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Justin Snaith -‘We Are All In This Together’

Champion trainer makes impassioned plea

Feeling insecure and vulnerable during a time like this is completely natural – you are not alone. We are all in this together.

Champion trainer Justin Snaith writes that there are many questions going unanswered but that it is the same across all industries – we are not the only ones.

With so much uncertainty it is impossible to assess when exactly racing will resume –  this crisis is unprecedented and being dictated by forces beyond our control – no one is in a position to give accurate answers.

Justin Snaith – makes a call for us all to stick together

What we are certain of is that horse racing in South Africa is not permitted to continue during lockdown. So how we manage this time is imperative. It is a time to reflect, reset and plan ahead so that racing can come out of this with a clear path mapped out for a prosperous future.

While we all hope the lockdown will lift at the end of April, there are absolutely no guarantees and not even the Government knows when life might start returning to normal –  it will depend entirely on how we pull together as a nation to contain this uncompromising virus.

If the lockdown is lifted on April 30 and racing is permitted to commence, it will start behind closed doors and at reduced stakes -although these stakes still need to be agreed between Phumelela and the Racing Association.

This hopefully will be a temporary measure until betting revenue streams normalise. I am quite sure Gold Circle will be no different.

This crisis is devastating for all of us.

The lack of information is frustrating, but we need to stand together and give our industry leaders and the ‘new’ Racing Association in particular our support.

We fully understand the difficulties and frustration for everyone, but almost every single industry has been hit with the same degree of severity and we need to keep focussed and positive.

For now the well-being of our beautiful animals in our care is our key responsibility, along with ensuring the health of the employees in our industry.

In a time of crisis heroes are shaped. In racing’s case our heroes are, without question, the owners.

The way I have seen owners in our industry come forward and offer assistance and support is quite extraordinary and we are extremely grateful. I personally thank you all, even if you only own a small share, for your care and above all, your patience and understanding during testing times. Without you we wouldn’t have this wonderful sport we are so passionate about.

Horses do not stop eating, drinking and needing regular exercise and our grooms have stood shoulder to shoulder with us to make sure no horse has gone wanting.

The world is going to reset and it may well do so for the better.

We have an incredible country with incredible people and incredible resources and racing is one of the most resilient of all.

We have already survived two World Wars and we will weather this storm.

This is a time to stand together and support one another.

We are chomping at the bit and cannot wait to see our horses – and our supporters – back at the track.

Until then, please keep safe.

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18 comments on “Justin Snaith -‘We Are All In This Together’

  1. Calvin Naidoo says:

    Absolutely well said Justin. The straight forward truth about our current situation. Most of us waiting patiently for life to get back to normal, and racing to continue. Stay safe all.

  2. Leon Lotz says:

    Dankie Justin

  3. Ronnie says:

    Well said Justin racing is not the only industry that’s suffering at the moment .Trainers are still getting paid for keeping the horses in good health and shape.look at the border picture outside off racing.So we just need to have patience wait for the right time to race.

  4. Ralph Fell. says:

    I applaud Justin’s sentiments as there is humility in his words. Such will be the devastating economic impact on millons of homes to the extent that the ‘ leisure rand ‘ will cease to exist. It is inconceivable to me that middle/lower income groups will have any residual budget to allocate to betting. I do not have a solution, suffice to say that creative and innovative ways will have to be found to stimulate turnover.

  5. Rudi says:

    Welldone justin. Hope other big brain trainers and owners can see it the same way. Well said

  6. Alesh says:

    I say keep your chin up and move move forward all will be well, Justin thanks for the motivation we all need, I say if trainers owners breeders stand together we will all come out on tops. Stay safe all you guys. ALESH NAIDOO

  7. Brett Maselle says:

    For the past few weeks, owners have been told – slowly but surely – that they should brace themselves for a reduction in stakes after the lockdown ends.

    Can a reduction in stakes happen in Phumelela racing territories? I deal with this below.

    I start off my by referring to the following extracts set out in articles recently published by the Sporting Post.

    24 March 2020 – extract from notification – Task team formed
    ” 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.”

    2 April 2020 – extract from Joint Statement – Task Team
    “A decision about when racing will resume locally after the lockdown is lifted will be dependent on government regulations as well as the timing of the recommencement of revenue flow to the Racing Operators.
    Given these extreme circumstances, it is likely that when racing does resume, a significant reduction in stakes levels will be necessary until a semblance of normality is restored to the business, which may not be instantaneous.
    To this end, discussions will be held with Owners’ representatives prior to implementation.”

