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So Who Wins The Game?

Capturing the essence of a free-for-all

Getting the various entities and personalities to sit around the same campfire and bury personal perceptions and agendas is going to be a non-negotiable starting point to get Cape Racing back on track.

That emerged from a rather haphazardly convened meeting hosted by the Racing Association’s Larry Wainstein at Kenilworth on Monday, 9 September 2019 that seems likely to achieve very little in the short term.

RA CEO Larry Wainstein – brave man but what does it all mean at the end of it?

An invitation was extended to local owners and trainers by RA CEO Larry Wainstein a week earlier.

The note gave no notice of a specific agenda – this was instead handed to guests on arrival.  And those who came in search of answers, left sorely disappointed.

Wainstein sketched the background of the Gold Circle demerger, during which Cape Racing formed the standalone entity known today as Kenilworth Racing.

The structure and day to day management of Kenilworth Racing is not straightforward, as it is managed by Phumelela, in part of the agreements struck during the Gold Circle demerger process.

Kenilworth Racecourse (photo: Gold Circle)

Kenilworth Racecourse

To give Larry credit, and even while it was his own party, he did have the guts to come out and face the music – to a degree.

With figures presented by Wainstein showing the Cape to be in serious decline and the RA stepping in to bridge ever increasing gaps, this threatens to become a large bone of contention as pressure on the industry’s finances mounts.

The figures presented raised justifiable concerns and questions among those present. But with no representation from either the WPRRA, Kenilworth Racing or Phumelela board, answers were in short supply.

Kenilworth Racecourse

.

With no clear hand on the reins from the Chair to keep things in check, or counter-arguments or facts available, the meeting degenerated into speculation, accusation and recrimination.

Was this a strategy or simply inept planning? Take your pick.

A meeting was convened at Kenilworth earlier in the day where discussions were held to find a best solution to massaging the stakes structure against the background of a reduced budget.

Wainstein said the Cape stakes were ‘under review’ – something we have all known for months.

He couldn’t give us specifics and an announcement should be made in a few weeks.

That was an anti-climax!

Mike de Kock

Mike de Kock – well respected

The charismatic Mike de Kock is a well-respected individual and he suggested that what was lacking is leadership.

He recommended an urgent search for a CEO and didn’t feel that the fact that KR have Co Chairmen was necessarily a positive.

It’s all well and good appointing a CEO, but when the present leadership is fractured, what’s the point?

Hassen Adams, who apparently had a visit from Phindi Kema the previous week, didn’t cover himself in glory or grace when he launched an attack on the absent KR Chairman Robert Bloomberg and was never challenged or countered in the process.

While some felt Bloomberg should have been present, had the two been in the same room and he defended himself and made his own allegations against Adams’ own alleged lack of delivery, where would the line have been drawn in potential prejudicial breaches of confidentiality and exposing boardroom strategy?

Charles Faull (credit: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Charles Faull (credit: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Racing historian and expert Charles Faull made an observation about the lack of transparency and accountability, while owner David Abery impressed with his concise questions and points. He could be a man to play a more prominent role in time to come.

The lack of leadership at the meeting led to attacks on other KR board members and Phumelela.

A poor show that had labels of circus and free-for-all being attached to it by some.

Hassen Adams – attacking

And we are no further.

Some owners told the Sporting Post that they came looking for answers and left with nothing.  Disappointment in the lack of urgency amid the absence of leadership was the underlying thread.

Sadly the deep rifts are likely to have widened amid the stone throwing.

With many questions and no answers, one clear take-away was that those in charge are either not willing or able to sit around the same campfire.

With the industry under fire from the economy, the government and the Public Protector, it seems the biggest threat might be from itself.

If there are any leaders out there, would they please stand up?

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26 comments on “So Who Wins The Game?

  1. Pops says:

    And what did Jonathan Snaith have to say at the meeting?

