?

  5. Brian says:

    Wow! Silence here. Mr Maselle must be on holiday. I would love to know if they don’t talk to SP, who do they talk to? The reasons offered in he relevant paragraph are laughable! Keep at it Ed. I really believe you should be more hard hitting as you know. Just short of sensationalist, sadly, which you are not.

  6. Ralph Fell. says:

    Majoriry of TAB outlets squalid. Tellytrack a joke. Betting World outlets: See TAB outlets. Race courses: See TAB & BW outlets. Further, race course attendance sparse. Clyde Basel carping in a petulant manner that he will ask NHA to investigate alleged derogatory comments on social media. Above equals suits interested solely in self gratification/enrichment whilst long suffering punters experience mediocrity on an industrial scale. And ‘they’ want to attract the younger generation to this monument of dereliction?

  7. Brian says:

    TAB outlets, agree. Tellytrack, partially agree. I’ve never met this Rob guy who’s the boss of Tellytrack but I did see the interview some time back with Lafferty & Goodman. The reality is they are not a television channel, as Scott said, they are a betting channel. It began as a visual add on to TAB outlets where before they just had audio commentary, in fact, initially, one had to pay Multichoice or whoever it was, to watch Tellytrack back then and clearly it was never meant to be a TV channel in the true sense of the TV world. Their professionalism is badly lacking, Andrew Bonn wasn’t even sure of the TAB rules in respect of place bets yesterday. I’ve always maintained “less is more” and that Tellytrack will only realise when they decide what their identity is, TV channel or betting. Right now they are doing both badly. What should be happening is that Tellytrack should be controlling the feeds from the courses, which clearly they are not, and I’m not sure if that is technically possible. I also don’t know if they have the staff with skills to do that either. That way there won’t be the 30 second delay which is still in this day and age unacceptable but in fairness, I don’t think Tellytrack has control of that which, again, is why they should have.

    I have been a strong critic of Tellytrack but I know guys like Glen are really trying hard and credit must go where it is due.

    In respect of course attendance I would submit that even Rugby is down in live attendance and, speaking of Kings Park in this case, It’s become boring. There’s just not enough atmosphere at a race track to entice live attendance. A 60 second race which everyone watches on the Telly anyhow and back to your beer. What to do I don’t really know but worse, whoever’s running the show at tracks these days also, has less than no clue. They’re great at patting themselves on the back though.

    I truly believe that it was better in the old club days and Ralph, you have a point, the suits have taken over whereas in the old days, and I’m talking about my favourite course Scottsville, guys like Bill Lambert and his fellow stewards were there for horse racing and the love of it.

  8. Gavs says:

    The cheek of LW and his board. Maybe I should be careful because it is known that the RA directors did not meet and authorise LW to send the letter to SP. The dictator has spoken. I suggest that an audit be done on LW as he is the RA in a red shiny suit.

  9. Ian Jayes says:

    Wainstein would not recognise transparency if he was hit over the head with it. He does what he is told to do. We also never thought we would ever see Gestapo-like security guards at RA meetings ,but we did at the meeting petitioned by the “Concerned Owners” of which Wainstein was a part and which he chose to betray and get onto the RA board. The rest is history.

  10. Brian Burnard says:

    Wow im sitting here in KZN reading all the s**t being thrown around, and
    wonder why people dont want to understand that the OWNERS collectively hold the power to fix that that is broken, and yet total silence from that quarter.Get up
    Guys and Dolls and do something.

  11. Ian says:

    Mr Wainstein has once again demonstrated his lack of professionalism, competency and aptitude for the position he holds – once a puppet always a puppet.

