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Stakes – De Kock Calls For Calm

It's a new era - stop slinging off and contribute rather

Most of those slinging off following Phumelela’s stakes reduction and the revised spread of prize money don’t understand the stakes pot or the stakes formula.

So says multiple champion trainer and Racing Association Board member, Mike de Kock, in an interview published on the daily Turf Talk website newsletter.

Mike de Kock has some nice runners today

De Kock said that the reason for the stakes reduction was, quite simply, the drop in betting turnover. “The reduction was unavoidable. It was a card that the RA was dealt with by Phumelela, and we came up with something we believe is a feasible temporary solution considering the circumstances.”

De Kock highlighted the effects of the Bookmakers’ so-called ‘Open Bet’ on tote betting yields.

“Racing loses a lot of its turnover to the open bet – as stated by Phumelela there is a loss to this bet of R75,000 for every million. This is problematic and it’s the cause of the rot that has set in.”

RA LogoHe explained why and how the RA came to spread the stakes from 1st to 10th place.

“We looked at the stakes pot as a whole. We took millions from some big stakes races, like the Sun Met and the Premiers Challenge, and we propped up the smaller stakes races. Then we tried to redistribute the available stakes to create participation, and this is a vital point to understand. Two factors in our betting decline have been small fields and a lack of participation. Punters enjoy a wider variety and they invest more to have a better chance of winning. In an attempt to encourage participation by owners and trainers, so to achieve larger fields, we decided to pay down to 10th place. This is something that was tried in the United States and it worked. If not successful here, we will re-assess the situation and try something different. We have made work of it. We have been open-minded, looking for something new.

De Kock said that the spread of stakes to 10th place may be insignificant to some, but most significant to others.

“An owner who pays nominations and acceptance fees and whose horse participates in betting turnover is entitled to a share of the spoils. What is wrong with that? Not all of us can be winners, there will always be losers too. The winners are well taken care of with between 58 and 62% of stakes. Others should be getting a share of the action for participating An amount like R1,000 may seem paltry for 10th place in a Maiden Plate, but it will cover a bill or two. Tenth place in the forthcoming Charity Mile will be worth R10,000 and for 10th place in the Derby the connections will get R20,000.”

He compared a horse race to a golf tournament.

“The sponsors don’t stage golf tournaments paying the first five players only. They pay a prize up to last place, otherwise there won’t be tournaments to enjoy. They pay everyone because it creates a spectacle. It generates interest. We’re in trouble with six, seven and eight-horse fields, we need bigger fields.

“Each racing centre has its own needs. We have more participation in Gauteng. In my view the stakes pot in Cape Town shouldn’t necessarily be the same as the one in Gauteng. They can cut their cloth the way they see fit. There is no need to be derogatory and throw insults around. We all need each other, I am disappointed by the way some people have reacted. Instead of nasty comments and suggesting skulduggery, they should be coming up with constructive ideas.

“Most of the people slinging off don’t understand the stakes pot or the stakes formula. It took me a few board meetings to understand it myself. What happened was inevitable and we had to deal with what we got.”

De Kock touched on the racehorse population and noted:

“Eighty percent of our horses are mediocre, but we need them to race, they have to get in and earn money for their owners. Most of us own battling horses, myself included, but what are we to do? These runners have to show some kind of return. Are we just going to ignore the plight of the smaller owners, or those with moderate horses? In my opinion they are just as important to racing as the owners with large strings of horses.”

He urged industry players to look at the situation objectively.

“The problem is that racing people have a resistance to change, they don’t want to think out of the box. They have to see the spread of prize money in the spirit in which it was done. We have been trying to find solutions. Ours was an attempt to do something different, to offer rewards to a greater proportion of participants. We want to ease the pain so that all of us can survive.”

“What is important to note is that we are trying to make a difference, we are acutely aware of racing’s problems and we’re putting our heads together to solve them. The RA is taking action on a number of fronts. We’re taking measures to keep the machine running and to improve things for everyone, but there is no magic wand. This process will take time.”

De Kock said that some comments on social media were uncalled for.

“There are prominent racing figures criticising us, and some of them actually put their money on the open bet with bookmakers and don’t contribute to the stakes pot. We invite them to come with solutions instead of slinging off. We are all ears. We’ll welcome their input. This is a new era.”

He concluded: “Most bookmakers themselves are racing people, they love the game as we do and I don’t think they want to be in this situation. But at some point they were chased away and they took a number of tote clients with them. We should be wooing them back.

“I can understand why the bookmakers are popular. They are betting professionals with great, functional websites, little downtime and effective customer service. We should be catering to the needs of our punters by improving our own service, online and on-course offering so that that they can return and contribute to tote turnover. If we don’t, racing will not survive.”

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55 comments on “Stakes – De Kock Calls For Calm

  1. Philip Goldberg says:

    Great initiative for owners, trainers etc.
    Hopefully the tote will follow, and amend exotic bets to make for more winners.
    I curse the (*edited) that created the “Rocket”, which was aimed at a one winner pick6.