  2. Mich says:

    Wainstein says Cape Racing’s stakes are ‘under review’ yet Phumelela and the RA have jointly been instrumental in the immediate and ‘massive stakes boost’ of the 2019 running of the Emperors Palace RTR Cup.How can this be an incentive to buy a horse if there are only a fields worth of 3 yr olds to run? Enough to give many smaller Cape Town owners indigestion.Why not also spread this ‘massive’ largesse amongst the bread and butter horses to keep their owners and trainers happy?

  3. James says:

    Why this meeting? And why no agenda?
    I can understand why Bloomberg and the KR board where not there and those that were present were in their personal capacity?
    In going to all the trouble of going to Cape Town and then asking interested persons to attend a meeting there has to be some concrete reason why. It seems no one is prepared to stand up and answer Questions. I have a few!
    How does Phumelela intend filling the racedays when Kimberley is closed?Is there any truth that PE will race on Mondays?
    What happened to the following bets,Futsal,Timebomb and Jackpot Quickmix? The new bets advertised will not generate as much as rolling doubles!
    How much did these cost in advertising and running?
    Where is the sectional timing and at what cost?
    There are many more including share options and expense accounts etc.etc.
    What has been done that is positive and beneficial to racing over the Phumelela era apart from enriching a few privileged individuals!
    This is a crisis and management need to front up and answer truthfully.

  4. Wayne Fouche says:

    What is this nonsense about PE racing on Mondays? First of please leave Flamingo Park alone and secondly PE’s race day is a Friday. Many punters do not support PE racing on a Monday. Look at the figures.

  5. Wayne Fouche says:

    (First of all)

  6. Clive says:

    I did not go to the meeting. Thank goodness.

    I have heard various reports about what happened. It seems that it ended up a waste of everyone’s time. I cant work out the purpose of the meeting and if anything was achieved by it. I have my theories. They seem plausible yet they are unsubstantiated. They might be closer to the truth than we know it. Here goes.

    Larry and RB are not friends.

    Without friends Larry does not achieve much.

    Larry wants KR to agree to suffer a reduction in stakes much like the RA agreed with PGL.

    Larry does not want to abide by the RA and KR deal where the RA has guaranteed stakes at a constant level.

    If stakes are reduced, the RA will have to top up the difference. RB is not interested in changing the deal. It was done to protect KR.

    Larry needs RB to be deposed and replaced by a friendlier and more amenable person to his wily ways.

    If he cannot depose RB, the next best thing would be to have a CEO appointed for KR to keep Robert out of the day to day business of KR.

    It is no coincidence that MdK suggested that a CEO be appointed for KR.

    Think about it, why is the RA trying to interfere in the business of KR? Larry and the RA are up to something.

    The RA financials for the year ending 31 July 2019 will make for interesting reading. I guestimate that Larry and his board have lost the RA over R50,000,000 compared to the year before. Was the meeting called to start dishing out poison to help save the RA board withstand scrutiny regarding its finances?

    Thank you SP should you allow this to be published. People need to start thinking and understanding what is going on. All is not what it seems.

  7. Tony Mincione says:

    The meeting was put together by the RA, so it was an Owners’ meeting. All welcome, but still an Owners’ meeting.

    Racing isn’t national in SA. For punters it is, but for most everyone else it isn’t. The national tote still allocates income from whence it comes and on whom it turned over. Outflows are still “ring fenced” for want of another term.

    There was a very important reason that the RA guaranteed the Cape’s “share” of income. And now 26% of those pigeons have come home to roost.

    Of course, being an owners meeting, the concerns are predictably:
    1. stakes,
    2. who did what,
    3. stakes,
    4. the trouble with racing, and
    5. stakes.

    I argue that the point is being missed. Big government tends to be socialist, and even bigger communist governments tend to be bossy with all the answers dictated for you. Capitalism tries to convince you. If the car you make doesn’t sell, you make it bigger, faster, shinier, safer…whatever it takes, or you fail.

    All these owners, all privately successful, with their owner mindset, all fail to have an agenda like:
    1. why are we failing?
    2. who is our customer?
    3. how do we grow the pie, sell more, how do we convince them?
    4. how do we get better, faster, shinier?
    5. who is failing us?
    6. who are the new generation, how do they want to do this?

