It’s been a couple of months since the Racing Association AGM was held, writes acting Chairman Brian Riley.
To think that we were able to hold the meeting in CT and follow up with another one in PE “face to face” seems like a lifetime ago.
They were the days when horses actually raced and people went to watch.
Given the lockdown restrictions, the RA has, like many other companies and associations, been holding its meetings remotely.
We have also held far more meetings than normal as more challenges have emerged.
The Racing operators have come under severe pressure with Phumelela moving into business rescue and Kenilworth Racing suffering severe cash flow constraints.
The turn of events required the RA to consider how best to support its members and more broadly all horse owners within our jurisdiction.
Our initial approach was to support stakes until the end of the season. A commitment of R13.1 million was approved for May, June and July. This support lessened the dramatic reduction implemented by Phumelela.
It’s cash flow issues forced it to renege on the previously negotiated stakes agreement down to 40% of the original amounts. Our support programme was due to increase the stakes by just over 20% for the 3 months. At that time we expected to race. When racing was put into “lockdown” we redirected the funds to the current grant support programme.
Every effort was made to maintain training programmes for our horses and an amount of R220 000 was paid to assist grooms living at training centres with hand sanitizers, masks, temperature monitors, taxis to assist grooms to go shopping as well as certain contributions towards foodstuffs.
We thank the grooms for their co-operation and are pleased to report that our efforts have not been in vain.
The training centres have been inspected by various bodies both human and equine who have been satisfied with the health programmes that were introduced and adhered to.
We have just finalized the payments for the first month of the grant support programme and included below the details of the claims and payments for your information.
A total of 91 trainers or 97% of total trainers submitted claims for the RA’s Covid-19 Relief Grant to Owners for May 2020.
3 879 horses qualified to receive the grant over each region as follows:
Region Trainers Horses Total Rand Amount Paid
Highveld 45 2079 R 2 079 000
Eastern Cape 13 633 R 633 000
Northern Cape 6 171 R 171 000
Western Cape 21 839 R 839 000
Private Yards 6 157 R 157 000
A total of R 3 879 000 has been paid/will be paid out to trainers for the month of May and these same amounts will in turn be credited against the relevant owners’ accounts.
The programme will continue until we recommence racing, hopefully on the 1st of June. Thereafter we will stop the grant support programme and divert the funds back to stakes.
There has been a fair amount of work done on the membership programme. As you know we are currently without a CEO and Chairman.
To spread the workload we have co-opted Garth Towell and Mapula Sambo onto the board. Their backgrounds and details are being uploaded onto the RA website. Both have skills that are useful to the RA.
Garth has tabled a new tiered member benefit scheme for consideration which we believe could significantly transform the current scheme.
In addition we continue to support the NHRA in its efforts to persuade the “Command Council” to resume racing.
Four of our directors are assisting the Mary Oppenheimer Daughters in its efforts to come to an arrangement with the Business Rescue Practitioner of Phumelela to save its racing assets.
We are also now meeting once a week with all of the main racing organizations with the long term vision to restructure the industry into a unified body.