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Are You Being Served?

Big Cheques And Hot Potatoes

Butler (photo: Pixabay)

Are you being served? (photo: Pixabay)

Floating around the internet is a little joke which goes like this:-

“I became confused when I heard the word “Service” used with these agencies:

South African Revenue “Service”, South African Postal “Service”, Telkom telephone “Service”, South African Police “Service”, Civil “Service”, MTN / Vodacom / Cell C / Virgin / DSTV Customer “Service”. This is not what I thought “Service” meant.

Then today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had hired a bull to “Service” a few cows. BAM! It all came into focus. Now I understand what all those agencies are doing to us. No Longer Confused!”

This joke sprang to mind with the latest crises (we seem to get them in bulk these days) to hit racing. First was the announcement of an incease in the stakes portion for trainers in “Phumelela country” from the long-standing 7% to 10%. Second was the Grooms’ strike at Randjes – and subsequently the Vaal – losing us not only sleep, but turnover and in the case of Mike de Kock, several unwanted blood pressure points.

For the record, I have absolutely no issue with what trainers charge, or what people choose to pay. You can never pay too little for poor service, or too much for good service. It’s a free society and business is decided on a supply and demand basis. As long as both parties understand and agree upfront (consent being a bit of a buzz word these days), then I’m all for it.

However, two things interest me about these latest episodes. First is the statement that “neither the Racing Association nor Phumelela will entertain explaining to owners why an increase has been implemented”. Second is the reaction to the strike – or in some quarters, lack of it – which raised the question, just who exactly is in charge? And while it’s clear that we are in trouble – and lots of it – what is less clear is who steered us there and, much more importantly, who is going to guide us out?

How does it all work?

Horses cost a lot of money

I admit to not always being the fastest off the mark when it comes to things like this, but I’m confused. Firstly, how in the name of all things holy can both the RA and Phumelela have the brazen cheek to tell the industry at large what they will or will not ‘entertain’ discussing? Secondly, to my mind the issue here should be stakes in general – arguing over the trainers’ slice of an ever diminishing pie, seems rather like rearranging the deck chairs while the Titanic sinks. The issue is the pie, not the portion. So perhaps if we examine the pie, things might get a bit clearer.

Let’s take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture.

Phumelela generates money from offering betting on racing. It is probably worth a mention that they got their Tote license free, gratis and verniet as part and parcel when they took over the business of running racing. Secondly, racing is largely conducted on facilities that were similarly gift-wrapped and handed to the operator on a silver platter during the corporatisation process.

There is always lively debate as to who ‘funds’ racing. The answer, like most things in life, is not straightforward.

Who Funds Racing?

Racehorses are bought and paid for by owners. The horses also have their keep, vet, farrier, dentist, physio etc bills paid for by owners. Owners pay the jockeys who ride their horses. Thanks to one of the many amendments to the Stakes Agreement, owners even pay for their horses’ transport to and from the race track. And these are just the standard running costs and are payable whether the horse ever wins a race or not.

Should the miserable creature ever earn a cheque (and we know that around 30% of horses will ever win a race and only 3% will ever win a stakes race) – before the owner sees any reward for all that outlay, his stake is docked at source by 10% for the trainer (if you are in Gold Circle or Phumelela-country), 10% for the jockey and 1% for the groom.

Where Do Stakes Come From?

Think

Thank you, betting public!

Now let’s take a little look at that stake cheque. We know sponsorships are few and far between, so the majority of that money has to be derived from turnover.

We know that the Operator generates turnover from the money the betting public chooses to wager on racing (in case we don’t say this often enough – and I don’t think we do – THANK YOU, BETTING PUBLIC ! !). Racing, as we have just established, is kindly made possible by the generosity of owners providing firstly their facilities to train and race on, and secondly, their horses as fodder to do the training and racing. So it would not be unfair to say that owners pull their weight in terms of giving the Operators the means to offer their betting product, alongside our friendly punters who regularly empty out their pockets to give racehorse owners the incentive to do so.

Now let’s examine that a little further. As per page 73 of the latest Phumelela Annual Report (freely available for download), Phumelela posted a nett income of R1.552 billion for the period under review.

That’s pretty great, right? Well, maybe, but maybe not. Let’s look at a few expenses and how they stack up.

Doing the maths

Weighing up the worth

Weighing it up

As per page 120 of the same report, Phumelela devoted R390 million (25% of its income) to paying its employees (of which there are an estimated 1500 in total). While that’s not the end of the world (most people realise that staff is normally the biggest expenditure), approximately R65,178 million (or 16% of the total company income) is spent on emoluments for ‘Directors and Prescribed Officers’ alone.

