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Jockeys Want Pay For Barrier Trials

Owner's Association withdraw their support

Gold Circle CEO Michel Nairac has called on the industry to stop trying to quash every initiative that is introduced for the benefit of the game and to rather try and pull together.

Michel Nairac

Speaking on the Winning Ways show, Nairac said that things were going well all round, with July bookings and planning for their flagship day well advanced. But he warned that the Tote turnover decline remained an alarming aspect.

“We had 100% of the market pre 1996 – we are down to 1% today,” he said.

“We need to do everything to encourage our customers. Some initiatives work – some won’t. Take Barrier Trials – they come with costs, but we need to try and make them work.”

Nairac explained that the sale of the local racing feed to overseas punters had kept the books balanced and paid for local stakes to the tune of R80 million. But they demanded transparent information – like the Barrier Trials.

He advised that the Coastal Jockeys Association had written to him asking to be paid R700 per Barrier Trial..

“That will cost us R500 000 a year which will come straight out of the stakes pot.  We cannot afford that. But I have asked them to come and talk to us and let’s see where we can add value to this good initiative.”

He added that the Independent Owners Association had also withdrawn their support of the Barrier Trials. “They are entitled to change their minds,” he said as Paul Lafferty appeared frustrated at the change of heart.

Paul Lafferty

Paul Lafferty – interesting observations

Barrier Trials became compulsory in KwaZulu-Natal from 1 March, 2018 and were subject to a three-month trial period after which they would be reviewed.

A “round robin” of Gold Circle’s Racing Committee was done last Friday and it was decided that Barrier Trials would continue, subject to a further review at the end of August.

The only dissenting voice on the committee was from the representative of the Independent Owners Association who are not in favour of Barrier Trials.

The Racing Committee also rejected the call by the jockeys for remuneration for riding the trials. The committee agreed that the trials were part and parcel of training and that riding a ‘gallop’ at one of the training centres or in a Barrier Trial amounted to the same thing.

Paul Lafferty said during the Winning Ways interview that Phumelela have kept racing alive in this country. An interesting observation!

Nairac pointed out that racing fans should watch out for an interactive site to be launched this week..

Watch the interview here

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30 comments on “Jockeys Want Pay For Barrier Trials

  1. Jimmy says:

    Why am I not suprised by our little friends who dictate the pace of the game excuse the pun, they the little ones have this sense of entitlement at the detriment of the game.GC are already faced with the challenge of getting the little one to race if KZN has 2 drops of rain.Michel you are in an unenviable position and I would like to take you any amount of money that they get their way!!!

  2. Brian says:

    Would Mr Lafferty expand on his statement that Phumelela “have kept racing alive”‘

  3. Lindy says:

    I don’t see what is wrong with asking for remuneration ,as far as I am aware the conditions of barrier trials are the same as a race .A jockey can be fined or suspended if there is an infringement in the race trial .
    So definitely don’t see why they should not be paid

  4. Pat says:

    I agree with Lindy. What Paul Lafferty fails to mention is that a jockey races under NHA rules for these trials and if any rule is transgressed they will be duly punished. I don’t think the same applies to “gallops” at a training centre.

  5. Brian says:

    If it is considered to be part and parcel of training then can the rules as submitted by you Lindy, actually apply.

    if they do then I fail to see how the defense of “training forwarded can apply

    1. Pat says:

      Rules definitely apply:
      a) CHEEK ON RUN : Not eating up (Trainer – 04 May 2018 / 09:53). Rule 53.5 applies.

      Taken from stipes report 4 May

  6. Ian Jayes says:

    I remember a time when jockeys got a riding-fee and nothing else. They did not get a share of stakes and they rode work every morning and gallops without pay. The money for rides in trials would have to be found somewhere and you can bet it will come out of the stakes pot. Do they really think the owners can continue like this. Wanting to be paid to ride trials is pure greed and their greed will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Perhaps a rule should be made that only the jockey that rode the horse in the trial can ride it in the race.

