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Racing Association – An Update

3879 horses received the grant

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.

Brian Riley RA Acting Chairman

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.

RA Logo

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.

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13 comments on “Racing Association – An Update

  1. Gman says:

    Check out the transparency.Well done.
    So do we know who took a paycut of 1% and who are the «LUCKY ONES» who took the 50% pay cut.

  2. garrick says:

    Well done,sir! I have owned horses since 1978 and have expected (and received) nothing from management other than a stakes regime which has been in uninterrupted decline since the 90s.
    As a gesture of intent this is much appreciated and does more to foster my ties to racing than all the endless ‘let’s pull together’ bs which has been flowing in an interrupted stream since the crisis began.

  3. Karen Wright says:

    The Jockeys also need financial help.

  4. Pieter G says:

    3879 horses IN TRAINING in the RSA , excluding KZN, for which a GRANT of R1000 each was ASKED and RECEIVED. It boggles the mind that the sport of horse racing has so many horses IN TRAINING during the CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN and so many KINGS that need FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.

    According to NHRA STATISTICS for the 2018/2019 racing season there were 4779 horses in RSA and Zimbabwe that were IN TRAINING.

    Is it possible that KZN and Zimbabwe has only 900 horses IN TRAINING? I doubt it. Most probably at least double this amount, if not more horses are in training in KZN and Zimbabwe.

    But that’s not all what about all the horses that are OWNED and not in training and are on farms or elsewhere, but not in training?

    On my CALCULATIONS of horses IN TRAINING, the business of horse racing OWNERSHIP and TRAINING is doing fantastically well has a lot of KINGS.

    And that certainly is not all as the figures given to us about horses in training, do not include a those thousands of EUTHANASED horses we have been told about by trainers.

  5. Donald says:

    Thank you for that update Mr. Brian Riley it is most refreshing to get information and feedback from the R.A. that not to long ago was operating under a cloak and dagger mentality !

    Karen Wright , a blanket statement like ” the jockeys also need financial help ” does not help your cause ? Surely ALL jockeys do not need financial help ? You need to clarify your statement a little so that it can be understood which jockeys you are referring to and what type of financial help is required ?

  6. Roderick Mattheyse says:


    The NHA number of 4 779 would not have included the current crop of 2 yr olds. for the 2019 racing season 6184 horses ran at least once – and many 2 yr olds had not run yet. So if one factors in lots of unraced horses it seems many many have fallen off the cliff

    The NHA numbers have not taken into account the carnage on the stud farms – numbers have dwindled since the market has collapsed as an illustration for the 2017, 2678 foals have been registered, for the 2018 year only 1913 so far – there are usually late registration but not anywhere near this amount.

    The new risk if racing resumes is the shortage of horses!

  7. Hamisj Stewart says:

    How does R1000 per horse help any owner???Tax open bet(tote bets) winnings (@6%.No loss to bookmaker .Punters are used to being handled and would gladly subsidise stakes for racing.Punters do not go buy sweets with winnings they live to fight another day.My winning bets average R40 000 monthly and losing bets R50 000.So what if they took R2400 a month off my winnings just means losing bets would be R47600 but i as a single punter would contibute +/- R40 000 a year to stakes .Bigger picture maiden winner gets R200 000

  8. Pops says:

    William,William, Hamisj Stewart seems to need your help here.Or could he be using Chinese Bookkeeping?

  9. Hamisj Stewart says:


  10. Brendon says:

    @ Pops,

    Hamishj might be onto something here!

    @ Hamishj, my Geography teacher in standard 6 asked us this question in our first lesson:

    Which is heavier:

    a) one kilogram or rock, or
    b) one kilogram of feathers?

    and he advised us to take our time before we answer by show of hands!.

    Here is another question – If you lose:
    i) R50,000 at the bookmaker taking the open bet and the bookmaker pays 0% tax; or
    ii) R50,000 at the bookmaker taking the open bet and the bookmaker pays 6% tax


    R2,400 a month based on the Gregorian calender of 12 months does not equate to R40,000 p.a., with or without +/-.

    Hamishj, I suggest that you run a R2,400 debit order off your account, monthly, in favour GC and KR (MOD is not showing these guys any love) and they can jointly hold a maiden race in your honour for R200,000 in 7 years time (Gregorian) or 5 years (you calender).

  11. Cecil Pienaar says:

    This is why The Govt should allow alcohol and cigarette sales immediately. The stuff that people are buying from car guards and at robots is No Good !

  12. hamish stewart says:

    POPS,My humble Apologies for the typo ,should Read +/- R30 000 and not R40 000.
    If i spend R10 on a winning quartet and my dividend paid is R110 then ive won R100.The bookmaker deducts 6% of my winnings then ive won R94.My payout would now be R104.
    I then take a quartet for R104 and it loses.You would say i lost R10 but the reality is that i lost R104
    The minute i collect its my money and hence i stated that as punters we do not go and buy sweets with winning bets we simply have another go. .Its all about turnover and thats the context of my contribution. Hypothetically,If bookmakers paid out 50 million a month of winnings on open bets we are looking at R3 million a month deductions from winning bets
    .Thats 15 maiden races for 2 year olds a month worth R200 000 each.
    NB .does not cost the racing operator a cent.

  13. Namsat says:

    We are just appreciative that something has been put back into the pot for Owners …. the 1k does help the end figure, and now that its paid to the Trainers they have some float, to carry them albeit not much.

    Thank you Brian Riley

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