The 10 Non Executive Directors alone (MP Malungani, R Cooper, BP Finch, MJ Jooste, B Kantor, SKC Khampepe, NJ Mboweni, E Nkosi, CJH van Niekerk and JB Walters) account for R2,484 million – up from the previous year’s R2,357 million.

But wait, there’s more. Between them, our 7 Executive Directors account for R49,080 million (more than double the 2016 figure of R23,789 million). Including basic salary; retirement, medical, accident and health benefits; and Bonuses and performance-related payments, CEO Rian du Plessis took home R6,580 million (up 52% from the previous year’s R4,320), plus R2,870 million in share-based payment expenses for a total of R9,450 million. COO and Group Finance Director Andreas Heide accounted for a R3,485 million basic (up 44% from R2,411 million in 2016), plus R7,192 million in share options and R64,000 share-based payment expenses for a total of R10,741 million. Executive Director: Sports Betting Vee Moodley took home a basic of R3,573 million (up 35% from R2,644), plus R6,090 million in share options and R57,000 in share-based payment expenses for a total of R9,722 million.

Executive Director Mpho Ramafalo took home a basic of R2,029 million (up 20% from last year’s R1,686 million), share options of R4,698 million and share-based payment expenses of R44,000 for a total of R6,771 million.

Executive Director: International Operations John Stuart earned a basic of R3,042 million (up 35% from R2,247 million), share options of R6,455 million and share-based payment expenses of R57,000 for a total of R9,554 million.

Also listed are two ‘Prescribed Officers’ in Clyde Basel (Racing Executive) and CFO BK McLoughlin, who took home a combined R16,098 million. Clyde took home a basic of R2,930 million (up 42% from R2,064 million in 2016), share options of R6,090 million and share based payment expenses of R57,000 for a total of R9,077 million.

CFO McLoughlin earned a basic of R2,183 million (up 35% from R1,612 million), share options of R4,795 million and share based payment expenses of R43,000 for a total of R7,021 million.

And that’s without the various off balance sheet remunerations from auxiliary services.

We should probably also make mention of the fact that for the period listed, Phumelela paid out R86,9 million in shareholder dividends (up 17% from R74,5 million in 2016). There are obviously a number of other expenses to account for as well, but just between paying directors and keeping shareholders happy, Phumelela paid out a cool R152,078 million.

While our top brass received double digit increases, our stakes pot also got a little love and went up to R208,756 million – however, at a rather underwhelming 3% up on R202,871 million in 2016. Hmmm.

Stakes

The Stakes Pot

In terms of that stakes pot allocation, we need to give the Racing Trust a little mention, as it is the major shareholder in Phumelela. Although its shareholding has been substantially diluted thanks to its role in the Supabets deal, it still receives a handsome dividends cheque on an annual basis. While these funds are earmarked for a rather motley collection of racing endeavours (of which the general public generally hears nothing), it also contributes a mystery sum to the stakes pot. As I understand it (and I acknowledge that my understanding may be incorrect as no-one seems forthcoming about explaining the specifics) this sum is determined through negotiation between the RA and Phumelela.

Why the RA? Because the RA handles the Trust’s admin. The RA also negotiates the Stakes Agreement with Phumelela. So therefore, Larry Wainstein, in his capacity as RA CEO, is directly and intimately involved in how much money gets allocated to stakes.

As the CEO, Larry is remunerated R3 million per annum for the privilege. As we have just established, via its position as the administration arm of the Racing Trust and the Stakes Agreement, the RA is responsible for negotiating the annual stakes portion from Phumelela every year.

So here we have the two entities, who are jointly responsible for stakes, and paid handsomely to perform their duties, refusing to discuss a matter pertaining to stakes. Am I the only one with my eyeballs in spasm?

Pie

Cow (photo: Tookapic)

Are we being served? (photo: Tookapic)

So getting back to that pie. The grooms have negotiated an extra R250/week, which amounts to an extra R12k/year per groom. Trainers have negotiated an extra R6,2 million from the stakes pot. Split across the currently registered 157 trainers, that translates to an extra R40k/year per trainer (assuming they aren’t already charging it). But either way, it pales in comparison with the R65,178 million a year Phumelela spends on executives.

As I said, I have peace with what people want to charge for their services as long as they provide value for money. But when the very people tasked to manage our sport take home 16% of the annual income while the industry is crippled by protests, health and safety concerns, integrity issues and a stud book crisis, one can’t help wondering whether we are being served or ‘serviced’?