  2. Brad says:

    Wow Mr de Kock, are you not the one abandoning this ship for Australia and you are asking the public to accept this when the problem is simply not a reduction in turnover ….. it has a root cause and the mismanagement of Phumelela will be revealed on the 25th when the results finally come come out. Any listed company that delays their results sends a message “ There’s FUDGE on the way “

    This seems like a Band Aid for a severed artery

    Phumelela and the RA must come clean and don’t need you to do their dirty work !

  3. Chris Swart says:

    Last year chatting to Justin Snaith at Goodwood about the size of the Cape fields, his suggestion was consolidate five poorly supported maidens to a R250,000 stake and every single race would have maximum fields.
    With higher stakes the operator doesn’t have empty pens and more turnover is generated.
    They’re currently picking the plums with horses that don’t look they can be taken on

    Mike as always is innovative and the concept should be allowed to run
    The difficulty in the economy and the constant erosion of stakes has meant that horses need to win three and now possibly four times a year to pay costs – not ROI
    The 80% are unlikely to do this and owners need to see some return – even if it is appearance money

    They definitely need to change their business approach and embrace competition. The high handed *if they’re drowning stick a hose in their mouth” method isn’t the way forward.
    The open bet needs to be resolved for the best interest of racing ahead.

  4. Undercover & Underground says:

    I have seen too many people lap up what Mike de Kock says as being gospel. He is treated and seen as an Oracle. In this instance, I have read what he has said and carefully considered it. I am one that does not buy into his explanation.

    Keep in mind that MdK was involved in agreeing to the stake reductions and he has vested interest in persuading everyone one that the RA was correct in working with Phumelela. He was part and parcel of what I see as a bad decision.

    Time to analyse some of his comments.

    MdK -‘“Most of the people slinging off don’t understand the stakes pot or the stakes formula. It took me a few board meetings to understand it myself. What happened was inevitable and we had to deal with what we got.”

    Me –
    I am not sure where MdK gets his facts from when he says most complainers do not understand the stakes pot and the formula.
    Assuming Mdk is correct or even incorrect, has he not appreciated that the stakes agreement has never been made available to horse racing and published by the Racing Association on its website.
    The stakes agreement is intentionally withheld by Phumelela and the RA from owners, trainers and jockeys.
    MdK admits that it took him a few board meetings to understand it. To be fair, it is not hard to understand and a few board meetings is somewhat an overstatement. Does this mean that MdK never knew the terms and conditions of the stakes agreement before he joined the RA? If this is so, it is an indictment on Phumelela and the RA, both of which should be making it all public knowledge. There is nothing confidential to Phumelela or the RA in the stakes agreement.
    I find it foolish for MdK to attack the complainers without him knowing who they are. Never underestimate anyone MdK. It could rebound on you.

    MdK – “The reduction was unavoidable. It was a card that the RA was dealt with by Phumelela, and we came up with something we believe is a feasible temporary solution considering the circumstances.”

    Me – Absolute balderdash. All that Phumelela needed was the RA’s buy in. The RA could have disagreed. It could have insisted on payment of the stakes without any increase for the coming period. The RA did not stand its ground for the rights of owners. The RA entered into an agreement with Phumelela where owners suffer. The RA did the proverbial dirty on its members and owners. If MdK can show us that the RA had no choice in terms of the stakes agreement but to agree to Phumelela’s demands, I will eat my hat.
    I find it interesting that MdK says that this is a temporary feasible solution yet he tells us nothing about the duration of the solution and whether the lost stakes will be returned to the pot with interest. We need to be shown that the agreement concluded between the RA and Phumelela. I doubt that will happen.
    Stakes did not have to be reduced. Phumelela could have disposed of some of its assets and reduced salaries of management to keep stakes on par. It is a listed company on the JSE. whichever way you swing it, Phumelela could have organised itself. The RA gifted Phumelela with an easier alternative. Very poor form.

    MdK -“Racing loses a lot of its turnover to the open bet – as stated by Phumelela there is a loss to this bet of R75,000 for every million. This is problematic and it’s the cause of the rot that has set in.”

    Me – Reading and listening to Phumelela and the RA complaining about the open bet being problematic is very tiresome. The open bet has been lawful and around since at least 2005. For 14 years complaints have been made and the RA and Phumelela continue to flog this horse. During most of this time Phumelela made profits and declared delectable dividends to its shareholders.
    Thankfully, now that Phumelela has lost its 3% of betting levies, it and the RA have something more to be tearful about.

    MdK – ‘Then we tried to redistribute the available stakes to create participation, and this is a vital point to understand. Two factors in our betting decline have been small fields and a lack of participation. Punters enjoy a wider variety and they invest more to have a better chance of winning. In an attempt to encourage participation by owners and trainers, so to achieve larger fields, we decided to pay down to 10th place. This is something that was tried in the United States and it worked.’

    Me – I will give credit where it is due for the thought process. It makes me question why this was never implemented during the Phumelela Hay Days and not now when we are told things have gone pear-shaped. This shows me that the RA board was certainly not thinking out the box to better owners positions.Or was the RA’s master not prepared to change the stakes agreement?

    MdK -“An owner who pays nominations and acceptance fees and whose horse participates in betting turnover is entitled to a share of the spoils. What is wrong with that?