    12 April 2020 – extract from Justin Snaith letter
    “If the lockdown is lifted on April 30 and racing is permitted to commence, it will start behind closed doors and at reduced stakes -although these stakes still need to be agreed between Phumelela and the Racing Association”.

    It is evident from the above that everyone is agreed that Phumelela does not have a unilateral right to reduce stakes. Any reduction in stakes has to be agreed with the Racing Association.

    BUT can the Racing Association consent to reduce stakes after the stakes have already been agreed for the relevant racing year?

    Keep in mind that the Racing Association represents less than half the owners in Southern Africa and that any deal on stakes affects the majority of owners who are no Racing Association members.

    The Racing Association and it directors are bound by its Memorandum of incorporation (MOI). This document is, in simple parlance, the Constitution of the Racing Association. It must be followed. A copy of the MOI is found at the following web link http://racingassociation.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/MOI-2016.pdf

    The main objects of the Racing Association is set out in clause 3 of the MOI. For present purposes the relevant clause of the MOI is 3.1.5 which reads –
    3.1. The Company has the following main objects:
    3.1.5. to ensure stakes are paid on a basis agreed between the Company and Phumelela”

    The material and relevant words are “ensure” and “on a basis agreed”

    My understanding of the above is that if Phumelela and the Racing Association have agreed stakes for a particular period (i.e this current racing year) – which they have and which they have published and notified all owners in Southern Africa – the Racing Association cannot agree to reduced stakes as the Racing Association would then not have “ensured” stakes are paid on the “basis agreed between the Company and Phumelela”.

    As a matter of interest, the decision of Phumelela and the Racing Association to reduce stakes affects me. It is the most important aspect to me becoming an owner again.

    At the end of the day, my views are irrelevant to Phumelela and the directors of the Racing Association. They will do as they please, as they have always done. Should they implement a reduction or any change to the basis upon which stakes are agreed for this racing period, it is not the end. I think they may know this.

    I have no problem with anyone or any entity disagreeing with my views. Everyone has a right to their views and to voice them. I am not willing to debate the issue any further. As I have said, from the perspective of Phumelela and the Racing Association, my views count for nothing. They do however count to me.

    Finally, a big Thank You is extended to the Sporting Post for allowing me to furnish my views over the years and the views of those in horseracing that have no other outlet to express themselves.

    1. Editor says:

      Pleasure Brett – always well considered contributions

  8. Peter Doyle says:

    Nice from Justin. We are all in this together and together we will survive. Keep safe and stay alone if possible. PD

  9. Singh says:

    . Wherever unsustainable situations exist, and where too many people are not willing to intervene or correct the situation soon enough, something happens, a sort of natural correction or reset, that forces change.
    This is happening on many different fronts, worldwide, and especially here in RSA, right now.

    Things will change, by force this time, and the end result is that those who put in honest, well intended/planned efforts survive and thrive, those who did the opposite, don’t.

    Sweet Justice, courtesy of a higher intelligence.

  10. Paul Karam says:

    You quite right Advocate Maselle Racing Assocation and Phumelela will do as they like. .

  11. Jean Paul Cuvelier says:

    Well done Justin and South Africa should follow the Hong Kong exemple by racing behind close doors with strict rules such wearing masks at all time and no gathering than more than 4 people together. Obviously a temperature check for everybody at the entrance.
    At least punters can bet online like in HK.
    JP Cuvelier

  12. rashaad says:

    hi there
    I agree racing can continue behind close doors but strict regulations has to be implemented at betting shops this is where the real obstacle would be for punters to place bets and leave the premises . every betting shop across the country has punters spending the whole day from 10 am to 7 pm this is where racing authorities has to present very good guide lines to government as government are not to familiar with the day to day activities at betting shops. we had a meeting behind close doors , it is not the worst thing right now but racing has to brainstorm the gathering of punters at betting shops in order for government to accept that racing needs to resume asap

  13. Gary Turf says:

    Thanks Brett Maselle

    You have put across the legal standpoint very well.
    I trust that you can challenge the powers that be on behalf of owners and trainers in your legal capacity albeit you require support from us all

  14. Satheesh says:

    Hi guys . Well said Justin. This is just a suggestion. Please advise . I think the RA should change the tote dividend rules. When racing does resume, allow the same trainer / couple horses for pick 6 and allow 4th place for PA. This will assist punters getting back in action until such time the Board reverts back to normal rules. Again this is just my suggestion and opinion

  15. Satheesh says:

    Hi guys. The jackpot as well

  16. PL.NEL says:

    Encouragement for all. Thank you Justin Snaith.

  17. Rezack Block says:

    Vee must also take pay cut

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