    I agree with Brendon, the point of the meeting was to prepare the way with some tranquilizer. Some pre-consultation with stakeholders.

    Here is a simple truth. Other than gambling income, SA racing relies on international income from television. The next logical step is probably that
    a. we need ALL the centres to provide that product (as one) and,
    b. that we have too many tracks.

    If A. is true, we need to nationalize racing properly. It’s not a table were we have to look at each other’s plate to see if we doing well or poorly in comparison, but it’s a family that has to survive as a whole. We have to put on a family show, The Brady Bunch if you like, and look good to the outside world who needs to think we are “grade 1” racing!

    If B. is true, then the nationalization has to include rationalisation. In 1995 we had 6800 broodmares and 16 tracks.

    1995: 6800 and 16
    2000: 4800 and 15.
    2003: 4600 and 14
    2007: 4000 and 12
    2013: 3800 and 10
    2014: 3700 and 9
    2017: 3600 and 8

    CNN’s Winning Post program last week showed Korean racing. In 2006 and 2010 they built 2 tracks to now have 3. This year they have grown so that 80% of their winners are home bred, with over 100 stallions and nearly 3000 mares from 250 in 1995. This year they have Grade 3 racing, soon to have Grade 2 and they hope for Grade 1 by 2022.

    We have Grade 1 racing. We had 16 tracks. We have no excuses other than we have failed our own passion and our own sport. We had it, but we are losing it. They don’t have it, but they want it and they will get it soon.

    My last and best argument is that if HK racing is an inspiration anyone, then you cannot fail to see that in HK ownership is a privilege and they fall on their swords for their punters, their spectators, their customers. If owners who love racing have any inspiration left, they need realize that the track with the massive and luxurious punters lounge on the top floor is going to murder the track with the big, luxurious owners lounge.

    From that you get the big dividends that are stakes, and the energy to be zealous and offer a scrupulously clean and super competitive product. But it starts with the capitalist idea of doing what it takes to win your customer, not crying about what you can’t just take because you used to.

    Racing is competitive. It’s capitalist to it’s core. Soft core handicapping, makes competition shit to watch. I would rather watch a two horse race with Frankel vs Winx than a field of 100, or 1000, moderate handicapped horses. Fans learn the colours of great horses, not pleasant owners. Fans learn the pedigrees of great horses, not expensive horses. Fans follow jockeys who try for them. Fans follow trainers who pull it out the hat. Fans love racing and it’s with a long and hard won love that takes years to build, so you really have to beat the crap out of them to make them give up, really disappoint them, vig them to death and call it business as you worry about stakes.

  8. Jay August says:

    Tony you had me reading alertly until I got to this – “Racing is competitive. It’s capitalist to it’s core. Soft core handicapping, makes competition shit to watch.”

    What exactly is soft core handicapping and what is the opposite? And if capitalism is the ideal for horse racing why even having an egalitarian concept like handicapping, why not just have all races at level weights?

  9. Basil says:

    I believe that history will repeat it self. Since betting and the allocation of stakes was done nationally everything has gone backwards.Circa 1994 owners in California (fortunately not nationally) rebelled and formed the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) the purpose of which was to protect the interest of owners in that region.Perhaps some prospective new managers in our industry may learn from what they achieved or did not achieve.It begs the question why these situations exist and undoubtedly has a lot to do with betting income as stated in the 2nd paragraph as these funds are allocated to the region in which they are made and not to national stakes.
    So do not be surprised when Cape stakes are lowered and perhaps at a higher level than JHB who on average already receive a 20% higher stake than the Cape.

  10. Johno says:

    A pre-med before being wheeled of to the operating theatre.. nothing wrong

  11. Tony Mincione says:

    A very good point Mr August, why indeed.

    Firstly, the “soft core” is an allegory to porn which rhymes with scorn.

    There is a place for handicapping. Those places would be for weak horses, for operators who need to fill fields and for times when racing needs to resemble a lottery or casino. Well, that’s the version we serve up.