    Me – If you sir have any feelings for the hardship that this event of a reduction of stakes has on owners and the industry you would do everything in your power to have Phumelela amend its Operators conditions to make it free and gratis for nominating and accepting horses into races. The RA earns approx R14 million a year from this. The truth is that although the Operators charge trainers who charge owners as a disbursement for these amounts, the Racing Association reaps about 85% of these charges. You sir, as a trainer are paid or reimbursed 10% of the total nomination and acceptance fees, which goes into your coffers. It makes no sense that stakes are reduced and nomination and acceptance fees are not affected. If the RA was acting in owners best it would stop the rot and stop making its members and owners pay these outrageous charges in these times. The organisation that is supposed to be helping owners is adding to the owners woes by carrying on collecting the nominations and acceptances.

    MdK – “What is important to note is that we are trying to make a difference, we are acutely aware of racing’s problems and we’re putting our heads together to solve them. The RA is taking action on a number of fronts. We’re taking measures to keep the machine running and to improve things for everyone, but there is no magic wand. This process will take time.”

    Me – These are just words. We have heard similar talk for years. Show us what the RA has done and its game plan.

    MdK -“There are prominent racing figures criticising us, and some of them actually put their money on the open bet with bookmakers and don’t contribute to the stakes pot. We invite them to come with solutions instead of slinging off. We are all ears. We’ll welcome their input. This is a new era.”

    Me – Your faith in the tote and Phumelela deserves accolades. Everyone forgets that we live in a free world where we have choices. So what if owners put their money on the open bet? Since 2005 Phumelela has taken steps to expand and improve its business. You blame the open bet yet you give no figures to justify this. Phumelela finds itself in the current position because of bad business decisions and not the open bet. I bet anyone that when Phumelela approached the RA to reduce stakes, it provided no audited financials for the RA to see whether a stakes reduction was justified.

    Mdk -“I can understand why the bookmakers are popular. They are betting professionals with great, functional websites, little downtime and effective customer service. We should be catering to the needs of our punters by improving our own service, online and on-course offering so that that they can return and contribute to tote turnover. If we don’t, racing will not survive.”

    Me – It is a bit late MdK. You should have been singing this song for years and not to us, to PHUMELELA.

    AND
    Any bets that when the RA was considering assisting Phumelela, they never got in an independent auditor and expert to give them advice. With the greatest of respect to MdK, he is a great trainer. The jury is out regarding his ability as a director

    This constructive criticism has been supplied anonymously. Horse racing is a small and I certainly do not want to be ostracised for putting out my honest opinion. I know I may be lambasted.

  5. Frank says:

    What might be needed in racing today.
    Gone are the days when we played the Jackpot for 50 cents and saw payouts of R 20000 plus. In those days R 20000 was life changing. Today we hardly ever see dividends that will excite anyone. Today you can go to a casino or play lotto, daily lotto or power ball, none of these are easy to catch. As I see it, the difference came in with the soccer bets. On a single soccer match the odds are normally better than on a favorite in horse racing. Not to even mention the place dividends. Then there are the soccer pools. Soccer 6, 10, 13 and now 15. Each match has 3 possible outcomes, win team A, draw, or win team B. You will just about find any pool from 1 million upwards for soccer 10 on a week day, and 20 to 30 million on weekends for the soccer 13. You don’t have to wonder where the racing money has gone. These bets are still not easy to catch but it affords the punter the possibility to dream on what you can do if you should catch a pool of that size. This dream is out of horse racing. What I am suggest is a bet similar in kind to soccer 10. Instead of using 6 full fields as in the pick six or 4 as in the jackpot, I suggest they group 4 horses together in a race where you then need to select the highest finisher in that group of 4. We will need 10 groups of 4 horses to make a pick 10. In some races you can have two groups of 4 and in smaller fields one group of 4. The punter then has to only look at 4 horses per group and make his selections for each of the ten groups. Permutations is still possible but becomes very expensive if one selects 2,3 or 4 per block. All 10 correct scoops the main pool, with a small % for 9/10 and 8/10, similar as in the soccer. These results do not affect the normal outcome of the race.
    There might be more suggestions out there between the punters that can make racing more exciting and draw so of the monies back to horse racing.

    Just my thoughts

  6. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Taking from Peter to pay Paul and one day none left. The open bet is a massive problem but surely it is separate to the tote as an entity ? Form has gone and good luck if you can find the 20/1 coupling that the trainers have no clue about but a lovely double treble comes in….( if only Lit had won, but the win/ place treble paid well )…..No one is winning any more, its that simple, that was taken away a while ago and almost definitely to get the pools up to look good on the front page, no matter the damage. ( Nero’s games while the men with many hats help themselves ). How much was spent on the Sunmet launch and Young bloods ? Kill the golden goose why dont you at least someone gets one good meal……Double the stakes not reduce them, more choice on the exotics, bring back the coupling rule ( why won’t they ? ) its all too late….Its an agenda and I can guarantee you someone is making a fortune out of this ( like the Gupta’s and SA). Punters ( and owners ) have to win or there is no turnover……simple. I hear crickets….