  12. Brett Maselle says:

    Larry Wainstein and his band of merry supporters took the unprecedented step to call a special general meeting of the RA to remove me as a RA member. I received a letter that the meeting would be held on 25 November 2009 at 16h00. I addressed an email to Larry Wainstein on 3 November 2009 and in it informed him that it was unfortunate that the date of 25th November 2009 was chosen to hold the meeting as my daughter,who was then 10 years of age, had been scheduled for a medical procedure on the said date. I informed him that the procedure was anticipated to last 2 hours and to take place in the afternoon of the 25th November 2009. I also said that I did not know if I would make the meeting in time and that my priorities were obviously with my daughter. I asked whether the RA would consider waiting for me to attend the special general meeting before commencing with the meeting. I believed my request to be reasonable and asked to know his and the RA position on the issue. Larry Wainstein knew that the medical procedure was serious and related to my daughters heart condition as we had on previous occasions – when partners in racehorses – discussed her well being and how it had affected me. I received a reply effectively stating that the meeting will go ahead at the scheduled time and was told that the RA had been given advice on the procedure to follow. Who would ever want to be part of an Association that has such callous and heartless directors? Not me. I resigned as a member of the RA during the morning of 25th November 2009. With me gone, Larry Wainstein and his merry men could carry on their conduct to their hearts content. Since I resigned the vote could not take place. I was no longer a member of this rude association. Talking about following proper procedure …despite having resigned as a member of the Racing Association, Larry Wainstein as Chairman and Acting CEO took it upon himself to publish ‘the results’ of proxies received in favour, against and abstaining. Drek Brugman, as director of the RA, published figures of ‘the result’ of proxies received on the internet. Again at the RA AGM ‘the results’ of proxies received in favour, against and abstaining regarding the resolution were published. It was apparent that Larry Wainstein and the RA’s board of directors had acted with malice to ruin my name and integrity. The RA is a joke of an association. Larry Wainstein is the butt of many jokes on and off the racecourse. It is such a pity that he does not know that RA directors and many others cannot stand the sight of him. Trust me, if I had assaulted someone on the racecourse like Larry Wainstein did and I was a member of the RA, the RA would have taken steps to remove me immediately. From now on the less said about the man, the better. Horseracing must live with the monster it has created.

  13. Jùrgs says:

    As a member of the newly formed KZN owners association I can only endorse what Buffalo Bill has to say. Gauteng and Cape owners take back what should be yours in the first place! Brian is correct in the sense that we as owners should be in control of how things are run. The illusion that the Racing Association acts on behalf of the interests of owners is as false as Larry’s teeth

    1. Ian Jayes says:

      Unlike its predecessor the OTA, once the RA allowed proxies to be used this was inevitable. Individual owners don’t count in the grand scheme of things and vested interests through their minions rule the roost.

  14. Warren Laird says:

    Hi Brian
    Although I tend to agree with you ,I need to express that it easier said than done. A few of us have been fighting this fight for many years . The main lesson learnt is we lack leadership and support, there are lots of armchair supporters but when the crunch comes nobody is around.

    So we then look to the boards of most of the entities for assistance and guidance only to find that the fish rots from the head.

    We sometimes expect the board members to realise the rather obvious but for some reason it never hits home.

    If you have ever attended a RA Agm in Johannesburg under this administration then you would understand.

    You get insulted ,not taken seriously ,ganged up upon ,embarrassed – ask Mr Jayes – the way he gets treated is embarrassing to tell you truth .

    However not one Director will ever stand up for you. One gets steam rolled, items on the Agenda get Rushed through and seconded before you can blink.

    As an owner the best is as my advocate friend says Live with the monster we have created.

    Until then we carry on and believe in ourselves and hope that one day board members will be board members.

    1. Ian Jayes says:

      I have recently published my autobiography titled “Footsteps, Heartbeats and Hoofbeats” and I have recorded all the disgraceful conduct that I have experienced and been the victim of in horseracing. For those that are interested, the book is published through Amazon.

      1. Warren Laird says:

        Congratulations Mr Jayes

  15. Brian Burnard says:

    HI Warren
    There is always some rationale somewhere to be found in such dismal situations, and Owners should search for it, and when it is found, latch on and expand it.

    1. Warren Laird says:

      Thanks Brian –

      I wish we had the energy and the will. This is an organization unto themselves unfortunately .

      I have already in the last six month , been threatened to be banned from all race courses , chopped off at he knees and have my colours taken away , because I voiced my opinion and that was only comments made on social media – can you imagine face to face . This is why we rearly go racing or sales anymore .

      Some of the old guard are also keeping a few horses in training with the intention to fizzle out eventually. Personally I have cut down from 40 shares to about 15 just this year – as its just not worth it any more.

      The day Horse Racing in South Africa see the CEO as a Liability and Not an Asset – things may change until then – we have been there and done that.

      All The Best

  16. James George says:

    “It is the collective and unanimous view of the Board of the Racing Association that transparency is imperative within all aspects of the Racing Association’s structures”
    .The Directors welcome both Members and other stake holders to engage with them at all times and emphasises its “open door” policy.(Statement by RA in 2015)
    That was then.But now….
    . “I (Larry Wainstein CEO Racing Association) wish to place on record that I am answerable to the RA Board and to the RA members only and further, to make it clear that I am under no obligation to answer to you or the Sporting Post”(2017).
    Whose sick joke was it to name a noble animal( a racehorse) President Trump..


