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Racing – Where To Now?

Body blow for the sport

While horseracing scrambles to find a sympathetic ear in government, the announcement on Monday evening by President Ramaphosa of an unprecedented national lockdown from midnight on Thursday 26 March to 16 April, in an effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, could see Thursday’s Vaal meeting the last for some time.

While it is likely that representations will be made by the industry to Government to keep some form of live racing going, it is to be reasonably expected that, as things stand right now, Thursday’s racemeeting will probably be the last for the next three weeks, and until such time as the Government lifts restrictions.

Ramaphosa’s decision, while not unexpected, is in the national interest, but is likely to deal a body blow of gigantic proportions to an industry already faltering under pressure.

The lockdown includes all non-essential services and the nation has been asked to stay at home and only to leave home for essential shopping and medically related care.

Many trainers have the Grooms living on site, but it is those trainers whose personnel have to travel that face a real challenge. Are they permitted – legally and morally – to oblige their staff to travel and possibly risk infection?

While horseracing is unique, in that the sport involves bloodstock that have to be cared for, fed and exercised daily, the argument may well be that the continuation of a minimal quota of daily racing provides a vital lifeblood to ensure the wellbeing of the animals around which the sport revolves.

We have asked the authorities for a comment.

Watch this space for more news as the story develops.

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35 comments on “Racing – Where To Now?

  1. DEAN DEMONT says:

    Phumelela is on its knees already, 3 weeks without any revenue, will undoubtedly be the folding of the company. As the article says,horses still have to be fed, groomed and exercised, and perhaps a ruling can be put in place for racing to still go ahead, if the JSE,banks and Supermarkets can still operate, many of the employees have to resort to public transport to get them there.. we can only hope that it still goes ahead,for the betterment of a game in dire straights..

  2. Shay says:

    Can we run the July on Wednesday???? Asking for a friend.

    1. Editor says:

      What will that help?

  3. Deon says:

    horseracing is the same as casinos. not essential services. under circumstances best to shut down.to many bored punters will lose money they will need for their families in the weeks to come


    Mr. Editor, Shay means this Wednesday, before the shutdown 😷😷😷😷

  5. Rishad says:

    Well done to Cyril ramaphosa….leading The country it’s not an easy job being the president ,He is doing whats best for the country not for sporting codes an racing enthusiast….!Good to see leaders of the world working together.

  6. Speedster says:

    I’m so happy I have left the racehorse ownership ranks a couple of months ago, couldn’t have come at a better time….. All the best for the industry, hope that it will survive all these complicated setbacks while they are already on their knees.

  7. Ignatius Fourie says:

    I feel the decisions was made very quickly without consulting most of the insustries, a total shutdown needs time and preparation. I do think that the horse racing industry has to pressure government to go ahead as usual. I think there is a massive deference between casinos and horse racing. We already have strict measures put in place to be able to run and operate safely.

  8. Clinton says:

    Horse racing supports my life,now I’m gd as dead how will I survive in this world !

  9. Sipho says:

    Me thinks, 3 weeks without racing is fine. We rather stop the virus first than worry with the financial viability of Phumelela. It worries me that the main concern here is with profits than the wellbeing of staff members, jockeys & grooms.

  10. lorraine fouquereaux says:

    The are many many other people wondering if their businesses will survive. So….what makes horse racing fraternity think they should be treated any differently. A lockdown is a lockdown. It’s a non essential service…so lockdown.

  11. Van Niekerk says:

    Stop Fussing N Moaning All Of U Leave it In GODS Hands
    Which Most of U Have 4gotten only worried about Casinos and Racing Life will Carry On Look at History every 100 years mother Nature does a Cleansing
    Take a Break sit in Your Garden and Say Thank To Above for the Day and I CAN Eat a Humble Meal. Take Care Bra

  12. twinkletoes says:

    So why can’t horse racing continue the way it has the last 2 weeks? If the JSE can continue trading, for the life of me I can’t see how it’s an essential service, just allows for the bloodbath to continue

  13. Gman says:

    Everyone is in the same boat.Not one entity is benefiting from this lockdown,Yes money will be lost but whats more important is that everyone concerned will stay at home safe and be with their families especially their children.You cant put money first and your life as well as the ones you love LAST.Racing will continue with or without you.
    Correct decision Mr President (BUIG DIE BOOM TERWYL HY NOG KLEIN IS)

  14. MGram says:

    Van Niekerk I am told that god only plays the open bet hea ao sick of the incompetence at Phumelela. Can you confirm?