  7. Nico says:

    Personally i don’t and will never support the tote, why?

    Every punter has his/her best interest at heart.

    One monent a horse pays R10 a win, before the off it’s suddenly R5(with bookmakers and fixed odds, why would we fool ourselves with a possible false price?)

    If i can get 10/1 fixed with a bookie, i would definitely take that price and eventually tire of fluctuating odds, almost always horses shorten on the tote and in comparison to a bookmaker, the bookmaker always is, bigger in odds and you know exactly what you get.

    Tote betting will soon die off, the only thing that will survive to an extent, will be exotics and even then, bookmakers offer those bets too where the payout is exactly the same as the tote, so the bookmaker will aways win, they’re too smart with their pricing on fixed and match the tote on exotics

    Soon we’ll reach a point where tote exotic pools(pick6, Jackpot) are so small(big percentage lay them with boomakers) that it becomes pointless to even take those bets because of tiny payouts(bookmakers settle on tote dividents) and those exotic bets become less popular.

    Whoever is in charge, needs to find a solution that also rewards a punter to an extent or close to how a bookmaker can and then maybe punters will start using the tote again?

    Another way of looking at it, for too long have punters been limited to the tote where you take what you get, if you don’t like it, tough luck. Bookmakers have then said, you want more? Come to us and we’ll gladly give you more..

    You want the punters back, find a way to beat the bookies, if you can’t find a way to beat them, then you took your punters for granted for way too long.

    Should have seen that horse that was 10 lengths behind you who went sailing by without you even knowing.

  8. Nico says:

    Or do bookmakers actually dump all exotics wagered with them, into the tote pools? If they do, my previous comment needs dumping 🙂

  9. Brendon says:

    @ Undercover & Underground,

    Well said.

    MdK was handed the hospital pass and he obliged.

    THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM MIKE, SURELY U CAN SEE IT, EVEN IF EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE ROOM HAS BLINKERS ON.

    The only inferences I draw from MdK’s response is that:

    1) the RA is fully supportive of the Board of Directors and management of Phumelela that wiped out 81% of its share price in the last 365 days (from R12.60 to R2.45)?
    2) the RA will be accept a further drop in stakes in the coming months if advised accordingly by Phumelela.

    Unfortunately, MdK is coming across like the victim in an abusive relationship, citing all excuses for the conduct of the abuser and taking it further to inform the public that they are misreading the situation.

    Mike, are you able to disclose what were the contractual rights of the RA prior to the commencement of the negotiation and what was the quid pro quo for compromising?

    With regard to your statement below:

    “we are acutely aware of racing’s problems and we’re putting our heads together to solve them. The RA is taking action on a number of fronts. We’re taking measures to keep the machine running and to improve things for everyone, but there is no magic wand.”

    If you provided 1 or 2 definitive responses to i) to vi) below, your stock value would not have taken a major knock:

    i) What are racing’s problems?
    ii) What are you solving for?
    iii) How many fronts have you identified and what actions are you taking?
    iv) Elaborate on what measures you are taking and what machine you want to keep running?
    v) What things do you want to improve for everyone?
    vi) If you had a magic wand, give us an indication of what your wish list of priorities would look like?

  10. Frans says:

    A well thought out and constructive comment by Undercover and Underground on the MDK article.

    We are all well aware of the economic challenges facing this country and for that reason, now more than ever, the South African Racing industry needs direction, leadership and vision however ……

    I am stunned by MDK’s assumption and expectation that desperate owners will gratefully accept a token R1000 ( before deductions!) as an incentive to continue with moderate horses and thereby bolster field sizes for Phumelela.

    Small and medium sized owners are the leaving the game in droves! With the ever increasing training fees, veterinary, transport costs etc and now a reduced number of races with LOWER STAKES, it is GUARANTEED that the number of owners and horses in training will continue to decline.

    Racing is about dreams!
    Owning a champion is a dream!
    Why encourage owners to keep their moderate and/or bad horses?
    Challenge and reward them for excellence !
    Yearling and other RTR sales with incentive races proves this point
    Encourage them to chase their dream by buying new and not by holding onto the old.

    The current merit rating system, racing program and now a reduced share of the stakes pot for winners will exacerbate and further hasten a reduction in numbers.

    Field sizes WILL NOT increase. I am stunned that MDK like so many others seem to think that once again mediocrity needs to be rewarded! Unbelievable. I am sure that before MDK is safely ensconsed in a well run, professional racing jurisdiction like Australia my prediction will have been realised. I will make another prediction that shortly thereafter he will announce his permanent departure from South African horse racing!

    Fundamental to the root cause of the rot, in South African horse racing, is that the product offered by Phumelela is RUBBISH. Why would anyone want to remain or get involved in racing?

    Shabby racecourses – run down, dirty buildings (either in a lousy part of Johannesburg or in a barren dusty part of nowhere).

    Hands up those that enjoy the drive to Turffontein or the Vaal?
    Hands up those that appreciate negotiating the rugged terrain and pot holes in the car parks?
    Hands up those who feel no hesitation in inviting first time and new guests for a day at the races?
    Hands up those who enjoy the same old, same old, same old restaurants and bars at inflated prices?