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38 comments on “Are You Being Served?

  1. Sorry4You says:

    Wow, what can one say after this post!??? I for one are flabbergasted !!

  2. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    as I have said before, this industry cannot sustain shareholders

  3. Preston says:

    Nice article Robyn L. I am just glad I sold my holding in PHM. Problems in a company are like cockroaches in the kitchen. You will never find just find one (Warren Buffet qoute). I wonder what matrix was used to justified those increase.

  4. Grant Maroun says:

    Unbelievable trainers and owners battling to survive and this is why. We had to deal with the EFF today on the grooms issue. this is the real reason why owners and trainers can’t afford to pay our grooms absolute disgrace

  5. Space Invader says:

    The phrase robbing Peter to pay Paul springs to mind.

    The sport of kings needs an honourable Robin Hood to joust out all of the Markus Jooste old guard.

  6. beatle says:

    Can this article please be given to the protesters so they know who to take up their demands with – not the owners – not the jockeys – not the trainers – shareholders are the problem

  7. HIH Count of Konigsberg. says:

    Says a lot about their Remuneration Committee ! Well written article Robyn.

  8. Charles Savage says:

    Another cracking article from Robyn who deserves so much more for her brave journalism, saying it as it is and highlighting so clearly how poorly the industry is led despite being paid so well for so long… Once again I have little doubt her passionate pursuit of the truth and rallying call for action will fall on deaf ears. What a sham.

  9. Sean says:

    Okay now I understand why staff from Betting World and the Tote don’t do their jobs, except for playing on their cell phones. Continue unabated, as those salaries depicted above are disgraceful. the Operator generates turnover from the money the betting public …That’s for the “Ticky” punter, Mr Bruss!!!

  10. Johno says:

    This is probably “the” most disgusting captured industry in SA I have ever read about.. to think that I have supported this with hard earned money as an owner makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.. it will not carry on us owners will make sure of that!

  11. Pat says:

    An excellent article. These figures are mind-boggling. How do they justify these salaries and at the same time discontinue paying transport costs for horses travelling to racecourse venues.

  12. As I posted on my Twitter feed last night ….

    To say that I am apoplectic, about some of the figures quoted in this article, would be an understatement!

  13. Danjay says:

    What an awesome informative article….is there anyway to send this article to the protesters…so they really no the truth…I am totally shocked with the revelations in this article…the fat cats will continue to get rich while the minions try to survive…so which task team will investigate this capture????? Disgraceful…….

  14. Ian Jayes says:

    What is abundantly clear, is that if racing had stayed under the stewards system, without these ridiculous directors’ emoluments and staff salaries and perks and paid the same tax as Phumelela does, stakes would be double what they are. It is mind-boggling that so many otherwise intelligent people could not see that “corporatisation” was nothing more than an asset-grab of obscene proportions.

  15. Sorry4You says:

    Here is the thing, do we keep writing about this or do we get up and do something about it?? The question is what can we do about it?? Who are we in the scheme of things?? The big players are all involved one way or the other!? I do not see any of them writing anything on these posted figures…. Extreme measures are available to all the small owners….. But will everyone stand together, can we afford to boycott racing until something is done?? When these giants turnovers drop they quickly sit up straight!! Can we as small insignificant owners race our horses on a track not belonging to these guys?? Are there such an option? Maybe it is time to break away from this structure that is clearly not working for any of the small owners or trainers ?? Maybe then and only then can we get something to change! I have seen more impossible things happen than this in history….. Will all the owners and trainers stand up????? Brian Burnard set up an owners association in KZN, is that still going?

  16. Nadine says:

    And its these Fat Cats with massive salaries at the end of the month that tell u to sort the wage issues out with the grooms aswell as the trainers percentages.What are they doing to help the trainers,the owners and the grooms.They have even dropped the stakes money without making the owners aware.No wonder so many owners have left this industry.Absolute Disgrace.

  17. Chris Swart says:

    George Orwell

    Animal Farm

    All animals are equal but some more equal than others.

    One of the leading owners told me if a horse won one race, it paid it’s expenses for a year.
    Now it needs to win three.

    To get back to anywhere near equality and meet supply and demand, the stakes need to increase 66%.

    Agreeing to a transport deal that takes R6m out of the pot
    Fat cat salaries
    Nepotism
    Sectional timing

    There are too many pigs at the trough and too little food for the rest.