    Also in places when the population is limited somehow, because the fewer horses you have the less competition there is, and the more likely certain horses will just keep winning and others will never win. The irony is we often see that in Gr1 WFA miles.

    A “handicapper” in the day would have been a horse that had won the stepping up plates races eg Maiden, Novice, Graduations, Progress plates and remained competitive by being able to shoulder weight in company that was below Black Type. The kind of horse that could go on to win 6 or 8 races etc. A success,

    Right now our racing is pretty much divided into Maidens, Handicaps and features. When we started with Merit Rating for handicapping, handicaps represented only 10% of the program. What that means is the description of your winners was different. Or to put it plainly, if you started with a bad horse, you next stop was Pritt. Or yet another way, there was a time when winning 4 or 5 in a row wasn’t completely rare.

    The point being the type of race you program determines the type of winners you will get. In my time a horse called Thunder Cat won 10 in a row, and I once looked up a horse called Home Guard who won 10 as a 2yo. All but impossible now. Hear The Drums won 35 races. Many were Pinnacle or Superior Plates, and of the handicaps many had the same contestants because of the limit of the local population. I think the “program” was happy to see him compete and offered those races. In another centre maybe 35 wins isa handicapping impossibility?

    “Racing is competitive”. I looked it up to be certain and I’m happy with “RACE noun: a competition between runners, horses, vehicles, etc. to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.”

    I don’t really know what I would be saying if I tried to figure out the opposite of soft core handicapping, which is this “give every one a turn” kind of premise.

    I do know that WFA racing is essential for the top and a complete bust at the bottom. I also know that the Merit Rating system got tweaked SPECIFICALLY, and I don’t know how to say this any stronger, to “give something back” to owners who had spent fortunes on horses that didn’t turn out to be gifted.

    To be honest, how much consolation is there when your 700k horse finally wins a MR68 in it’s 20th attempt. Did we do anyone any favours to watch the 10 attempts after the Maiden as the 5yo got dropped 4 points a run till “competitive” and winning unsupported at 33/1? Soft Core Handicapping.

    Actually, I think Hard Core Handicapping is what happened in the July this year. After meeting at WFA a couple of times the handicapper had Do It Again give Rainbow Bridge 0.5kg. The racing public said okay: 7/2 and 3/1. The race gave us 0.40 lengths. That’s Hard Core.

  12. Jay August says:

    Tony, many points most of which I’ll digest overnight. My definition of hard core handicapping would be a handicap where no horse runs under sufferance and the July this year was no such race as most horses were running under less than ideal handicap conditions. A compressed handicap like the July is more akin to the soft core version you allude to.

    Home Guard’s achievement is quite doable today. He won 7 as a juvenile not 10. He ran in only one open handicap in his record sequence of 11 straight wins, that being a B Division Hcp (his 6th start) in which he carried 53kgs. This came after he had won 5 juvenile races against more or less the same horses.

    After that B Division win he won another 5 straight in fixed weight races (The SA Nursery, 1 WFA and 3 Classics). His first 10 wins came on the Highveld as he mopped up all the classic and two year old races and the two open races he contested. Henry Eatwell was not averse to maximising his one exceptional horse. How many trainers would do that today? Perhaps it helped that his wife owned the horse.

  13. Another Owner says:

    Owners are suffering a reduction in stakes, an increase in fees to nominate their horses and an increase in training fees and vet bills.

    Owners are footing the bill for poor performance, incompetent management and disastrous results of Phumelela.

    One would think that the Racing Association would be doing whatever it can to protect owners, keep costs down and get the best deal for owners in these trying times.

    Lack of action by the Racing Association speaks louder than anything else.

    Is it not time for owners to ask what has the Racing Association achieved for owners in general and its members in particular, over the past 2 years?

    The answer is that it has achieved losing R120 million for itself and its members by buying Phumelela shares.

  14. Tony Mincione says:

    Mr August, you have the facts but you miss the point.

