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Executive Pay Cuts – Today, Say Trainers

'We can't do it alone - where's the rescue plan?'

Executive pay cuts, a no strings Business Continuity Plan and a Health Emergency Continuity Plan.

That’s the call from trainers on Day 8 of the lockdown after the SA Racing Special Task Team’s update to the racing community on Thursday was met with a lukewarm reception from some quarters.

“Who is actually working with Government on behalf of racing. And what are they putting in place – there surely must be a real plan?” asked a frustrated senior trainer.

The press release contained little real substance and has evoked concern from trainers that feel that our racing authorities are in denial. The only given is substantial stakes cuts.

“It’s easy to understand that the entire situation is uncertain. The lockdown is fluid. The revenue streams have dried up. But horses continue to eat. Staff are required to look after the horses. Staff need to be paid. The feed companies have never been easy on extending credit. They will become even more stricter,” said one trainer, who felt that the raw statistics of who actually owned what, showed that trainers were under massive pressure.

In a survey done this week at the Vaal, of the 18 trainers who provided numbers, it showed that 50% of the horses are fed and raced by the trainers themselves.

“That’s a heavy burden to bear. We need assistance. Racing needs to step in. We are not demanding freebies. We need help. We need a three month plan, now. Otherwise there will be no horses to race. That is a simple reality to avoid a catastrophe. What happens when we cannot feed our horses? We ask and nobody in authority seems interested. The Racing Association are sitting on R50 million. That’s said to be for bad times. If these aren’t bad times, then somebody is lying to somebody,” said an angry Gauteng trainer, who added that he felt for the trainers who didn’t have top clients or alternative sources of income.

Vaal and Turffontein trainers questioned the Racing Association’s gesture of assisting grooms, as published in the Sporting Post on Thursday – ‘we haven’t heard of it prior to reading about it in the Sporting Post’, was the feedback.

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“We want Mr Stuart and his Phumelela Executive to show solidarity and good faith, together with the NHA, the Racing Association and other racing authorities countrywide to agree to salary cuts. That’s the first course of action. Otherwise they are enjoying the fat of the land while the children go hungry. We are in this together. They are part of the simmering problem, which COVID-19 simply pushed over the cliff edge,” said another senior conditioner.

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42 comments on “Executive Pay Cuts – Today, Say Trainers

  1. Gman says:

    WATCH THIS SPACE!!!The #suits are cornered!!Larry must be smiling ear to ear.

  2. Jack says:

    And the worst of all is that we still don’t even know who serves on this Special Task Team, and what particular specialist experience and skills each member brings to the Team.

  3. Donald says:

    This is the third time I have posted this request ” WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE SPECIAL TASK TEAM ” ? ? ?

    Why was this information not given from day one of the ” TASK TEAM ” being appointed ? ? ?

    This / these trainers concerns cannot be addressed until we know who is meant to be dealing / resolving these legitimate matters / issues and concerns !

  4. DavidS says:

    Wow someone woke the trainers up after a long long slumber

  5. Pieta says:

    Huh? This lot taking salary cuts? I needed that lag….???

  6. Rian says:

    As a lover of horses and horse racing, I am horrified to hear that the powers that be who run this sport are grappling with what to do next, as for a plan , please man they can’t even think at this trying time
    This so called task teams has to have medical experts on board to report on the curve that is spiralling out of control and at this pace we are still in the Starting Stalls and it should actually be a false staff
    We can never race before May the way this virus is taking hold
    This is supposed to be a democracy and watching our command cluster running around like headless chickens
    Please Mr President bring in the Experts no matter their colour, or language
    We need each other, more now than ever.

  7. Gman says:

    Zondo commision here is a new enquiry!Has the industry been captured?The truth will come out lets see who will be the first to suddenly resign.

  8. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Graham HJ, you ok buddy. Geez you are quiet.

