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Snaith Presidential Petition Rallies Support

Thousands of jobs and horses future in balance

The plight of the South African horseracing industry continues to be covered on mainstream media platforms nationally.

IOL.co.za reports that the national lockdown has placed South African horse racing under serious threat of closure, which would seal the fates of 60 000 jobs, and see thousands of horses euthanised.

In a last-ditch attempt to ward off this scenario, members of the industry have put together an online petition appealing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to step in and save them by allowing “horse racing to continue behind closed doors”.

Champion racehorse trainer Justin Snaith (pictured right, above), who has collected over 20 000 signatures for the petition in two days, said: “This entails strict protocols and social distancing without any on-course spectators whatsoever.

“We are asking for closed racing which will involve about 65 people on a 100 hectare property with around 15 minutes of actual racing per day. That is all it will take to avoid the total collapse of this beautiful industry.

“Failure to resume racing now will see this industry close its doors for ever, along with the loss of 60 000 jobs and an international media disaster for South Africa, which would come about with the euthanasia of thousands of horses that can no longer support themselves by racing,” said Snaith.

The National Horse Racing Authority’s chief executive, Vee Moodley, said: “The health and safety of all stakeholders is of paramount importance to us, thus we acted swiftly in joining the government to flatten the curve. We are proud that up until now, through the stringent enforcement of the rules, we have no reported cases of Covid-19 in any part of our industry and we intend to keep it that way.

“We have applied to the government for financial assistance, and we are told that it is under consideration,” Moodley said.

Meanwhile, Phumelela Gaming and Leisure (PGL) which went into business rescue last week has received a cash injection from the Oppenheimers.

South Africa is the eighth most important horse-racing market out of 65 countries, which is significant for horse exports and profitable TV rights.

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49 comments on “Snaith Presidential Petition Rallies Support

  1. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Government must stop playing with people’s lives,,there’s are thousands of grooms that can barely survive,,they need to think quick and fast before things really get out of hand,, it’s no brainer to start racing,,especially knowing how strick we’ll be while we race it’s no brainer that we’ll follow the Covid-19 rules,, we are going to see bloodbath if we do not start racing soon…not only grooms but the whole industry has been effected seriously by the Covid-19…I’m still shacking my head with the amount of people that are just roaming around shopping malls and street corners,, there’s thousands out there that are not even worried following the Covid-19 rules…individual behaviour towards the Covid-19 rulling is a absolute joke people just don’t care,, you’ll swear that the Coronavirus does not exist.. Government needs to take our matter seriouly and act asap…pls Government you need to vision the damage that the Coronavirus will cause if we don’t race in the next week or 2 and no longer…

  2. Grant says:

    Hi Ed.

    President to address the nation tonight @ 20.30.
    Let’s hope its positive news .

  3. NOLA Rathbone says:

    CONGRATULATIONS to the Snaiths for doing something positive for our horses and the future of racing.
    Also I am so uplifted by our jockies song. Thank you everyone for your courage. Owners Trainers Jockeys and our massive support teams servicing our great industry

  4. Pops says:

    This is when thinks are going to go south with pleas to government.
    How can Justin state that–“We are asking for closed racing which will involve about 65 people on a 100 hectare property’.Be serious.
    So a church will say, ‘We want to hold a church service of 130 members on a 200 hectare property’
    Do you think government is really going think,that is fine because there will be only one person occupying about 1 hectacre of the property.That will sort out social distancing.
    Let one group deal with the problem with government.

  5. Jin says:

    Pops no horses will die and very few people will be unemployed if religious meetings are held off. Government can’t compare the 2

  6. Moh says:

    False Statements Like This Will Only Hurt Horse Racing In The Long Run.
    Do Not Under Estimate Our Government.
    Horse Racing Will Survive.
    There Is No Need To B…..SH…T Our Leaders.

    ☆Failure to resume racing now will see this industry close its doors for ever, along with the loss of 60 000 jobs and an international media disaster for South Africa, which would come about with the euthanasia of thousands of horses that can no longer support themselves by racing☆

    1. Editor says:

      Moh, can you explain why you believe it’s a false statement?

  7. Garrick Bergh says:

    Racing folk (and I’m one of them!) really need to climb out of their self absorbed bubbles and understand the bigger, national picture :
    Regrettably 60,000 jobs amongst a population of approximately 60,000,000 is a pinprick so beating that drum rings a little hollow.
    I sadly doubt whether there is any great concern at government level about the horses. Substitute the slogan ‘one settler, one bullet’ with ‘one horse, one bullet’ and that problem is taken care of.
    Industry insiders seem to be labouring under the illusion that there is some sort of massive pent up punter demand waiting for the gates to open so that the gamblers can re-grease the wheels. With the current destruction of essential businesses the only pent up demand may well be for the soup kitchen.
    Racing has quickly forgotten that a few short months ago it initiated litigation against the very entity from which it now seeks a dispensation. They sure know how to make friends to build goodwill for the bad weather!
    Add to the above the reality that the sport is still a white dominated, purely recreational activity and I don’t see the cavalry coming any time soon.