    Unless there’s a revolution, everything will remain the same.
    It is high time owners do not authorise trainers to act on their behalf and stage a boycott.
    Boycott racing, have all meetings abandoned until the boards of the relevant arms account for their Caligulan appetite and actions.

    There needs to be momentum and change and if the most aggrieved have shown the anger and resolve to enforce financial imbalance, there is absolutely no reason why the investor that has their intellectual property broadcast for the operator’s financial gain should lose money.

    Owners and trainers need to make a stand and redress this by removing the ineptocracy

  18. Ralph Fell. says:

    Sir, Having intimate knowledge of a corporate bookmaker, until recently trainee clerks were offered a starting salary of R3000 – R4000 per month. Many, desperate for employment, would accept this pittance. Their transport costs, I.e. kwela taxi, could well be R900+ per month, and considerably more if night meetings are involved. Yet the fat cats, they know who they are, could not care less about staff, who are simply a number on the payroll. For these leeches it’s the best hotels, hired SUVs, and pitching up on race day to deliver banal speeches and hand out a trophy, with a trophy not his missus in tow. The disturbing aspect is that no attempt is made to curb this profligate spending. And the clerk is travelling home at 22H00 in a kwela taxi having started work at 09H00. The accountability of these parisites is zero. Whilst the trough is open for guzzling, nothing will change. Sies.Yours, Ralph Fell.

  19. Grant Maroun says:

    Hi Sorry4You we are in the process of setting up a trainers Association for this very reason and believe me we are taking this seriously. To start with this program at present was short 21 race in comparison to last season. The program that is supposed to come out for August to November is short 26 race that’s close to seven million in stakes we will get them back.

  20. Charles Savage says:

    I see the “operator”, ironic isn’t it?, has penned a response to Robyn in which they reaffirm exactly who they are and what is important to them.
    Bullies
    Arrogant
    Out of touch
    Self interest driven
    Condescending
    Well paid
    Fit the facts to their story line with perfect hindsight.
    Rude.

    On the other hand they also confirm that Robyn is albeit slightly out of her depth with financial statements none of the above.

    I’d wager that her story line is closer to the truth than their retort.

    Don’t let them get you down Robyn.

  21. Punter says:

    Kenilworth racecourse ground staff, technical staff,betting staff,TV broadcast staff haven’t had an increase in the past two years due to the company saying it’s not making enough money,also new employees are subject to minimum wage,how is that possible if that’s the true figures clearly those higher up are benifiting tremendously and these lesser tier staff are being ripped off

  22. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    This is probably “the” most disgusting captured industry in SA I have ever read about – from Johno

    Johno – it is just like state capture. A club of 15 to 20 individuals. Ohh, these marvellous and respected people supposed to be the custodians and protectors of this lily-white industry ,

    I hear an Echo : Here, We (the club) at Phumelela provide so many thousands of jobs while we line our own pockets ?

  23. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    Lining our own pockets – To make a large amount of money for oneself in a way that is considered greedy

    And the grooms are now on R20 an hour, is it ? R 20 an hour, crikey that’s greedy ! lol

  24. Jurgs says:

    Is this not time to set up a separate owners association and challenge this corrupt status quo?

  25. Danny Collins says:

    Jurg, this is the only way forward or we shut up and sell every horse we have!! I know for a fact the trainers are setting up a forum to speak up. However, they are not collectively standing together. Randjies, Turf, and Vaal trainers are still induvidual and they MUST unite aa trainers. The same goes for the owners!! The same will have to go for us as owners. We will nees KZN, Cape Town and Gauteng owners to get together!! How do we do this from a geografical point? How many owners would stand up for our rights and help to fix the problems? Is there a way of finding out just how many owners will stand together? Maybe every trainer can speak to owners to see how they feel on this point?? How many owners will stand together or how many feel that enough is enough? This is what we need to know.

  26. Chris Swart says:

    Danny, like any business there are vested interests.
    Owners with large share portfolios are not going to support action by owners and trainers that negatively affects the share price.

    There has to be a combined union of owners and trainers that represent all centres willing to enforce a national shutdown until the arms are forensically audited and those responsible removed.

    How is it that the EFF can muster the amount of anger and dissent twice in a month but the actual owners of intellectual property and their trainers can’t ?