    What do you think, will the Powers in charge take a pay cut ? I know they won’t take bonuses and overtime, but a pay cut, even working from home, unlikely…

  9. Mavistos says:

    The so called Task Team should engage the government to offer assistance for trainers on given financial reprieve guidelines that will cover grooms wages ,jockeys fees and trainers overheads with a view to top up whatever government offers.

    Unbundle the mentioned r50 million in their coffers into paying feed companies for horses. This feed should be atleast on a three months period subject to review of covid status and resumption of normality in racing.

    Open up or restructure TT to include a representative of grooms, jockeys, trainers, nhra and its vet, phumelela,Racing trust (as theres money there that can be tapped into).,owners and Doh representative. If i left any, that can be added.
    In this format, every wing will be in task team and ideas, updates can be shared on how this can be tackled.

  10. Pieta says:

    Gman, I agree with the Zondo lot…..but sadly it’s so overloaded that I think we will have zondo’s funeral…..And we might have to start this looong process again.
    None of these criminals have been brought to book….nothing will happen…..you know it, your president knows it and I know it.

  11. Cliffie says:

    I love the trainers from Vaal and Turffontein they need assistance. Have you forgotten we at Flamingo Park also need assistance more so than anybody else. The food costs and salaries are exactly the same. The trainers here is on the bones of their asses. Wow the operater gave 1 month no stabling fees. If the stakes gets cut surely you have to cut stable rental as well. So please the national trainers body fight for us as well at Flamingo Park. Please we need the RA and other role players to look after us as well. I sincerely hope that the president and his goverment let us race.

    All trainers rich and poor must now stand together for the sake of racing. True if the smaller guys cant carry on you will have maybe 4 trainers left to race in the Highveld. Cannot work so lets look after the small trainers wherever we are we form part of that turning wheel.

    Stay safe

  12. Shanil says:

    Can we not learn something from the presidents plan to save the country.

  13. D. A. Pienaar says:

    The Sporting Post has published a few articles about trainers expressing their grievances and about horse racing. On each occasion, the names of the trainers are withheld. If these trainers cannot be man or woman enough to stand up and be counted, their views should not be made known. There are too many that hide in the shadows. If someone is willing to take a position on a subject matter or committee, that someone should have the strength to stand up and be named for their position and views. Horse racing is run without transparency which does not work. If we want change, everything has to change. The names of trainers should be given. The names of the Task Team should be given. Nothing can be fixed if the complainers and doers hide behind anonymity.

    1. Editor says:

      We agree – we would ideally like to name the trainers, DA Pienaar.
      But almost without exception, they are of the opinion that they will be the subject of ‘victimisation’/ malice / attack – call it whatever.
      That’s a sad indictment on the industry – but nothing new.
      It’s not only trainers either – it applies to all sectors of the game.

  14. Joao says:

    the ONLY way is to gain leverage over these people in charge. The only way is to NOT declare horses when the noms reopen there is NO OTHER WAY to get a negotiation going.

  15. Gman says:

    Yip owners should all take a stand have fields of 3 runners each owner will receive at least a place cheque everytime.Hit them where it hurts and dont fall for the job loss excuse/plea the way its goin now that is inevitable.Racing will continue in SA for years to come take a stand now for a better tomorrow.

  16. Grant says:

    D.A. Pienaar you want a name Grant Maroun. Happy

  17. George Spelvin says:

    Gman fails to understand one attribute of most owners. They are successful people in another sphere and understand the risks and trade offs in life and in play. Taking a stand usually means doing so in one’s own capacity not as part of an incoherent mob. Only losers and the weak see the upside of mob action and organised boycotts.


    £1 / 23.24 Rand

    And racing administrators expect the government to assist them with solutions for a non-essential /non-mainstream sport with certain transformation issues ?


    Just another sobering thought in and amongst the issues of pay and corporatization :

    If you or anybody is in hospital they need/are on a ventilator, 95% chance your lung tissue has been scared so badly, to a point of no return.