    And remember, the SP didn’t ask Mr. Wainstein to answer to issues like poor tote facilities, broken services from Tellytrack, poor condition of certain racetracks, etc etc.

    A civil request for an answer and/or explanation about stake money and sponsors…that’s it.

    Moreover, it was Mr. Wainstein who brought this “to the table”, his own words.

    Now, be it at award ceremonies, presentations on course and the general promotion of this sport, it’s LW that the general viewing public often see.

    Mr. Wainstein now has shown his true colours. Even more scary is the level of his mentality displayed.

    What I draw from his response is that the general racing public is regarded as troublemakers …but we’d love you to join the racing scene but just “shut it”!

    Happy days

    William Milkovitch

  18. Andrew Linder says:

    I reckon every single member of the RA should write to Wainstein and ask exactly the same questions.

    Wainstein has been running his not-so-little racket for way too long with almost no accountability to anyone, not least his own association’s members (they seem only to be the means to and end). He has therefore pretty much always been a dictator.

    He needs to remember that his members pay his salary.

    Looking at his response above, I wonder if he’s a card-carrying member of the ANC (Alliance for Nepotism and Corruption) – certainly sounds that way.

  19. Shaheen Shaw says:

    They are a terribly arrogant clique. Sadly, they are so hoisted by their own petard that they couldn’t care two hoots what anyone thinks.

  20. Louis Goosen says:

    Well, this is a very emotional topic/thread, which I have just come across.

    On the one hand, I must say that I have not renewed my membership ( of long standing ) with RA.
    I have been singled our for serious “punishment”, after writing a letter; which included pictures showing the poor state of the floats which took horses to races. (After two years of bringing this up in Liaison Meetings, with no progress, I then wrote a letter to Directors etc – the result – floats repaired in two weeks) I was banned and am still banned from attending the RA’s Industry Liaison Committee meetings, in spite of being the duly elected Vaal TrainersRepresentative and Chairman of the Vaal Committees. I am a willing member of Brian Burnard’s Association, should it branch out to Gauteng and am sure that many of my colleagues and Owners will be too…

    On the other hand, I am concerned that, whilst there are faults which can be rectified, there are also many positives. The bottom line remains that we do live in very difficult times and that I just do not have the knowledge nor all of the answers, in order to make Racing better. There is a complex financial World out there and there are people far more qualified than myself; who make decisions. Those decisions are tough, ether way and it is easy to find fault, to criticise and to point fingers. The difficult part, lies in making the right decisions for Racing. Where would our stakes be, if these were ONLY derived from the turnovers on Horseracing ? About 50 percent of current ?

    Finally, I can understand the RA’s position on S.Post. As much as I like S.Post and have been a supporter for many years, I was quite astounded by the article which chastised myself and put me a close second behind Stuart Pettigrew, in the infamous ” awards” re talking about our first timers. That article was out of line, was devoid of fact, was completely biased and was in fact nothing but poor journalism.

    All that I did was to ask them to call on raceday, after I had done my runners PCV’s ( bloods), so that I could be more accurate. But, because of some lazy journalist, who wanted the info beforehand, I was “labelled”….

    So , you see, S.Post has done it’s share to upset many in Racing. Surely you cannot go around continuously slating someone or somebody unfairly and without all of the facts and then expect them to jump to attention and cooperate with you at your next call….

    So, yes, I am not a RA fan.
    And no, I cannot guarantee u that I could do a better job than Larry and the Board, in these tough times.

    But if I were Larry and the RA board, I would respond exactly as they have.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Louis

      It is interesting that despite also apparently having been on the receiving end of the heavy handed approach – “”I have been singled our for serious “punishment”, after writing a letter; which included pictures showing the poor state of the floats which took horses to races…”, that you continue to support the approach and communications philosophy adopted by them.

      But it’s a free world and that’s your choice.

      As for the article that you suggest ‘chastised’ you and which ‘was out of line, was devoid of fact, was completely biased and was in fact nothing but poor journalism’, we would argue your deduction and draw your attention to the fact that it was based on a list provided by Gold Circle advising which trainers would not be commenting.

      We quote again:
      ” 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.”

      The facts were stated by the writer and we fail to see any chastisement in the above reference to you.


      What was included was a comment by a poster ‘Speedyvar’ who lightheartedly rated the trainers on their first timer comment approach as seen by him as a punter. If you take exception to that, then maybe you are in the wrong game.

      We remain the only independent racing media and have been fiercely fair to all sides involved.

      When the truth is labelled as sensation or bias, is the problem really of our making?

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