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.
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.
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.