    It doesn’t matter how poorly I might name something, although I am enjoying soft core vs hard core handicapping.

    Owners once again get around the table to negotiate among themselves the business part of racing. Commentators report to us afterwards about who said this or that followed by micro corrections. Again we miss the forest for the trees.

    It is the same people that have carefully guided us onto the rocks, annually for 20 years. They are once again preparing the way to pursue the next round of how cash shall flow. I’m flogging a dead horse here, but these meetings are always about how to divvy the spoils and never with their business hats on to grow the business part of racing, or to make fix it or even to try and understand why we continue at full speed reverse.

    Every metric in racing is on a steady and predictable decline, but that never comes up as the main topic. The question is should it?

    The reason we end up talking handicapping when discussing the state of the game, is that people have felt a fundamental change in the structure of the game and most lay the blame at handicapping. So if the name of Politician is invoked, almost everyone senses that things are completely different and not for the better. Then they start making shit up.

    The RA is an Owners organisation. In the past OTAs (Owners & Trainers Associations) were largely self funded and contributed for their members. Now they are funded by millions from a share of dividends from Phumelela and that looks like a game changer politically.

    So the point is that if horse racing is a competitive endeavour, then why do we have socialist handicapping to spread money around and why does the management resemble a communist government where you are told whats good for you and then subsidized.

    Competition, like capitalism, is built on the premise that we weed out the weak continually in order to move forward. And we know that a “customer” is someone you sell goods or services to for income…so Racing’s customers are punters, not owners. Why isn’t the meeting about Owners and not the product for the Owners’ customers, the punter?

    There is a chance I’m being vague. The Owners are not the customer. Trainers and breeders have customers called Owners. There is a business here, someone needs to identify what our product is, and who buys it, once and for all. 80% of meeting should be about selling the show and the goods, and not headed by the RA. That is the point.

    PS Bloomberg was 100% not to be there.

  15. Jay August says:

    Tony, perhaps I read your comment late and was tired but the second one reads better than the first.

    The capitalist (I prefer the term free) market is already dictating the outcome by reducing the pie that is available for plunder and forcing the industry into an uncomfortable spot. The outcome may not be want anybody wants but the market will get its way eventually.

    It is interesting that many hold Hong Kong up as an ideal when in fact HK represents anything but a free market.

  16. Leon Smuts says:

    Hi Jay. Hong Kong is still the ideal both from a punting and ownership perspective. It’s a free market as far as racing is concerned as it is the most reflective market anywhere in the world with all funds going into the tote pools which provides transparent and accurate odds for all to see. Punters are part of huge pools and a fair take out policy. Profits are returned to the most appropriate recipients which are owners and the community of Hong Kong. Everyone benefits from this system and everything is done for the sole purpose of having racing excellence which very few other racing jurisdictions can claim. I understand where your free market comment comes from but the exclusion of bookmakers have served racing well in Hong Kong. Even where bookmakers are part of the market like in SA parties could still work together for the betterment of racing and especially when efforts are introduced to grow the cake rather than chasing a one slice serving of a diminishing pot.

  17. Jay August says:

    Leon, so a tote monopoly is a free market activity. By what twisted logic can that be? Two of the biggest fallacies in horse racing are that handicapping and bookmakers destroy the industry.

    If the latter group were not beneficial for punters then the free market would dictate their demise. The contrary happens in every country which allows bookmakers. Taking odds from a bookmaker is as transparent as any tote, perhaps more so, because one knows exactly what your outcome may be.

    I know of no better example of a free market activity than bookmaking. The bookmaker always has the very real risk of being wrong and being “cleaned out”, while the tote operator has no such fear as long as he encourages growth in betting.

    Hong Kong’s tide has yet to recede but you may be singing a different tune if it ever does and the fiat mandated monopoly is exposed as having a soft underbelly, or swimming naked, as Warren Buffet likes to say.