    Not to forget all those dirty off course outlets!

    The facilities in Gauteng are a disgrace!
    It is very apparent to all that there is very little, if any budget, to repair and/or maintain these assets.
    (this has been the situation for many years ! Even during the good times when inflated bonuses were being paid).

    It is no wonder that less and less visitors make the trek to Turffontein or Vaal racecourses.
    It is no wonder owner numbers continue to plummet.
    It is no wonder punters are turning to alternative betting options.

    The recent stakes cut will not help the overall situation – it will hasten Phumelela’s inevitable collapse.

  11. Josh says:

    Can any one explain why is Hollywood bets bookmakers taking over tab outlets or taking control over tabgold totes….can vee moodley or sporting post editor can explain please

    1. Editor says:

      Josh, your question is a bit confusing – are you not thinking of the racecourse sponsorship?

      Hollywoodbets have long been independent TAB agents in many of their branches in KZN (as are most other bookmakers) but that does not mean they are taking control of tabgold totes —maybe the recent sponsorship of Greyville and Scottsville and the relationship with Gold Circle is confusing?

      We believe that Hollywood has entered negotiations with Phumelela to obtain agencies for its outlets in Phumelela provinces – they, with other bookmakers, previously held such agencies but lost those when it became conditional on bookmakers giving up their right (as per the Constitutional Court ruling) to lay the Open bet.

  12. I got it wrong says:

    I had high hopes when I voted for Mike de Kock and Charles Savage to join the RA board.

    I now read Mike saying that it’s a new era and we should stop slinging and rather contribute. I am rather disappointed. As an owner I feel as if I have never stopped contributing. A few months after Mike was elected he made it known that he and his family are leaving South Africa for greener pastures. He remained as a director of the RA. It makes my blood boil that Mike is about to pack his bags and leave for good and he says to us that It’s a new era – stop slinging off and contribute rather. Mike should stick training. It is noted that although Mike is one of the highest charging trainers in the country he has not dropped his fees to reduce his profits and assist owners. Contributing is not a one way street.

    Charles Savage. We thought that all the bad deals and corruption would be exposed. Not a peep from him. Either the RA board consists of paragons of virtue who have done nothing wrong or our beliefs were misplaced. He is first person who I would have thought to ask for a full forensic audit of the RA books.

    A note to Mike and the RA board. We do not believe you have done enough. You have definitely concluded a deal with the devil. As owners we have are suffering. Do not judge others by your standards. We have every right to sling off and be upset.

    Mike, you have lost a true supporter. You can treat your staff as arrogantly as you want. As a RA board member you are the servant to horse racing. In my opinion, you are not doing a good job and should resign.

    When I saw you at the back of the meeting held by the RA represented by LW at Kenilworth. I saw a different person to the one I knew. You did not take a seat next to LW. You quietly pushed his agenda about KR needing a full time CEO. I realised then and there that I had made a huge mistake in placing absolute faith in you.

  13. Brian says:

    It’s the open bet. Ok, but what are you doing about attracting players away from it?

    Smelly totes, that should bring them in.

    Telebet, great idea. That hasn’t moved with the times other than to deposit. Payout, we’re in the process of upgrading the system. Likewise the internet.

    It’s just not the same game anymore. I watch but you’re not getting my money on TAB

  14. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Mr Mdk, just 2 or so questions Sir,

    * are you guys a punting stable? if so, on the tote or with the bookies?
    * what do you call an Aussie in the RWC finals ( scroll down for answer….)
    .
    .
    . A – referee

  15. Brendon says:

    Mr. MdK,

    Have you heard of the bush racing that takes place in the Eastern Cape. Last Sunday, there were 30 horses the competed in 5 races for a total pot of R120k. There was approximately TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE ON A SUNDAY MORNING. There is unbelievable support and passion from the locals.

    What do u think would happen to this sport if we gave them a Larry Weinstein, John Stuart, Rob Scott, Patrick Davis and a Vee Moodley?

    These guys will kill the sport for the EC locals as they have no value proposition for racing as a business.

    How and why is Patrick Davis allowed to run Kenilworth Racing from the UK, with his family by his side? Is this what the Phumelela Board of Director’s signed up for? Why is the Kenilworth Board of Directors accepting this situation.

    @ I got it wrong’s, observation of “KR needing a full time CEO” sums up the problem with racing in this country. Send our boys down to EC bush racing and they would convince the locals that a leadership structure of 10 001 Scotty’s, Wainstein’s and Davis is what their sport requires in their new era!

    MdK, snap out of it and step down! You can step back up tomorrow when a new leadership is in place. You don’t need to serve us this stuff with a spade / sh#t shovel. We know you and surely your position had not changed overnight from being a supporter of South African racing to a complicit supporter of a few self serving individuals that are lining their pockets at the expense of the masses that depend on it.

    Stuart, Scotty, David and Heide need to step down immediately. They had no plan to grow the business and currently they are in Limbo as they are [clueless] on how to turnaround and restructure a business.

    MdK have a chat with these guys to follow ur example and u lead the way by stepping down first to support SA racing. If you stay with and support the current lot, we know where’s your support and allegiance.