    This has to be met head on. The bullying needs to stop and the money directed to an industry that sustains investment
    A Monopoly that dictates to the suppliers is extremely unhealthy and it is currently sitting on the point of disaster with the eyes of all watching them

  27. jim says:

    going through my morning reading i came upon alec hoggs daily report which explained how jooste guptad a few property transactions out of unitrans into mayfair . read in conjunction with being served and the operators reply it made me realise the extent to which racing has been captured.

    looking at joostes modus operandi vertical integration was his mantra . he wanted to control the entire production line at steinhoff, from owning the forests that grow the wood the trucks to transport it the factories the shops the properties, the entire process. he actually managed to replicate this in racing from taking over klawervlei to setting up cts, controlling trainers, the nhra, the ra and the operators.

    the corporatisation plan made a lot of sense but like steinhoff was open to abuse by a powerful charismatic individual. one famous story about jooste was when asked difficult questions by investment analysts he would reply dont worry if you dont understand the accounting just follow me ill make you rich. a lot of very wealthy and successful people were taken in by him. the biggest loser was obviously wiese but after him was the pic then no less than an oppenheimer firm which also lost billions not to mention van huysteen

    on the racing front all were taken in, from van niekerk to koster shirtliff kantor the entire whos who of south african racing.

    as has been well documented by amongst others mike de kock and robyn louw the continuation of stakes agreement in its current format and the corporate fat cat structure is going to destroy racing in this country.

    so what now.

    well the entire racing structure starting with the ra and the operators has to be reviewed and audited steinhoff style.

    the question is who is going to drive this process. surely there must be a queue of elite players of sufficient clout lining up to set the ball rolling. one can understand the likes of kantor and van niekerk et al being reticent to lead the charge due to possible perceptions as to their suitability but i would suggest they are the prime candidates to do so as by virtue of their position they would have a good idea of where to look.

    failing that then the real heavyweights will have to get involved. the oppenheimers made short work of gigabyte to the point of proving he lied in court over fireblade so clearly have the capacity to sort this out should they so wish. so too the ruperts.

    times are desperate . come on the big guns, put your hands up and unravel this mess.
    mrs slack and mrs rupert please put your extremely powerful and clever heads together and save south african racing.

  28. JessK says:

    Talk talk talk. Criticism, moaning, complaining, outcry ,
    Phumelela and it’s side-kick branches (RA, Trust, NHA) know that this too shall pass. A week down the line, the dust will settle, this will be forgotten, another bunch of owners gone, another bunch of trainers gone, less grooms to strike, salaries and perks still intact for the fat cats, no one to answer to and continue to make hay in an unregulated industry. Less tracks to upkeep, less local races to run, less stakes to worry about.
    Let’s punt the profitable stuff, sports, football (soccer), international racing (less scrutiny, minimal, if any stakes to pay)
    I’m sure they hoping someone will take over the race track experience and they keep the totes.
    If one is serious about saving horseracing in this country, we need to set up an indaba, with all players present, including the Gambling Board, owners representatives, grooms representatives, punters, breeders, SASCOC, NHA, Dept. of Trade and Industries et al.
    To be addressed are the conditions of the their (Phumela’s) license (monopoly), compliance, the stakes agreement, the Racing Trust shareholding and purpose, NHA’s role as the Regulator, transformation, Jooste ties to Du Plessis and Phumelela, RA’s obligations re owners and the Trust etc.
    Respected and knowledgeable Racing persons like Mike de Kock (chairman), Ian Jayes, Robin Bruss, Brett Maselle, Robyn Louw, should be at the forefront and transparency and good corporate governance mooted to put forward an equitable solution and readdress the wrongs of the past and set up a structure for the present and future. I am just a layman and only painted a rudimentary, simplistic picture, which I’m sure qualified persons can program properly.
    We would require to form a coalition body of stakeholders to plan, set up goals and objectives and set up this indaba and compel the Operator and Regulator to act in terms of its mandate and to vote in persons who seek only the good and future of horseracing as opposed to the self-interested, self-absorbed bunch we currently are subjected to.
    But to just talk, moan and post occasionally serves no purpose without proactive steps and action.

  29. Sorry4You says:

    Chris, Jim and Jess you are 100% correct!! Who will make sure this does not be forgotten?? Who can we look up to to join forces with? I agree we are too insignificant to make a difference on our own. I have really been very active on this forum and besides from one or two people agreeing with me NOT ONE other major player has responded! They all know it will blow over and we will not be missed at the races. Sell everything racing will always carry on!! Sadly I will sell all and sundry to do with racing in this country. But that is just me…….. Robyn Louw, thank you for your post and insight. Danny Collins

  30. Jurgs says:

    The leader of the RA started off protesting about races loast and this lead to the Concerned Owners and ultimately his appointment by Jooste. Danny Collins and others you are in a similar position why not go the same route? If you just talk nothing will happen.