    1. Editor says:

      That’s a good suggestion Ian – that the Trial jockey gets the ride – at least that makes it worthwhile

  7. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Maybe the Jockeys have seen the wood from the trees. From the amount per ride demanded it seems they are offering a discount, and maybe we should be thanking them for that rather than trying to embarrass them on TV. Its interesting that the costs are now to come out of the stakes pot – does this mean the additional costs ,already incurred and wasted in my opinion, come out of the stakes pot. If so was this communicated to stakeholders as such (please ask the question of Gold Circle ED?)

    the 500k can easily be recovered by a 20% reduction is directors earnings – pie in the sky ideas should have consequences.

    Why is it that only Gold Circle country is compelled by the international picture market to do barrier trails?

    Does that R80m represent the entire revenue contribution from international pictures, i.e. all racing in South Africa?

    1. Editor says:

      Will ask that costs question, Rod

    2. Louis Goosen says:


      The initial press release was clear in that Barrier Trials was a Trainers Assiciation Initiative. Not only do the Jocks refuse to ride without compensation, but there is a meeting tomorrow at Greyville because there are also many Trainers opposed. Trainers claim that not all were consulted. I was not here and cannot comment on that.

      Over all, Gold Circle are trying very hard to make Racing better and also on behalf of Punters. It would be bad to halt the process. At same time, we need to consider the situation of KZN Owners.

      Lets hope that we find the right balance, for the good of Racing.

      1. James George says:

        This is great that Mr. Goosen realises that Gold Circle is trying very hard to make Racing better and also on behalf of Punters
        So will we now be getting comments on the stables first timers?

      2. Roderick Mattheyse says:

        yes Louis one does get a sense that gold circle is trying, but unfortunately this is not grade 3 where everyone gets a certificate for effort. an expensive tool, in barrier trials, has failed, so much so that the CEO has reported that betting pools have continued the downward spiral:

        why not use the funds for barrier trials and put on punter incentives, reward them not with dodgy information, and more data that causes confusion

        maybe it is time to re-invent the wheel

  8. James George says:

    Trainer Paul Lafferty is a member of the Racing Committee that says jockeys should not be paid for riding Barrier Trials as it is part of training.
    Wonder if he also thinks trainers should not be paid extra when they have a winner as that is surely part and parcel of why they are paid to train a horse .

    1. Editor says:

      That rationale not quite clear James – Paul Lafferty is referring specifically to Barrier Trials
      No suggestions that jockeys should work for free, generally

  9. My Frankel says:

    Jockeys in Kwa Zulu Natal receive a riding fee of about R900 per ride and 10 percent of stakes.

    They race twice a week in KZN. Assuming a jockey has 5 rides a meeting in KZN he earns just under R40 000 a month without earning any stakes and presents.Expenses are minimal.

    Not many people earn a minimum gross revenue of approximately R40 000 a month for eight days work a month.

    The KZN jockeys have no regard for anyone except themselves. Gold Circle needs to stop giving sheltered employment to jockeys. Jockeys should no longer receive a riding fee and a percentage of stakes from Gold Circle. The issue of a riding fee and stakes must be left to owners and jockeys. Let a free market and capitalism reign. This sport needs a major shake up.

    1. Jimmy says:

      Spot on !!

    2. Roderick Mattheyse says:

      using your assumption of R900 per ride and 10% of win stakes and 7% of place stakes only 8 natal based jockeys earn an average of 40K or more a month.

      then comes the costs of medical and disability insurance, travel ,equipment agents commission and telephone.

      the top 6 are between R100k and R225k

      so this riding fee for the journeyman type jocks is important

  10. B d steele says:

    Why not use the appies from the academy.Im sure they would jump at the opportunity offered and gain some useful experience at the same time.

  11. Sandhiran says:

    Instead of worrying of barrier trials they should worry about the decline and interest in kzn racing . Everyone plans for one day at Gold Circle – Durban July . Nothing gets done to improve the game . Directors get paid a fat salary . I wonder what will happen if tab branches start to close in Durban and the impact thereof.

