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Jooste – So Many Questions

Where to from here?

The bomb dropped last week. Leading SA Owner and Breeder, and internationally respected businessman, Markus Jooste resigned from the board of Steinhoff International. His resignation from the boards of Phumelela Gaming & Leisure and Kenilworth Racing followed soon after.

Television shrunk racing and now we almost all know each other – or at least of each other.

Markus and Ingrid Jooste have been SA Owners Of The Year for 10 years in succession and it’s one of those records you know is just never going to get beat.

Ingrid & Markus Jooste – dominant force in SA racing

In racing circles Markus Jooste is recognized by everyone.  Not only a champion owner through the internationally active company Mayfair Speculators, he’s the driving force which shouldered Klawervlei to Champion Breeder status.  He foist Cape Thoroughbred Sales into the limelight with the most valuable race ever run in Africa, the CTS Million Dollar and supported stakes through sponsorships from Gomma Gomma, Sansui and Klawervlei,  in tandem with Investec.

More investments also saw  his name on the racing boards with, now former, directorships in Phumelela and Kenilworth Racing.

There is no doubt that Markus Jooste has had an input on all aspects of racing life at the top level for a good while.

After a very public resignation as CEO of Steinhoff International last week, the mainstream press has trumpeted every fact, rumour and guess.  Very little real information has been provided and many in the cheap seats have almost lost their minds speculating on the fallout that may yet spill over into horseracing.

Over the past five years Jooste and Mayfair has had on average 3 runners each and every day, and over 800 winners;  more than a dozen per month.  With numbers like those, anyone with a heart for racing will be wondering, what happens next?

2014 Hong Kong Champions Mile

Celebrations after the 2014 Hong Kong Champions Mile

The Mayfair horses were purchased widely and distributed to a select, but fairly wide group of trainers.  They run in most centres and populate fields so regularly that punters have gotten  used to several different coloured caps being worn to differentiate the Mayfair runners wearing the same Springbok silks in many races – even though they are not coupled through trainers.

Racing Manager Derek Brugman and Markus Jooste

The scope and breadth of the influence emerges.

Hundreds of racehorses.  Hundreds of broodmares.  All have made a huge impression on the racing landscape.  Stallions, mares, yearlings and racehorses means activities from the breeding shed, via the sales arena to the race track and into the boardroom and beyond for years and years. And suddenly,  now a stunning silence.

The lack of information dissemination is understandable – perhaps even expected. But it is unfortunate, because the speculation becomes rife.

But still, reasonable and practical questions do emerge.

  • What happens to the trainers?
  • Will the fields get smaller?
  • Will some of the horses be sold?
  • What about the Met top two in the betting?
  • Will all the horses be sold?
  • What happens to the farm?
  • What happens to the mares?
  • What happens to the stallions?
  • What happens to the sales?
  • What happens at the sales?
  • What happens to the Phumelela share price?
  • Should anything happen to the Phumelela share price?
  • Does it matter unless you have shares?
  • Who’s business is it anyway?

It is not the way that anybody  would have chosen to close an already difficult year.

The reality is that horseracing is but a component of the apparent widespread fallout.

We watch and wait.

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12 comments on “Jooste – So Many Questions

  1. Ralph Fell. says:

    One afternoon, several months ago, Tellytrack interrupted their normal schedule to screen some arbitrary four horse race from France because Mayfair Speculators had a horse running. Earlier in the day a notice was displayed advising that the race would be screened and wishing Marcus and Ingrid good luck, with exclamation marks et al. For good measure the price, 5/4, was displayed. Several hours before the race? Bottom line – I realised that viewers were force-fed garbage because the instruction had come from ‘on high.’ The sport of kings and …….


    Yes indeed Mr. Fell, I noticed that as well. And force-fed, the Tellytrack viewers certainly are, from on high.

    Where is the spontaneity gone in race-day broadcasting ? The minnows views can be just as tasty and interesting to digest.

    Merry Xmas


  3. marshin10 says:

    one more question.. what happens to anton Marcus ?

  4. Louise Moffat says:

    I have a further question. Where the hell is Markus Jooste at the moment and where is Derek Brugman, nominee for Mayfair Speculators (Pty) Ltd ? Not a peep from either of them since the sh#t hit the fan last week Tuesday. I doubt that Jooste will have the nerve ever to set foot on a South African racecourse again. It has just been announced that criminal charges have now been laid against Jooste by a Fund Managers business. The noose slowly starting to tighten.

  5. Michael Jacobs says:

    There was horseracing before Markus Jooste and there will be horseracing after Markus Jooste. Horseracing- the sport of kings has existed for centuries, even though kings and captains (and charlatans) have come and gone. Racing will proceed,albeit a little bit poorer, but without the tint of corruption and fraud!

    1. Barry Irwin says:

      Michael Jacobs, I wouldn’t be so hasty as to predict that racing will proceed “without the tint of corruption and fraud” unless there is a thorough house cleaning of enablers. That is the challenge to South African racing today.

  6. Brian says:

    The sport is ALWAYS bigger than the man. ALWAYS! And true it is that racing will carry on without him if that happens. So that doesn’t worry me. The only thing I see Anton losing is his retainer. That’s life. As a jockey though, he’s not going to miss a beat. As James Goodman once said, “he’s the consummate professional”. No doubt about that.
    As far as the force-fed Tellytrack is concerned. That is going to happen when you have buddies running the show who know nothing about broadcasting.
    It is always the ultimate shambles

  7. Mark says:

    Whose money was used to purchase those horses, pension fund money of the poor,


    Surely, that’s not an unreasonable question from Mark .

    And then, Blue Peter, in a response on another chat line, suggests that the Racing Hierarchy should give Mr. Jooste SPACE to ‘sort himself out’.

    He says the racing high-rollers always stick together. That’s exactly why racing is dying.

    Moreover, he wishes Mr. Jooste a peaceful and joyous Christmas. I wonder if any of the Pep Stores employees are having a peaceful Xmas..right now ?

    I think, it will be shown, that Mr.Jooste has left a big enough SPACE already on certain balance sheets.

    Make an executive decision…NHRA.

    William Milkovitch

  9. Debby says:

    You can’t gamble in your own Casino ??

  10. Chris Brown says:

    Ironically, Mr Jooste found himself in the winners enclosure at Kenilworth today with his Big Mistake ……….a sign of things to come?

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