  8. Mac Naidoo says:

    Using grooms and euthanasia these thoroughbreds are you kidding. You can’t fool everyone

  9. Pops says:

    Jin,souls would die and bishops,pastors,prophets and other named saints,and there are many of those, would be find themselves in the poor house and unemployed if religious meetings are held off

  10. Jill Lloyd says:

    I see no reason at all why racing cannot continue under closed doors. It will keep things going until the virus abates. The very thought of all those beautiful animals having to be euthenased is abhorrent.

  11. suzanne o'meara says:

    please allow clean cruelty free horse racing to commence & do not give way to massive ritual slaughter of equines but appreciate the special qualities of horses to share

  12. Andre says:

    The severe lockdown is really overreaching a decision made with data that does not justify q total collapse of a country’s economy.

    There are more TB, Aids and flu fatalities if one uses the same data source.

    SA government unfortunately does not have the will, foresight and capability to reason, rationale about the real compact and mature enough to form dialog with groups, organisation and individuals that does not conform to their ideology.

    Industries like horse racing suffers the consequences of a nanny and polirised state.

    This unreasonable behaviour must stop!

  13. Boete says:

    Well done Justin the ncc needs to really thing racing behind closed doors needs to happen .I hope future positions in the racing for jobs for pals because thing like this happens they can’t make think before granting positions gold circle

  14. Leon Smuts says:

    I find it deeply disturbing how little regard we have for human life and human suffering. Suddenly 60 000 jobs and who knows how many families are of little concern in the context of a population of 60 million people. Really, this is how we are thinking? How many 60 000’s need to lose their jobs in this and other industries before it matters. What type of a government could argue like this and serve their mandate to improve the livelihoods of the nation at the same time.
    What human beings think like this and coldly quotes numbers without feeling for each of these individuals. Its not just death and job losses but people robbed of their dignity to feed their families and make a contribution in a world that is harsh and deeply unequal. How many lost jobs will be reactivated after this scourge has taken its toll and run its course?
    These are dire times that will haunt us for long after the fact and will have an impact on every person either directly or indirectly, immediately or somewhere in future. Disregarding the importance of any job or any person is something to be ashamed of.
    I don’t doubt that some facts are overstated and perhaps even exaggerated but it does not take away from the importance of saving every job we can.I hope that racing will resume sooner rather than later and it has nothing to do with my appetite to have a bet.

  15. kenny says:

    Where is the ‘tote operating during lock-down’ strategy, or the tote staff doesn’t matter?

  16. Moh says:

    Mr Editor I Must Be The Only One Who Has His Eyes Open

    I Will Break It Down For You, Using CAPS To Emphasise My Point.

    ☆FAILURE to RESUME racing NOW will see this industry close its doors FOREVER
    ALONG WITH THE LOSS OF 60000 JOBS and an international media disaster for South Africa, which would come about WITH the EUTHENASIA of THOUSANDS of HORSES that can no longer support themselves by racing☆

    Now Means ☆at the present time or moment☆ That Means if Mr Snaith Is Right He Can Take Up Fortune Telling After Racing Closes Forever.

    Mr Snaith Had Better Correct his Statement Quickly As He Is Helping Horse Racing Continue With Its Bad Reputation Amongst Ordinary Folk.

  17. Gman says:

    Can everyone please include the loss of income for trainers and their families,
    Huge farms where horses are kept/Bred and trained will most probably became vacant for who knows what,
    Huge losses for current owners of horses who invested millions in their babies,
    Horse exports are still pending so breeding will cease to exist.
    Using Grooms as the main worry each and every time is becoming abit boring.
    Yes all above is included when they say 60000+ jobs but stop using the grooms in each and every article.
    Just come clean and say Im worried about the tens of thousands if not millions I will lose if owners/trainers have to euthanase these horses.

  18. malperumal says:

    Can someone please explain how the resumption of racing is going to save 60 000 jobs and the lives of horses.
    Vee has said that there are 6000 horses in registration, right?
    The number of 1 groom per horse is touted which is totally not factual.
    So where is the other 9 people per horse being employed from?
    Clearly this does not match up to the NHA website numbers.
    Secondly and more importantly, the stake pot is largely made up of betting on the tote. So please answer for how long can stakes be paid out with basically no income stream. The online income stream will largely go to the bookmakers and not GC or PGL.
    Am I missing something here?

  19. Rian says:

    There is no lobby group looking after our interests in this Gov , most of the Cabinet,who are also the 19 that form the NCC who make the decisions and the splits are forming
    How are the rest of Cabinet who are not part of the NCC feeling, maybe Minister of Sport and recreation should be involved as this is also a sport and colours are given and anthem sung
    Thank goodness for Mrs Slack and all her contributions and let’s hope this great SPORT survives

  20. Praga says:

    Good points Garrick Bergh.People should remember that there’s over 3b people under lockdown.Doctors and scientists are still grappling to get to grips with this virus.They are not even sure if the virus mutates,so we are taking a chance going forward wrt easing down measures.It could work or it could flatten us.