  16. Brett Maselle says:

    Had I not known that Mr de Kock had made these comments, I would have thought it was someone from Phumelela’s management team.

  17. Yungsta says:

    ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES

    One of the real reasons the tote figures are down is not only smelly totes and racing administrators lining their own pockets, BUT the amount of gambling licenses issued and bought up by those in the know. Why was GC allowed to buy Bookmakers out at R6-8m a pop , good luck to the sellers , how come the men in purple have been able to acquire so many licenses and have so many outlets, good luck to them, you go to the races or cricket it’s like the Martians have arrived , great marketing of their product, the totes could have done the same thing, they shot themselves in the foot, greed, they needed the upfront money to bail themselves out of past mistakes and helped themselves along the way
    Bookmakers give Credit, if you were to place your bet over the count your perm may cost R500 for a % but because the punter does the transaction online or telephonically the bet increases – Credit
    STOP ISSUING LICENSES thats where all the tote money is going , carried by those shewed enough All these associations have too many non compliant fingers and thumbs in the pie, giving out freebies to those at events costing millions that don’t even purchase horses or shares but drink gallons of Chivas

    Cheers

  18. Yugen says:

    Time for new management. Current management cannot market Horseracing in SA . MDK should resign and concentrate on Australia and Dubai. The whole panel should resign. Seems there was a strategy to increase training fees and then cut the stakes. If it was vice versa owners would not have agreed.
    Why is V Moodley so quiet ?

  19. Yugen says:

    Well said. The mentioned names should resign. Would be interesting to see what’s their monthly Salary and benefits.

  20. Lou Syfer says:

    The problem I have with de Kocks statement is he does not provide details. How do we know that there were no alternate choices? Unfortunately this is the way of racing hierarchy, there is little to no explanation nor participation.

    You can wash this any way that you want. Once again owners are paying the price for poor performances of the operator. The golden goose is being killed.

  21. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey….Morning Champ…Mike you are spot on about the open bet when you right you right and nobody should argue the point it’s happening every signal day in front of my own eyes just between my Blood Brothers Sean Genores Hanna Warren The King Pin Zackey Jonathan Blue Lable Kalil Jonathan Maniac Nassif George who cares Nassif Andrew Hitman Anthony Kevin Building Towers Kalil and Merciless Frankie Zackey could easily turnover 7 digits Daily + + + + without blinkers been fitted and Uncle J/B in the blood that’s just a handful of AK 47’s 🙈🙉Now let the Clevers do the Maths huge damage has been done with the open bet…No names mentioned 2 more absolute absolute maniacs that could turnover 7 digits on their own on a daily base…Panel we talking about the open bet Period

    1. karel says:

      Frankie, Baby – you say the Blood Brothers COULD easily turnover 7 digits daily.
      But DO they? Tell us how much, and with whom. We’d like to do the Maths too.

  22. DavidS says:

    Mike I understand your effort to try remain positive and the desire to support RACING, but in turn you are supporting people running racing that dont have the same agenda, you want the industry to benifit for RACING and they want the benifit for themselves,, I can speak because I did contribute to racing, big time, and look what the same people did with Formgrids

  23. Ian Jayes says:

    The officers serving in the old The Owners’ and Trainer’s Association of the Transvaal Limited did so without numeration. Likewise the officers elected to serve its successor The Gauteng Racehorse Owners Association also did not get any numeration. It was with the founding of the Racing Association that the officers serving this Association were paid. They have taken their money and provided their services and the only beneficiaries have been the shareholders in Phumelela so enjoy the pain.

  24. Adesh rambally says:

    Mike should be brave to challenge the conception of horse racing been drained due to inconsistency information from trainers and jockeys. information is just delivered to punters to grow the betting industry yet its killing the racing industry. jockeys trainers are working more for bookies than the owners. big investors are interested in turnover. yet our small owners are battling but still strive to keep the game alive. the game needs to go back to honest people in the market. just my thoughts….

  25. Rian says:

    Champ, Blood Brothers, AK 47, Hitman, Maniacs says it all and sounds like a movie or Fake News to me
    I dont think they can come up with any names Karel but lets see and where the big bucks coming from , 30 days X 7 Figures X 12 , just hope taxman doesnt read posts Frankie

  26. Leon Smuts says:

    @DavidS. I have sympathy with your experience as you provided/provide something good for the racing industry and the further development of racing. I was bitten by the same dog although in a very different way which I will not elaborate on. The time might come when the very thing that a few shortsighted people tried to kill in the vine will bare good fruit for racing and change people’s perception about tote betting and its potential use as a marketing tool. I have no ill feelings towards anyone in the industry but believe that the current situation could have been avoided with a proactive approach in developing new markets for the sport. Racing was never the focus though and this is what lacked in most departments. I blame it on the model and not necessarily on the people as they served the model rather than the sport and industry. The sport needs the appropriate model and dedication towards a common racing goal which should be to serve punters and owners and everyone that makes a living from the industry. Serving shareholders is definitely not what the sport needs and as long as this model is in place will see the further demise of racing.

