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.
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.