  18. Leon Smuts says:

    Jay. as twisted as it may sound to you there is the odd market best served by a monopoly with racing in Hong Kong being a prime example. In most industries this would be twisted logic as clients could ultimately become the victim of greed and a lack of pricing transparency hence the need for Competition Tribunals to block this practice. With racing this would also be an issue if profits went to shareholders or the owner of the business but in Hong Kong management of the HKJC are stewards of both racing and the community and it just works well. Name one other free market racing jurisdiction where competition has worked out favourably for racing. There isn’t one that I know of and that is why I support the charitable foundation model for racing as it has a proven record. Your comments about negative future changes in Hong Kong is well founded but this is not the models fault but rather a few other economic realities. You wax lyrical about bookmakers and trust me I have nothing against them but many punters might disagree with you based on comments read about restrictive limits and account closures often happening to the few who dare to win. My only interest is the survival of racing as it feeds many families and that means taking stock of what the best model would be to achieve this outcome and not letting emotions and greed dictate the decisions. Good chatting to you.

  19. uk racegoer says:

    I really feel for the horse racing public in South Africa .I enjoy going racing there and am really worried about the future .I think everyone needs to get together and work together .All this blaming everyone else will get you no where .I like others believe Phumelela have made mistakes but think one of the main problems is that the bookmakers are not paying a fair price for the product that they make a large percentage of their profits .

    In the UK which has a much larger disparity between bets taken on the tote and by bookmakers the bookmakers pay a fair price (although this is disputed by both sides !! ) .
    An off course bookmaker has to pay a percentage of their profits to racing and also media rights to racing which total in the thousands per each shop .Internet bookmakers have to pay a percentage of their take on uk horse racing back to uk racing .

    Surely if the bookmakers paid a fair price to south African racing for using their product to make a large amount of their profitss then South African racing would be in a better place .

  20. Trevor Smith says:

    Horse racing has changed and it will never be the same again. In yesteryear it was the only gambling game in town , there was limited TV coverage and in most instances no TV coverage at all. It is not a sport that is built into the blood of all but only a few and normally those that have been connected in some way to the game through family and friends. SA is a young democracy and in fact in real terms a young country , we still have to learn and mature into what life has to offer and we are living through those changes right now. It is no surprise that racing is in decline , gambling certainly is not but gambling on racing is , we are now offered a plethora of gambling options and as a result horse racing has suffered. Those in power have been handed a chalice , perhaps not a poisoned one yet but a chalice nonetheless and one that i do not wish on my worst enemy. The sport will survive but massive changes will need to take place , very sad but a reality – what those changes are , who knows – i just hope that the “powers”, are driven one “hopes” with a passion for the game and that real transparent change will take place . My gut feel tells me that uninterrupted international trade is the answer , but i must ask why on earth would other countries allow another competitor into there “realm” ? – in saying that though if we could get it right – WOW.
    My pennies worth.
    X owner.

  21. Leon Smuts says:

    @Brendon

    Agreed

  22. hilton witz says:

    Brendon i agree with most of your points but mr stuart did a remarkable job when he was in charge of phum international by selling our product to many other places .He was sold the biggest hospital pass when du plessis resigned and its harsh to blame him for the drop in share price exclusively ..Where the company has gone wrong is the employment of people in key positions especially on the betting front who as you rightly say couldnt tie their shoelaces…Listening to mr garner chatting to alistair cohen regarding the changes in betting made me want to bring up as what he said is far far from the truth…I think we will only see changes when the people who benefitted from mr jooste get booted out the industry

  23. Leon Lotz says:

    Tony
    Really enjoyed your view.
    From my side,I am a trainer ,owner,breeder and punter,as many trainers and owners.Oom Nic Claassen always said “I can not survive if I do not take a bet”. We are customers in a massive way, and that is where Phumelela miss the boat.
    As you said we have to be one big family with many tracks. They also miss the point that breeders are customers

  24. Chris Swart says:

    When your agenda isn’t circulated in advance, there really isn’t a reason to attend.
    What transpired does not shock me in the least.

    The platform was tactically used as an agenda to slight individuals opposed to the management of racing by the provider and it’s sidekick.