  15. Wilson says:

    Did Phumelela worry about the 500 employees it retrenched in July 2019 ? Phumelela did what it had to do to survive. The same goes for the President and his latest 21 day lockdown decree. The President is thinking of South Africa. There will be plenty of collateral damage but it had to be done for South Africa to survive. It is easy for us to be selfish. We all have the flight and fright feelings. Life has to go on. We are all in the same boat. Some of us think we are entitled to relax on the pool deck and can balcony suites. The reality is that we all booked our tickets at the same day and they were handed out through luck of the draw. We all have to ride the wave together. Personal fortunes or circumstances are irrelevant. We must work together. Horse racing may lose an engine or two on this horrid journey but it will survive. Money is not the be all and end all of everything. We do not get buried with our money. It is useless to us if we cease to exist.

  16. George Spelvin says:

    Everyone is not in the same boat. Eighty percent of South Africans depend on someone who earns an income from non secured work and most of these people have no savings to tide them over. They are not in the same boat as those who depend on someone who will be paid despite being at home. Being safe at home with one’s kids and loved ones while simultaneously being unable to feed them is a daunting task for many.


    What happens if you need to go out/travel for a hug ?

  18. Rian says:

    You will need to apply at your nearest police station / Magistrate giving reasons why you need the hug, supply proof that you have the necessary safety gear and away you go

  19. Stephen Carter says:

    Old punters never die, they just get grumpy now and then. “April is the cruellest month” with no racing but we will survive to wager some more.


    Phew..I’m alive then Rian

  21. Michael Jacobs says:

    The correct decision was made. I’ve always said that racing should/could continue until such time as a decision is made around lockdown, and that time has now come. Now that all non-essential activities have ceased, racing must play its part. I don’t understand how they can even think of approaching govt to apply for an exemption, what makes racing mpre special? It will also set a precedent and other businesses will also think they can approach govt!

  22. Rian says:

    You will be around for many moons, William, your flair for the game will survive longer

  23. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Ja Nee, William en Rian, ek stem saam. Onkruid vergaan nie, vra maar my Skoon Ma… Ek beplan om saam julle 2 Horing Oud te word.. en Al die Ander goeie ballies op SP, Mnr Ed ingesluit…

    Bly maar liewer tuis William, gaan uit vir n Hug en kom dalk terug met n Bug.

    Vriendelike Groete


    Goeie raad, Mr. Pienaar & Rian

    Daar is sommige van die middernag foute/gorga’s wat griewelik is

  25. Donald says:

    Gold Circle , innovate and stay relevant ! As soon as this passes race every Friday night for the lost race meetings !

    In fact P.G. can do something similar at Turffontein , they have lights that have fallen into disuse over the past 3 or so years !


    Lorraine Fouquereaux, surname of the year ! We are back in the courts at Versailles amongst royalty, Sporting Post Bloggers !

  27. james says:

    thats the end off the durban season and gold circle

  28. vincent richter says:

    commenting on Clinton, who makes a living from punting…surely not from betting, donkeys keep on winning, above n beside the fact that formstudy means little these days. might as well just focus on the class horses in positions 1,2,3,4 !!!

  29. Gman says:

    @G Spelvin. Only SA racing is running 2mro and thursday.THE REST OF THE WORLD BASICALLY ON LOCKDOWN ASWELL. If you have the solution to this pandemic please share with us the way forward. PLEASE RUN FOR PRESIDENT YOU HAVE MY VOTE OF ZERO CONFIDENCE😕😕😕!!!!!

  30. Les Taylor says:

    As a horse owner i am all for the lockdown as long as the R A can step up and have a solution to how do we tell the trainers and grooms that they wont be getting paid this month ? Will owners pay there trainers whilst there horses can not run or be trained to substain the stable fees , we all in it for the winners cheque and also the pride of owner of a winning horse , im closing my businesses that give me the income to pay the trainers and grooms
    Where to from here ? I would love to think that 21 days is enough time to flatten the curve but its a big ask it may take a lot longer, praying for better days

  31. Mahadi says:

    I support a lock down decision for the safety of our life’s.. But my worry is that’ many Phumelela employees will lose their jobs after this…

  32. Gman says:

    Maybe the decision makers at the table can take a pay cut or use some of the carry over funds @ the KZN center to pay the grooms/Tab employers for this month.Their must have been 3 or 4 Pick6 carry overs since end FEB.

  33. Donald says:

    Now we watch that roulette wheel spin on Tellytrack , I have a seven foot T.V. and cannot make out a thing on what is supposed to be going on let alone being able to see the numbering that creep on and off the screen ?

    The most important winning number appears nowhere after each spin !

    It appears that Tellytrack have all gone home and set the worst screen saver they could find on the internet for us to enjoy !

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