  27. Tony Mincione says:

    I can’t tell if most of the comments here are from Owners or Punters.

    If it’s punters, then we are in a confusing place. It would be like customers pushing trolleys in PnP, discussing the prices from the viewpoint of how much PnP makes rather than whether or not it’s cheaper at the shop 50m further in the mall.

    I respect MdK for the professional that he is and I had an excellent experience from his yard as a part owner in a horse. But here he fails to see that on the board of the RA he speaks for Owners….not Punters. The fact that I and many, many, many others not longer play the tote is EXACTLY the problem that the RA and Phumelela has to solve. Basically, how do you win back a customer you shat on till yesterday.

    Uptil now, and this is reflected clearly in Mike’s comments, he is still a bit old school where the argument to the smelly masses is play on the tote for the good-of-the-game. Of course then he should also say everyone with more than two horses with him should take the 3rd one to his competitors, for the good-of-the-game.

    For the longest time I bought into the for the good-of-the-game idea while all racing did was treat Owners as the customers and not the Punters. Punters complained forever and then a day arrived where technology gave them a way out and they took it.

    Just as MNET put prices up every year and customer service calls took as long as Telkom and SAA, and then Netflix arrived and now they retrenching. When they called me to see why I closed my account, guess where I told them to go? Same for Telkom, same for SAA. Solar panels next. It’s probably a bit vindictive…I do not care.

    For the good-of-the-game is a terrible idea, because handicapping doesn’t work in real life, nor in economics. And generally everyone is happy for someone to suffer for the good-of-the-game, as long as it’s not themselves.

  28. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

    Doubling the cost of processing transactions for stakes payments (5 cheques 4 ways per race to 10 cheques 4 ways) cannot be a smart move.

  29. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    Well done Frans

  30. Tees says:

    Transparency transparency transparency…
    Punters need to win to come back.It cannot be one sided and expect them back.Top yards come to the party you have the firepower to put the public on a good bet for the day.Atleast they will come back and not take their money elsewhere.

  31. Yugen says:

    Maybe owners should get a court order for the terms and conditions of the stakes agreement to be made public. I’m sure this is a Constitutional right of all owners.

  32. Brian says:

    Geez Ed! You’ve been kept busy on this one. I cant remember and I’m not going to look back to find who wrote the particular note but I have to agree. The tote’s are S H 1 T!

    Thing is though that attitude permeates to the punters at almost every aspect of horse racing where PG is involved. They have this Marie Antoinette attitude to their punters

    Mike, with all due respect you opened a can of worms and yeh, before you go to Aus, let us know if you’re going to cut your fees.

    You’ll have to eat your words otherwise

  33. Speedyvar says:

    Mike de Kock says, An amount like R1,000 may seem paltry for 10th place in a Maiden Plate, but it will cover a bill or two.
    He also says,“Most of the people slinging off don’t understand the stakes pot or the stakes formula. It took me a few board meetings to understand it myself
    Now besides not understanding the stakes formula we are now battling to understand how one percent for 10th place in a Maiden Plate with a stake of R 90 000 will cover a R 1 000 bill.
    Should we attend a few board meetings or Maths lessons?

  34. J J Cale says:

    Hey Karel has SP not asked the doyens of our racing,the likes of Mrs Rupert,Mary Slack,Fred Crabbia ect for their opinion of the reduced stakes.Perhaps it only effects us bottom feeders who can’t afford to race for honour and glory.I would also try a trainer or two they should have no objection to giving an opinion,nobody left to punish then if they do

    In light and love

  35. Yugen says:

    Seems like after the Joostes disappeared some trainers are finding it difficult to win races or get well bred horses. Now the small owner and trainer gets punished by sharing and reducing the stakes . (edited)

  36. Pops says:

    So the Bookmakers are touted as the bad boys for racing.Will it be fair to say most trainers and owners have active accounts with bookmakers
    When trainers say they think it is only right that owners who pay for upkeep and vet bills for their horses should get the best price and not have to take 6/10,do they mean on the Tote or with bookmakers who do not contribute to stakes pool.
    And mentioning golf tournaments will owners/trainers be wanting appearance fees for their stars soon.

  37. Joao (IRC) says:

    My take on this matter is somewhat simple. Ill start by saying Mike De Kock is a racing man through and through and not only is his commitment to SA racing unquestionable his contribution even greater.

    So its good to have him on the RA board and making inroads on behalf of some of the owners in SA.

    For me this is not more complicated than hiring a builder to build your house. Having now discovered that the builder is actually a car mechanic and the house is in a far worse state than before he started and certainly before you paid him the deposit for the sand and the tiles. He now needs to go. Voetsek….. One does not re employ the same builder. One takes a knock on the chin and in the bank acc, writes a poor review on his facebook page and finds another builder.

    Most people do this including Mike I’m sure ( he has had some building work done sometime by a kaaaak builder) as well as anyone at Phumelela that have ever had any building works done.

    So therefore we as owners will accept is a reduction in stakes – no problem
    less races – no problem
    more vets bills

    but we cannot accept the same builder. NO WAY JOSE’ the people responsible for this situation cannot and must not be the ones trusted to rebuild . We know that they don’t have the skills, we know that they don’t have the interest of our sport at heart.