    When the slight comes from the mouth of a person with an agenda one should be wary. The bad press regarding the individual concerned with regard to impoverished fishermen and casino operations is certainly not good press and not an opinion I’d take for granted let alone persist with.

    His record regarding Durbanville attempted acquisition, the judgement declaring him not be a fit and proper person to be a Trustee in regard to the impoverished Hout Bay fishing community, how he financially benefitted massively from the rezoning of the KR properties despite apparent non-delivery of required services and allegedly ensured he had a right of first refusal over the development of the properties that was never disclosed by him to the board which one would assume would therefore invalidate the agreement.

    He certainly should not have lead Larry’s charge of the enlightened brigade and fired any salvos.

    Divide and rule appears to be the norm and those with integrity to stand up and question matters are being targeted for a reason.

  25. Confuse Us says:

    Candidate Obama was either exceptionally naive or willfully disingenuous when he vowed to change the way Washington works. The very promise of Hope and Change was rooted in uprooting the Washington modus operandi. But instead of rejecting it, he embraced it all – the secrecy, the closed doors, the political favors, the near-criminal negligence.

    Reince Priebus

  26. Richard Smit says:

    From a Punters Perspective:

    Let’s see if anyone, who has the authority to take some action, takes serious note of this!

    Right alongside the Horses, the Breeders that breed them, the Owners that own them, the Trainers that train them, the jockeys that ride them and the whole horse racing fraternity of whatever nature and stake holding, stands the Punter – the betting public, who invest millions of rand’s at every single race meeting, tens of millions every month, and hundreds of millions every year in their bets wagered.

    One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to calculate the numbers.
    Each race clearly shows what has been invested by the public, venue by venue – each and every day.

    If you don’t keep the Punter happy, you lose. Your business will die. It may take some time, but eventually it will.

    Why? Because they, the punter, will take their money (the millions) elsewhere if they are unhappy, this meaning very empathically, that racing turnovers will decrease and / or won’t keep up with inflationary expenditure.

    You’ll have to start cutting back, on expenditures, salaries and wages, stake monies, number of employees employed and a whole lot of other major things, such as staff retrenchments and shutting down loss making branches (venues), just to survive.

    It won’t be pleasant, for anyone, believe me, I’ve been there! Also it won’t be easy to get YOUR customer (the punter) back. That’s the really lousy part. There is a lot of truth in that old saying “Once bitten, Twice shy”.

    It’s much easier to fix the problem, and fix it quick – extra fast – before the “you know what”, really hits the fan.

    Most Punters are unhappy about losing their millions invested, week after week, on difficult and unpredictable races. They eventually stop betting on those races – maybe stop betting entirely – Say Goodbye to Turnover!

    If you want to increase or at least maintain your racing turnovers you’ll need to really start assisting the Punter to win more often. There are ways to do this, but that is another complicated (more than one person involvement) subject all together. And don’t think it has already been done, because the fact is, it has not. The proof – what’s happening to racing turnovers?

    There’s a lot to be done and a change in attitude and focus is required, from all stakeholders, no exceptions. Start focusing (correctly!) on the Punter (the millions).

    We may all, just be surprised, at what can successfully be achieved. I’ve been there, too. I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, “ I’ve been poor, I’ve been rich – Rich is better”. (A rich horse racing industry is, by far, better).

    To start the process, here are some suggestions to seriously consider:

    Step 1: Stop bickering amongst your self’s, stop insulting each other, stop the blame game, and
    really start focusing on the “customer”.

    Step 2: Realize that amongst others, that some Owners and Trainers are Punters too.

    Step 3: Realize that in public companies Shareholders (the owners) are entitled to their dividends,
    and the Directors and sometimes senior management, are paid performance bonuses if
    predetermined targets are achieved. It’s the norm, more often than not, throughout the
    commercial world to-day. The Shareholders decide this, normally at an Annual General
    Meeting. Good luck to them!

    Step 4: So long as I can make some money on horse racing, as a Punter (only), I’ll keep investing.
    Otherwise – Good Bye!

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