  20. Eric Fordred says:

    Here’s a thought, why don’t feed merchant’s, vets, farriers trainers, turf carriers, Jockeys(they would need to present a budget, with a maximum + minimum for all) and any other supplier of goods to the racing industry charge at cost price, that way everyone survives, and the game of Horseracing continues…. Because if racing goes everyone goes down the tube? I know that a lot of people will laugh at the idea, but just think about it, by the way this includes directors of racing bodies, associations, racecourses etc


    In reality, or some way or form, that’s what must happen Eric, but then would the ‘honour code’ amongst the racing industry colleagues prevail ?

  22. Gman says:

    G Spelvin fails to understand.”most owners” yes not all. Im not talking about mob action you fail to understand what I am trying to say.I cant spell it out for you.Mayb you will get my point sometime after the lockdown.Lets see what happens when a horse gets a win cheque of R10k and place cheques are -R5k.You are in denial.You will see the same owners in the winners box each and everytime bcoz the smaller owner/trainers will have to close shop.

  23. Gman says:

    @Spelvin, O yes I guess all the UK owners and trainers that boycott some racing last year and had fields of between 1 -3 runners are all LOSERS and are Weak.Maybe you dont remember coz u sound like a newby or mayb you trying to put out some flames for personal gain.

  24. George Spelvin says:

    I remember it well Gman. Unfortunately as is usual with old hands like yourself you display selective memory. The boycott was certain trainers and yards and certain venues and was not as widespread as you want to make out. Were you in England at the time or were you just reading the news without any comprehension? Please go ahead with your boycott. I’ll comment further once you do.

  25. Eric Fordred says:

    Hi William
    I have just been chatting with a very good friend of mine who happens to be a trainer, and he asked me the same question as you posed, after much discussion we agreed that it is a viable option and vital to the continuation of racing in the future, if the racing industry stands together with honesty and integrity this can be accomplished, and perhaps set an example for the rest of the country, which in itself would enhance the the already badly tarnished reputation of the industry.

  26. Rian says:

    Eric, was there any honesty, integrity while you were riding ????
    We don’t have anybody with LEADERSHIP qualities running this great Sport and it’s getting worse


    There you have it Eric,

    For what ever reason/s, the different components/parties to the SAracing scene have always pulled in different directions due to many reasons discussed/debated on the platform and others.

    Moreover, we hear time & time again from the Big Cheese’s about this loosely used phrase ” let’s work together”.

    Due to personal agendas and big ego’s, 15 to 20 people, over the years, can be rounded up, kraaled and hot branded.

    Nobody wants to be named on the record, everybody know this lot that have benefited (legally accounting wise) but not in the national interest.

    All this debate over the last 10 years or so about personal agenda’s has now been validated or brought to the fore by this Corona disaster.

    SA Racing collectively has no reserves for emergency healing.

    I couldn’t agree more with your summation Eric.

  28. Eric Fordred says:

    Hi Riaan
    To answer your question ” was there any Integrity” yes I believe there was a lot more than today, however as the old saying goes” you cannot go forward, whilst looking behind you” I refuse to believe that there are no leaders in racing, we need to find them, they are out there. I will start the ball rolling, by paying back 35% of my commission back to the remuneration scheme for Jockeys, with one proviso, and that is as follows: everyone who is involved in the Industry, which includes but is not limited to the following, Feed suppliers, Vets, Physiotherapists, Dentists, Farriers, Trainers, Jockeys, Turf Clubs, Directors, saleried employees and anyone else who may be interested in helping out the Industry all agree to work on a “cost basis” Any takers?
    Oh and by the way Riaan, I would also be prepared to work in any Capacity where necessary / needed or required on a cost basis, only travel expenses, accommodation and phone usage would need to be paid, however as we have seen due to the Corona virus there is no need for all these extravagant travel expenses and accommodation, we can just use technology!!