    So Mike what we need is you to assist us in leading the revolution, we need to sack every single person that the previous building company used. We need new builders, plasterers electricians plumbers the whole shebang. Anything short of this and what we doing is just delaying the inevitable.

  38. Rudi says:

    Surely de kock will give his owners 13 percent from his cut back .

  39. Joao (IRC) says:

    Having said all the above its obvious that this measure of R1000 up till 10th place will be the way pretty soon.

    Again I have to think that this is a poor solution to a great problem. They have sat in their meeting and thought of ways to “keep the machine idling” when in fact what we need is PROGRESS.

    IMVHO what should have been done is R 70 000 to the winner in a Maiden
    2nd place 0
    3rd place 0
    4th place 0
    you get my drift. Lets get some proper competition to win races, lets make everyone hungry and stop training horse by running them in races.

    Then what we could do is have a lucky random draw and of the remaining horses in the race they would get R10 000

    So maidens cost R80 k BUT far more competitive. This formula could be applied in handicaps as well.

    This will have an effect on other people that are in the game but with very little skin in the game.

    No longer will mediocrity pay dividends. I get it that we will have less owners in the short term (happening anyway) but we will also have less of other parties.

  40. jai says:

    to mdk trainers should be trainer and not be on any board you cannot be a player and a refree

  41. Tony Mincione says:

    Perhaps in fairness replies to this thread should first identify the problem to which they are offering a solution.

    Is it an Owner problem, or a Punter problem. Or…what came first, the chicken or the egg.

    The numbers show that there is a decline in both. But they really are completely and utterly different problems with different solutions, that rely on each other. Simple question with a complex answer.

    Above Joao likens it to having contracted a shit builder. The thing is builders are common, racing specialists who are also crack leaders are less common.

    The CEO of McDonalds famously asked a hot Harvard lecture hall what business he was in. “Burgers” they shouted. “Wrong” he said. “Property”. McDonald’s is one of the biggest real estate companies in the world. It owns $28.4 billion worth of land and buildings. They don’t care about fat and arteries.

    How long will it take before we realize we are NOT in the horse business, or the owning horse business, or the training business? How long? How long still?

    So what business are we in, who is the customer? Then give the solution.

  42. Yugen says:

    Agreed . You see some of the so-called top trainers are having their hot pot favorites running Unplaced, therefore the need for 5th to 10th pace payouts. The Shams , Peter and Bremners are winning races , which is excellent.

  43. Yugen says:

    Scrap the panel. They are there for their own selfish needs. Why can’t their salaries be also docked for underperformance. This reminds of state capture 🤣🤣🤣

  44. Frank says:

    Now looking at the stakes in PE from the 1st (R 50000 and R 45000), I can only wonder how many owners will keep their hoses in training at the smaller centres. Most horses in training do not cover the cost of the horse and training fees by a long margin. If you are lucky enough for your horse to win, you will get a little over R 20000 after cost. How long will it be before these race venues close down?.

  45. Michael Jackson says:

    I am not a member of the RA, but surely a very simple solution exists – every owner resigns en masse from the organisation and stop paying the subscription? Then the organisation ceases to exist and true racing folk can form a new entity that looks after the interests of the owners! How difficult can that be? Then MDK and LW and the Phumelela cohort will be left high and dry!

  46. Sid says:

    I beg trainers and owners to please stop dressing the guys walking/parading their expensive horses a little bit better. Although most of these grooms are black, it is not necessary for them to look like the poorest of the poor this country displays on national tv and some races internationally. I take my hat off to Justin Snaith &a few others who show some respect and restore some dignity for the importance of those grooms’s work. It’s a shame to look at them race after race, day after day parading with your horses in oversized gumboots & overalls and scew fitting balaclavas as if it should be like that. Sies man!!! South Africa, don’t you have any shame?

  47. Coddy says:

    Gold circle got rid of Western Cape racing because it was always running into losses. Pumelela should get rid of Western Cape racing and not let owners suffer.

  48. Rajan says:

    it’s not fair to reduce the stakes because owners dont only pay training fees but also very high vet Bill’s.if stakes are reduce then training fees and vet Bill’s must be reduced.

  49. Yugen says:

    Easiest solution, let owners go on a strike. Ripple effect, no salaries for jockeys , stewards, and the CEOS , no revenue for bookmakers and tote.

  50. Yugen says:

    Let the owners strike. Don’t race the horses . Everything comes to a standstill, bookmakers, totes and SALARIES

  51. Undercover & Underground says:

    It is irritating to have the RA board of directors making decisions for us.

    The RA used MDK as a sacrificial lamb but he must have agreed to being thrown to the wolves.

    I am not surprised that MDK and the RA are now on radio silence.

    What the RA directors have done to owners is unforgiveable.

    Without any foresight, the RA has started the process of injuring the geese that laid the golden eggs.

  52. Bert Evert says:

    Thank you MDK for being fair. Bring back the bookmakesrs ON COURSE., the spirit left with them. Die ou afrikaanse gesegde lui, VER VAN JOU GOED, NA AAN JOU SKADE.

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