    1. Yugen says:


  12. Geoff says:

    From an owners point of view , I am getting to the stage where I am seriously thinking of cutting my losses and getting out of racing . As an owner you are on a hiding to nothing and at best you might , with a bit of luck , break even !! From exorbitant vet bills , certain trainers who tell half truths about a horses abilities , jockeys percentages , grooms percentage etc.etc. Where does the greed end. Apart from the top 15 to 20 jockeys , the rest are average to unemployable , yet the jockeys make demands !! Top Jockeys invariably don’t need race instructions but as the for the rest they are incapable of following instructions let alone have a plan B in the event of …!

    I have seen some big owners come and go because as an Owner , once you have bought a horse you are then relegated to the back of the bus ( food chain ) . For all your money invested you get to stand in the parade ring and get your 30 seconds of glory if you are lucky enough to lead in a winner !! Big deal !!

    This industry , I believe , is in serious trouble and unless the rights of Owners are not addressed then good luck to those that are left.

    A mixed panel of concerned individuals needs to be assembled to discuss the way forward , and not the usual faces that have protected employment .

  13. Dave Russell says:

    This brings up another issue I have. Why is it that certain jocks make no effort at all to come back for post race interviews. Why not make post race interviews compulsory as part and parcel of earning your riding fee. Besides assisting punters I just think these interviews give the public a chance to really get to know the people/ characters involved in the industry thereby keeping up interest in racing. Everyone has a vested in trying to keep alive the interest in the sport

  14. Dave Russell says:

    The 40th best jockey in the country in terms of number of winners (21) for the current season has the following stats as at 21 May:

    403 rides @ R900 = R362 700, total stakes earned R2618250 @ 8% ave say = R209460. Total R572 160 over +-10 months = R57 216 pm. Based on the assumptions above.

    Not too shabby for a guy with a 5% win strike rate

    1. Roderick Mattheyse says:

      I am not trying to make a case for jockeys as i do feel as a collective they get the most out of the industry, but trying to lay blame for a failing barrier trial system is not on – and they do deserve to get paid for what they do. Like all racing jurisdictions the top few make all the cash.

      i wonder what the top 1/3 of any job with 35 years experience pays

      the average monthly earnings for jockeys year to date is circa R49k – but the mean is a more sobering R23k – before any of their costs

      the top 30 average is R127K with a mean of R113k – which equates to a good job if you can get it.

      I dont think we should use what jockeys earn as a basis to get them to do it for free, the implementation of barrier trials was not thought out properly and therefore implementation was going to be an issue – it was a matter of time…. the warning signs were there when trainers could not agree on what unanimous meant. The latest survey done will show how far off the mark they were.

      I am not against barrier trials, as the results for me, personally, have been good. But it is not a punters tool and declining pools show this

      1. Rian says:

        I agree they should get paid
        Are the jocks paid in Asia and Australia ????

  15. Ugie says:

    I am to believe that the barrier trials are more used by certain trainers to sell their horses that are bought on spec to potential owners rather than for the advancement of the sport. Why is barrier trial so important in KZN and not in other centres.

  16. Wayne Fouche says:

    Mr. Nairac only has to look at the 2 Greyville race tracks and the quality of horse that generally runs on them to understand (as if he does not already know) why KZN has only 1% of the pie.

    With regard to barrier trails IMHO they are a waste of time.

  17. Don says:

    The sixth plenary session of the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul tackled the very ever-pressing issue of integrity, both in sport in general and more specifically in racing.
    “We may think that the threat is external, but the threat is from within,” said Prof Anderson. “Insider information is the key integrity threat. It can manipulate betting markets, putting the integrity of the sport, and of the brand, at stake. Educating jockeys or players is key. There is a demand for information – so how does one stop the supply? You cut off that supply by educating the jockeys or the players.”

  18. Mashie says:

    The jockeys are over paid as it is and are the FIRST to cry off when the track is a bit wet etc. A barrier trial is not too different from a gallop at ‘home with companions. I assume these little princesses will want to be paid to ride work soon too

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