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Racing Control At Lowest Ebb

Veteran trainer speaks out and pleads for sanity

Terence Lowe

Terry Lowe

My disappointment in the way racing is run in Gauteng has prompted me to write to try and get the attention of the powers-that-be.

Terry Lowe writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag:

The racing game has been the love of my life for all of my life.

My grandfather was a trainer first licensed in 1928 and my father was a trainer.

Control of racing in Gauteng has, in my opinion, fallen to the lowest level of all time.

I was a Stipendiary Steward both in Natal and in Gauteng for almost 3 years, and have been a trainer continuously for just on 40 years.

As a Stipe, my Chairmen were the likes of Jock Sproule, Frank McGrath, and Mike Tillett – all of who were rated as the best. They took no nonsense and ruled with an iron fist.

Nothing escaped them and, although not always popular, were highly respected by everyone in the racing community.

They were consistent  and fair.

Mike Tillett (photo: supplied)

I also worked alongside the likes of Dudley Feldman and Barry Patterson – both missed nothing and knew every aspect of the racing industry, and were rated as amongst the best Stipes ever.

When I was transferred to Johannesburg from Durban, Mr Sproule took me to lunch. He gave me some simple advice – he said never bend a rule and he said I should make sure that one could ever point a finger at me.  “Be squeaky clean,” he urged.

I can proudly say that in all my years in the racing game I have a completely clean record as far as serious transgressions are concerned.

1994 Gr1 First National - LORD SHIRLDOR - finish2

Lord Shirldor and Dominof make it a 1- 2 for Terry Lowe in the 1994 Gr1 First National

I write this letter as I am extremely disappointed with the level of control and general running of the sport – an industry I have been involved in all these years.

It has deteriorated dramatically and the quality of the people left to run it – as far as their experience is concerned –  leaves a lot to be desired.

They are simply not experienced enough and are not trained by people who themselves are experienced and knowledgeale.

It’s tragic that an industry is run this way. For the punters and the owners and in fact for everyone involved it is an injustice. People invest huge amounts of money and their lives into this industry, and there are things that happen, and that should not happen, or should be at least be controlled properly.

I can quote a couple of instances that have affected myself,my clients and my friends.

These are not hearsay but are factual instances that occurred.

I have always had the utmost respect for the Stipendiary Stewards but on two occasions quite recently could not help myself and told the Stipes that they don’t know what they are doing. In both instances I believe that it was their inexperience which was their downfall – yet they run the show.

An industry should be run from the top by people who know every intimate detail and that can lead and advise.

That is the problem. I really didn’t even know who to address this to because I don’t know who is in control!

The Stipendiary board’s integrity should be beyond question. Unfortunately I know that in the past it hasn’t been.

Again I realise it’s not easy to source the right people for the position but if the people above them knew what they were doing the rotten and incompetent apples would soon be sifted out.

I think it’s time the racing industry was taken in hand by people who know what they are doing. They need to employ good dedicated people on the ground – let them learn from the experienced people above them and when punters and owners have complete confidence in the control of the industry, you will find turnovers picking up, the local owner base will increase and the game in general will start turning for the better.

Racing has been very good to me.

I have won many races, including Gr1’s, featured on the top trainers lists, received many awards, took horses overseas and trained in the USA,have visited racing and breeding centres throughout the world, owned and run my own stud farms, and was offered a training position in Hong Kong.

It is my involvement in this wonderful profession which prompts me to speak out.

Let’s see if the powers that be take note. They should.They need to.



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12 comments on “Racing Control At Lowest Ebb

  1. Jimmy says:

    Good read and your absolutely correct in your assessment.

  2. Jay August says:

    Wee said!

  3. Sharon Patterson says:

    Well Done Terry for saying it as it is! Hopefully the powers that be take notice of your article. It is up to the knowledgeable racing to take over the reins!

  4. Mills says:

    I agree full heartly with Terry Lowe statements we have trained together in the racing industry I’ve have been in the racing since 1966 I’ve trained and raced at every race track in the country I’ve served on various boards and committees in the racing industry I’ve had my racing colours for more than 45 year’s . I’ve always been outspoken in the interest of racing and the people’s within racing and I’ve always maintained that the majority of the people that’s in control of the industry do not make there living from the industry and don’t have enough experience and knowledge of the industry and warned that that’s going to cause the down fall of the racing industry and in my humble opinion it’s happening very fast the racing industry are at it’s lowest epp that I’ve witnessed over the last 50 years racing industry better get there act together if they want to survive it’s a sad state of affairs, the best of luck in your racing endeavor,s guys

  5. Ian Jayes says:

    Unfortunately the rot has gone on for too long and has gone too far. Lyndon Barends and his ilk were a disaster, but the writing was on the wall long before they came along. There is a rule in economics which states: bad money chases out good. In organisations bad also chases out good and you eventually reach a point where good people do not want to be associated with it anymore.

  6. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    A very serious allegation that the Stipes act without integrity ” The Stipendiary board’s integrity should be beyond question. Unfortunately I know that in the past it hasn’t been.” – one hopes that the NHA will interrogate this and announce their findings

  7. Leon Lotz says:

    What remain shocking for me is that the same trainers get fined over and over again for illegal substances,they have to pay back the stakes,but the punter who had money on the horse that ran second lost everything,daylight robbery.
    I fully agree with Mr Lowe .

  8. Ant.Sinovich says:

    Well said Terry Lowe.It has been a long time coming.Racing has become an absolute farce in this country.Things happen daily at all our local meetings.U very seldom see it abroad.I for one ,have lost all interest in the game.I have been a owner for many years.But no thank you.It’s become a joke. (sic).

  9. Anton says:

    Having show jumped and being involved with German Warmbloods I am relatively new to the racing circles. What concerns me most is betting against horses that tested positively for banned substances with hard earned money!

  10. Chris says:

    maybe I missed the point.Terry says he could quote some instances that affected himself or friends but then quotes nothing.Anyone can make general statements.Be specific.

  11. Linda says:

    Thank you Mr. Terry Lowe, your sound and informative comment of the indusrty. I am a clueless nobody who’s been trying to understand the racing since being introduced to it in 2006.

    Every sporting code it’s key drive is INTEGRITY, UNBIASED & TRANSPARENCY.
    The independence of the stipes is always crucial and dont need to be second guess.

    The reality is no human can do the same thing for dacades either you grow on it or move on to the better or challenging position where one think they can contribute positively to the sport.

    That being said almost every sporting code is being destroyed by those pushing their own interests using their deep pockets by influencing decisions in the process undermine/belittle those in decision making positions.

    It is realy sad and disapointing to see the industry taking a dive in this rate for our country which the entire world seriouly look up to, and those individuals who wine and dine at our expence bad mouthing the indusrty instead of standing up and pulling the tails between their legs and hold the bull by its horns.

    Call a spade a spade don’t beat around the bush and 20 years later come and say I said years ago!!

  12. Mike van Eeden says:

    I have known Terry from school days and at times, he can be as brutal as a blunt crowbar, but as decent and as honest as they come. I was also an owner and a most memorable occasion was when Terry told us to come to the races (in Cape Town) as our horse couldn’t lose. When I pointed out that it was a two year old against older horses, Terry replied, “Are you the [email protected]^&*g trainer?” Stage Mystery won. I believe that the Industry/Game/sport has declined because the focus is solely on the business, as opposed to focussing on the sport, running along business lines. The sport should come first, and the business will take care of itself. The current powers that be do not seem to be concerned for all the people involved. As long as the share price moves up, who gives a damn.

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