  29. Rian says:

    Hi Eric, thanks for answering a burning question of leadership , who are out there but we need to find them, but not yet.
    Surely to run a multi million industry we have to start with a leader
    I would like to know your opinion on bookmakers and clean racing
    One last question, and you don’t need to answer,
    Did you ever ride a horse that couldn’t win
    Thx, stayed very close to you Zeekovlei and stay safe

  30. Eric Fordred says:

    Riaan is this a discussion, about the state of racing or are you trying to insinuate something else, if so get it off your chest, Bookmakers have always been a part of racing for better or for worse, that depends entirely on your own point of view, and of course I’ve ridden horses that couId not win for one reasonn or another. I will be happy to answer any questions, you have regarding the discussion on the original topic, I see you have not made any mention in that regard?
    Why is it when anyone puts their hand up to make a difference, instead of sitting in the background bitching about everything, and doing nothing about it, there is always someone who feels the need to make themselves feel important, by making snide comments and inuendos…..? Time to grow up, your father would be ashamed of your behavior.

  31. Rian says:

    Always just been about honesty, integrity and Lack of leadership in racing, it’s easy to put your hand up but to follow through is difficult, talk is cheap
    No leadership, no pay cuts no help for those who need it, should answer your question
    Let’s not throw stones, doesn’t you

  32. Brian says:

    I was an owner, will likely never be again. I was a punter now I just have an interest in some races.

    I’m a loyal South African race follower. I’ve tried to follow Singapore, has the buggy racing, and Hong Kong.

    It’s a mess in my opinion, race after race no canter past. I have no idea what the colours of the horse are who the jockey is and I’m not going to spend a cent on a race card wherever one can get a card.

    so I’ll it it out until South African racing returns.

    I have read all the comments and well done Grant Maroun for putting your hand up and Eric as well.

    The underlying tone is one of anger arising from almost every comment. I can understand that. Racing is an absolute mess save for, in my opinion, KZN racing.

    I would love to see it all go back to clubs again and run by clubs

    PG has been a disaster!

    Do I think there should be a complete boycott of racing. Yes! but it will need a group of people to say “we are boycotting until we get this, this and that.

    It’s the this, this and that that needs to be determined first and reading these comments, that seems a far far away.

    PG has too much influence country wide and that should be broken for a start.
    An opposition to Tellytrack.

    James Goodman well done! we need that sort of view point on Tellytrack but it can’t happen. It’s run by Ja Broers. That’s because the whole board of PG needs to be fired replaced with passionate race loving people who are there for racing not for shares.

    If race loving people in all provinces run racing then the NHA will come into line.

    I have never seen the racing authority being so pathetic in my 50 years of racing.

    They only know how to fine and they make up the rules as they go along.

    Better still! The government should open racing up and remove the stranglehold the current incumbents have.

    I could go on and on but I’m sure by now every reader has fallen asleep and Ed, it’s a sad day when you correctly report that the task team won’t put their names forward for fear of, and I submit correctly so, intimidation.

    That is the true sate of racing! Run by mafia types. Well done to you mafiosa.

    You’ve ruined racing

  33. Joao (IRC) says:

    Mr Fordred

    Please email me a mandate from your jockeys stating that you will boycott race riding if the following happens.

    1: Riding fee reduced by 40%
    2: No % of stakes
    3: 3 year commitment to the above.

    I tell you why i ask. Brother there is NO way under the sun that OWNERS are taking a reduction and everybody else is not. NO way JOSE.

    I have rallied 67 owners so far. Ill be at 600 by Friday (I’m hopeful) email me if you want me to call you but WE via our trainers will have a voice.

    All we need is numbers and support and the sport we love will come out of this and be better.