  31. Sorry4You says:

    Thanks Jurgs. I have nothing to lose at the end of the day. Might as well go or it! Any other owners willing to join me??? 🙂 You can email me at [email protected].

  32. Leon Smuts says:

    Reading the article and every passionate comment leaves little to be said except that racing can survive all of the headwinds if everyone got together and worked on a growth strategy to return the sport to prominence. There is no overnight fix and the turnaround will not happen by burying heads in the sand and turning off the funding taps to racing. No amount of cost cutting will save racing and the operator from financial hardship if no new racing income can be found.
    I have been in marketing for many years and have turned down a few job offers where i did not believe in the company or the products that I would have had to sell. A genuine belief in what you are selling is essential if you want to be successful, which is why racing is struggling. I for one cannot look a buyer in the eye if I have to provide a substandard product or service and know that the customer will end up regretting their involvement or purchase. Who can sell racing to owners or punters in its present state which offers new entrants nothing inspiring and a lot of future pain? For punters there can be little fun when winning the bigger paying exotics is almost as tough as winning the lotto, but with a fraction of the potential return, and for owners the same can be said when even a moderately successful animal cannot pay for its own keep. This is not something that can be attractive for any right minded individual and will keep racing on the back foot if nothing is done to improve the offer.
    Racing used to be known as the brain game but I see nothing done to promote this angle through greater transparency and more data, better quality racing and wagers that can demonstrate skill, advance skill and reward it in a fitting way.
    Building new markets is the life blood needed for improved funding and will create more attractive pools and better stakes, both elements needed to make our sport and industry attractive and marketable again to a large and untapped market which is available with a more focused approach. You have to sow in order to reap and this is not happening under the current model as short term value extraction seems to dominate decisions.
    Racing needs passionate people to champion it’s cause and individuals willing to do the hard miles of building new markets from scratch with longer term growth strategies that will deliver big results over years rather than weeks.

  33. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Leon if only those disciples rolled the stone tighter to the entrance of that tomb 2018 odd years ago

  34. Glendyr Pirija says:

    You Go Girl!! Great article Robyn Louw. About bloody time. At least someone has got the balls to stand up to these fat cats.
    These numbers are Obscene especially in respect of the disastrous state Racing is in. Yes, a totally captured industry.
    And now Owners and Trainers?? Are you going to just ‘talk the talk’ or from hereon actually ‘walk the talk’ and DO something. Actions speak louder than words remember. Good luck if your decision is a proactive one.

  35. Space Invader says:

    The industry needs wholesale changes. History shows that nothing is going to change. No- one is prepared to lead. Pity.

  36. JessK says:

    Space Invader, Sorry4you, Jurgs (and others), with respect to you gentlemen and/or ladies, it will require a recognizable, respected, revered person (someone not tainted or discredited by the authorities) to garner the unhappy, silent majority into forming a representative body/group, who will take back ownership of our Racing, from the Racing Trust, to the RA, to the NHA and to ultimately free us from the capture of the elite. A Mike de Kock would foot the bill perfectly (not sure he has the appetite for it and who can blame him). Even with all the good intentions in the world, an unrecognizable, low profile person won’t get Racing people (those that are still left) to join.

  37. jim says:

    exactly. hence my call on the real big guns such as mrs slack or mrs rupert to call in a group of players and drive the process. btw when jooste crashed barry irwin suggested moves were happening behind the scenes to rectify the state of captured racing . so far deafening silence. the clock is ticking

  38. Jess K says:

    Jim, I doubt any of the big breeder/owners are particularly concerned who runs and how racing is run.
    It appears that most of the top owners are breeders, and you’ve barely heard a murmur from them. They live on pride and reputation, and issues like NHA fees, stakes, trainers, grooms and jockeys are of no concern to them. As long as they can breed and race their horses and win black type they are content.
    Through all the nepotism, selling of racetracks and racing capture and scandals, have you heard any of them stand up and be counted ? What they don’t understand (or maybe they do and just don’t care) is that their sheltered environment cannot last forever and will eventually hit the wall, and they will just be competing amongst each other for glory, as the exodus continues.
    If there is to be a “horseracing saviour”, it will have to come from outside the big owner/breeder segment.
    That’s why I posted on an earlier post that only a respected, revered, ‘untainted’ person like Mike de Kock can unite us and save this industry from spiraling further into the abyss.

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