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SA Racing: Special Task Team Formed

Stakes cuts likely for minor races

Leaders of the South African horseracing industry met on Tuesday morning in the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s nationwide lockdown announcement last night and have formed a special task team to navigate the sport through the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The task team comprises representatives from Phumelela Gaming, Gold Circle, Kenilworth Racing, the Racing Association and the National Horseracing Authority (NHA), which is charged with regulating the industry.

Racing has been taking place behind closed doors since last week and in line with the President’s ruling on Monday night, the task team has confirmed that the race meeting at the Vaal  on Thursday 26 March will be the last until further notice.

Industry betting shops, including TAB, Betting World, TABgold and Track & Ball stores, will be closed this evening and tomorrow, and only online and telephone betting will be available from Thursday.

It is obviously critical that training centres nationally are able to operate during the lockdown and the NHA has been tasked with urgently seeking confirmation from Government that key individuals like track staff, trainers, jockeys, grooms, feed merchants, farriers and veterinary surgeons will be able to access training centres.

In addition, the task team intends to meet with the highest levels of Government to seek assistance in putting South African horseracing back onto a viable financial footing and thus protecting the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people employed in the industry.

Changes in provincial government legislation and other well-publicised issues have destroyed the industry’s funding model and the virus-enforced lockdown has now put the future of the entire sport at risk.

A spokesperson for the task team said every endeavour would be made to resume racing when the current lockdown ends on 17 April, but that any such resumption would obviously take place behind closed doors and conform to any restrictions and requirements laid down by Government.

If racing does resume then, it is planned to hold a major raceday at Turffontein on Saturday 18 April, when the programme will comprise the best feature races programmed during the lockdown period, as well as the Empress Club Stakes already scheduled for that day.

Klawervlei Farm Sale finish 2019 (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

In the Western Cape the Klawervlei Farm Sales Race programmed for 28 March at Durbanville will also need to be rescheduled. In addition consideration will be given to rescheduling Listed races not run in the Eastern Cape during the lockdown.

Unavoidably as a result of the loss in revenue arising from both soccer and horseracing closing down virtually globally to retard the spread of COVID-19, prize money for minor races will in all likelihood have to be reduced to keep the industry afloat.

Any such reductions will only be done after full consultation with the Racing Association, which represents the majority of racehorse owners in South Africa.

Should racing not be able to restart at the end of the current lockdown period and Champions Day, one of the big four racedays on the national calendar, cannot take place as scheduled on 2 May, it is likely that all feature races not run as a result of the lockdown will be cancelled for this year.

The task team will convene twice weekly, or as required, for the foreseeable future in order to constantly reassess the situation and to adjust plans as required.

“These are tough times for South African horseracing and the country as a whole. But racing has survived tough times before by working together and will do so again,” said the spokesperson for the task team.

  • Press release issued by Phumelela Gaming, Gold Circle, Kenilworth Racing, the Racing Association and the National Horseracing Authority

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16 comments on “SA Racing: Special Task Team Formed

  1. Kev says:

    It’s amazing, we are at ground zero and the spin just continues to spew.

    Is this ‘the way forward?’

    Special Task Team? Give us names. The existing generals have given us zero cause for confidence and they are no doubt our Swat members.

    Spokesman? They have such inflated opinions of their prowess. Anonymous autonomous blah, blah.

    Get rid of the management, they have cost the industry a fortune in poor decisions, zero foresight and fatcat salaries.

    Genoeg is really genoeg.

  2. Craig says:

    In current terms this announcement is like WHO telling us that Covid 19 desperately looking to find a vaccination against itself.

  3. Pieta says:

    They are now speaking from behind their masks……why no names?
    Who are these people?

  4. jai says:

    to hell with this task team .respect the presidents discission he is acting for the best intrest of the people off south africa and not the horses of racing.
    so guys catch a wake up all business in s.a. big or small are suffering at this time .so if your guys cannot sustaine your industry please hang your saddles!!!!!!!!!!!!.
    it was made very clear by the president that people will loose there jobs .
    so task team follow the rules of the country whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

  5. AceKAV says:

    If you are not an employee of this industry I suggest you do not comment on these such issues that you do not understand.

  6. jc lee ching says:

    This is a very serious and deadly problem. In times like these we should all pull together. Don’t throw stones. I f you have nothing constructive to share rather not comment.

  7. AceKAV says:

    Well said jc.

  8. Rishad says:

    What is the deadly an serious problem currently in south Africa an the world ..is it Covid 19 or the lack of racing

  9. Donald says:

    All good and well not to throw stones at this difficult time but I agree with the fact that that press release , which has some serious valid points , is poorly structured , is too vague as usual and the appointed task team should have been named !

    The industry should have appointed a spokesperson ages ago ?

  10. Titania McTaggart says:

    Spokesperson = someone who has no authority but can speak eloquently about stuff nobody understands. The type of person needed in a crisis when all words fail.

  11. George says:

    jai should learn to spell and not so willingly display “its” total lack of coherent writing. In a crisis the most illiterate and unintelligent often have the most to say. I suggest that jai takes the next 21 days to improve “its” level of spelling and grammar and also learns to tolerate the views of others.

  12. king chris says:

    we all in the same boat but the powers that be are quick to cry poverty to protect themselves.

  13. king chris says:

    And why do you have to be in this industry to comment what makes them unique in terms of what the country is experiencing.so only they going through hard times?

  14. Gman says:

    if you are a punter that classes you as being in the industry.Our money contributes to this industry.Get off your high donkeys.

  15. racing fever says:

    Where has this task team been all along?

    If they are so special did they not realise that racing as a whole was under pressure
    Why Now?
    If they could not see ahead then not sure if they can see answers ahead now

  16. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    So right racing fever.

    Exchange rate today Rand /£ 22.14 Record low

    Do any of those corporate racing administrators think Gov want to hear their sad stories now ?…please.

    Racing will resume, but will never recover. The foundations will crumble and crumble a little more, and so on and so on.

    In 18 months time a total collapse

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