    I promise

  34. DavidS says:

    Watching a program on Dstv regarding lost treasures of Egypt and we see while some preserved these treasures, giving up opportunities for personal wealth, others plundered and destroyed, this unfortunately is the pattern of men, just as guilty are those who knew and supported the plunderers as well as those that watched in silence

  35. Eric Fordred says:

    Hi Joao
    Firstly let me explain how I am involved in this conversation, I am a retired Jockey, with absolutely no mandate from the Jockeys, and have no influence over the Jockeys whatsoever and furthermore, I do not believe that this is the right time or the correct approach to the current situation. Should you wish to call me please feel free to do so. 0824569393

  36. Donald says:

    Brave man Eric to give out your mobile telephone number !

    The ” SPECIAL TASK TEAM ” will be in shock , as they operate under a ” code of secrecy ” so will not understand such transparency ?

  37. Michael Jacobs says:

    What has been disappointing and sad to see is how dyed-in-the wool racing folk and horsemen like Mike de Kock, Clyde Basel, Joe Soma, Nico Kritsiotis, Andrew Bon, Vee Moodley, Robert Bloomberg to name a few, have not stood up to Phumelela, Racing Association and the NHA as these organisations ran racing into the ground over the past 10 to 20 years!

    Phumelela and the Jooste cabal have caused the precarious ruin of racing, yet these passionate and committed racing folk have not helped to break the stranglehold of these self-enriching, self-serving corporates which have captured the industry and brought it to its knees.

    These industry leaders should be at the forefront to turn the game around and return it to its former glory, instead of standing idly by, defending Phumelela, the RA, Tellytrack and the NHA .

  38. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Hello Cecil, still listening but nothing to hear….10 days in and not a word. A pay cut ? yuo are kidding me, they are busy looking after there own personal interests first, they have no plan, they have no foundation to ask the Gov for anything except a dubious payback from the taxes to help shore up the failures of SA racing over the last few years. Why would a corrupt entity like the ANC give money to another dodgy entity they see as not worthy of there attention. SA racing has nothing to offer in that handshake that is not allowed any more ( Jooste and his hand outs )…..SA racing is empty, it has nothing to show except the set up that makes sure the same few elite get pay outs on a regular basis ( carryovers for the elite uber feature days ). Free tellytrack ? like they are doing us a favour ? they took it away and revenue must have dropped, no info for the clients…PAY IN !. Someone mentioned the Egyptian plunderers, thats a good analogy. They are busy stripping the place out right now……Guaranteed. Has the RA approached anyone ? an Owner ? a Trainer ? have we heard anything ? nope….its all about self preservation ( thats what happens when incompetence, corruption and greed mix together…..)….fuck SA racing….why nothing after 10 days ?…….because they have nothing, its broken and has been for a while. The people at the helm don’t care for the ship, they just want a life raft for themselves….I wonder how Larry is doing ? sitting pretty I bet….

  39. Donald says:

    It is painful but I am afraid that Graham H.J.s analysis of the industry cannot be disputed !

    What I fail to comprehend is that NO ENTITY that represents the industry responds to the legitimate posts that appear on this platform to give their perspective to the many concerns raised from their clients who are the bread and butter of horse racing ?

    This industry, as are all other businesses , are going to require a very firm plan / strategy for the future after COVID 19 but what that plan / strategy is , if there is a plan / strategy , appears to be a well kept SECRET by the ” SECRET task team ” sorry I meant ” SPECIAL task team ” who we do not even know the composition of after 11 days of lock down? ? ?

    Do the horse racing authorities understand the meaning of the term ” PUBLIC RELATIONS ” ? ? ?

  40. Eric Fordred says:

    Hi All
    I have it on good authority that Gold Circle, management are indeed taking pay cuts… Keep your eyes peeled for further information..

  41. Donald says:

    Good Day Eric , I have kept my eyes peeled and ears open , and am sad to report ” NOTHING SEEN OR HEARD ” to date from any entity in executive / management control of horse racing as to strategy and planning during / after this lockdown ?

    I must say that I am quite surprised that nothing is heard from Gold Circle country who are probably the most proactive of the operators in South Africa , I would have thought that they would put out a press release at least once a week during this lockdown period !

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