The half-baked lip service and mostly lukewarm response to past failed industry initiatives probably makes us a generally cynical bunch on any given raceday.
Doom and gloom are our preferred bed partners as we tick over from one week to the next, throwing up our hands and leaving the issues to our phantom Pied Piper.
After President Ramaphosa’s announcement yesterday of a cabinet comprising 50% of the fairer sex for the first time in our history, South African horseracing surely has even less excuses for seemingly undervaluing the involvement of women at various tiers of the industry.
A glance down the top buyers list at our recent National Yearling Sale shows just how in the minority the fairer sex are in this game. Ashley Fortune and April Glaspie are two ladies that jumped out of the page.
Take a step further into the halls of power and one will hardly find a handbag in sight.
On that sensitive issue, our favourite arch rivals Down Under have again shown us what a bit of creativity, thought and cash can do to breathe different forms of life into the flagging spirits of the sport of kings.
Nothing succeeds like success, and the sale yesterday of the dual Gr1 winning all-female owned mare Global Glamour, in foal to Zoustar, for A$1,55 Million to Coolmore/Gerry Harvey/James Bester at the 2019 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast was the ultimate full circle of a fun initiative producing serious happiness – and, no doubt, converts in numbers to the game.
The daughter of Star Witness (seen above) cost A$65,000 at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale and raced for the ‘It’s All About the Girls’ Syndicate, winning 5 races from 19 starts for stakes of A$1,561,400
Her total of 40 lady owners in seven countries across the globe thus grossed A$3,1 million for their initial investment of A$65 000.
The facts are that in seven years, the Magic Millions Racing Women initiative has inspired thousands of women around the world to become actively involved in horseracing and has injected millions of dollars into the industry.
Nearly 1000 horses have been registered for the A$500,000 Bonus on offer for all-female owned or leased horses in the A$2 million 2YO Classic, now conducted on The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday.
The concepts was introduced in 2012 as a means of encouraging greater participation, recognition and development of women in the racing industry.
Magic Millions co-owner Katie Page says the initiative has exceeded all possible expectations.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the Magic Millions Racing Women effect. It seems the lure of an A$500,000 Bonus was just the trigger many women needed to step into active ownership. We knew the expertise and passion was always equal to men. You only have to go to the Magic Millions January Sales to see how well represented women are behind the scenes,” said Paige.
Zara Phillips MBE (seen above) signed on as MMRW Patron early on and was a big part of taking the MMRW message to the UK and Europe.
“We’re particularly delighted to see the way word has spread and the impact Magic Millions Racing Women is having on the international racing scene. This means that these women now have connections to stud farms and trainers around the world and that they are at the cutting edge of developments in world racing,” added Paige.
In the UAE, Phoenix Thoroughbreds has created the first female-only syndicate and Japan now has ‘Umajo’ – areas exclusively for females at racetracks.
The growth in participation amongst women with no previous connection to the thoroughbred industry has been a key to the growth.
“I think if you examined the data in each of the major markets, thoroughbred racing would come close to the fastest growing female participation sport in the world – granted it was coming off a low base,” said Paige.
She pointed out that it was also highlighting the benefits of syndication, which isn’t very big yet in Europe.
While a Global Glamour is not born every day, this is not rocket science – it’s a concerted and focussed effort across cultural divides with a lifestyle and financial carrot dangled.
When will South African racing catch up and come up with something innovative?
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