  21. Tracey Sleep says:

    If they want to euthanize a horse I will have it

  22. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    Did the Snaith Petition see the repeat offer by Tracey Sleep, and forgive me Tracey, or are most of the petitioners asleep ?

    Could the Snaith petition not be forthright with the number of jobs affected in the racing industry ?

    Could you not say +30 000, or something like that?

    Hollywoodbets have by far the biggest amount of employees, every Tom, Dick and Harry knows…

    So take that and times it by Ten & add on all the farriers, vets, you all know the other so-called subcontractors and you won’t get close to 60 000

    Sies man….It’s an incongruous statement

    Everybody wants to race but be genuine.

    By the by, this platform often get criticized by others for publishing sensationalism …. Please look at yourselves

  23. Jin says:

    It’s all so skew. Without horses there would be no racing or jobs/income in the first place! And yet everyone is more concerned with the human factor first…. as per usual. Go figure why this planet is in such a mess

  24. Pops says:

    Well there we have it.Did the Pres not say ‘where we made mistakes we will make amends’

  25. Grant says:

    Yip, as you say pops , let’s hope the right people with influence can get through to the covid command council this time. This neither here or there from them who needs netflix.

  26. Donald says:

    Tracey Sleep have you received any reply from trainers / owners to your offer which you made some days ago and I made a comment that you would receive no response ?

    Now lets turn to the resumption of horse racing in South Africa :

    This will not occur before 1st June 2020 so let the leaders of the industry start TODAY with getting this confirmed in principle by government and then planning can then proceed accordingly in an informed manner and not just clutching at straws in the dark as has been the situation for the past few weeks !

  27. Alan says:

    I feel the Snaith petition is more about Snaith and his wealthy owners / breeders than any grooms losing their jobs. I have yet to see any grooms living in the lap of luxury or driving around in fancy cars despite many grooms serving the industry loyally for decades.

    The breeders sell their horses for millions especially in the Jooste buying era so why can’t they sustain a few weeks of lockdown.

  28. Tian van Taak says:

    I agree with this effort , I do think though that a trainer that has to put an effort up instead of the governing body collectively getting all 60000 involved parties onboard. Should bargaining councils, suppliers and trade unions not all do the effort without question . Should each trainer not do their own effort should each farm not have all parties involved on the same page . Why is every stakeholder waiting , the seriousness of the situation surely is understood by all .

    I think that great opportunities may be ahead fundraising racing programs .
    Bring racing to public , put racing back on the radio so that more public can get opportunitiy to get involved .

    One of the big marketing ventures of the past was the “ ok grand gold bowl “ where u would get raffle tickets on purchase of products .

    Racing will return before most sporting events it will definitely return to full status before most other gambling companies. Take a step back and see the bigger picture .

    I do however feel that waiting and not showing the importance of getting all parties together rather than complaining that that nothing happens .

    That list should be 60000 strong without even questioning. I am sure that measures of safety can be assured.

    This is not matter of how yet , rather a matter of collective agreement.

    I am but a racing enthusiast and do not consider myself to have the answers , though at times I look at the industry from the outside and see personal objectives overcome the greater industry growth and development.

    Fair opinion and fair play

  29. Oscar says:

    For the sake of the horses and grooms.
    I sincerely hope that the Snaiths are successful in their endeavour to get government to resume racing albeit behind closed doors.
    Minister Patel has mentioned last week that he will restart racing As Soon As Possible.
    If lock down can be brought down from
    Level four to level three.
    His terms on resuming racing was that infections must stop rising and testing must be expanded.
    Realistically these conditions were impossible to achieve.
    However last night the President has thrown him a life line to get out of a tough situation..
    Minister Patel the President has virtually
    Left it to you’ll to decide the fate of racing.
    If the Ministers went to the Training Centres and race courses they will be convinced that the standards of Sensitization, masks and social distancing
    is on a different level.
    This was your Acid Test please pass it.
    If not for the humanbeings then do it for the innocents horses whose lives are in your hands.
    Time is running out and the killings have already started.
    My brother I trust that you will resume racing As soon As Possible to stop this carnage.

  30. Pops says:

    Oscar,you say the killings have already started.Suppose you are talking of the horses.
    1) Can you say which stable/stables have started the killings.
    2) How many horses have been killed as of 10th May.
    3) Names of horses killed and owners names.
    If you cannot answer to one of those questions,then you are saying something that is false.
    Editor,if horses have been killed would that information appear where?
    With horse ,trainer owner’s names?

  31. Oscar says:

    I really cannot believe how insensitive people like Mac Naidoo are.
    While you were sleeping.
    Many people like the Snaith.Team.
    People on this site like Frankie and Justin Hoffman also Andrew Bon and Hazel Kagiya are leaving no stone unturned to get racing started agaiin but seems like you are not an animal lover.
    So instead of making negative statements
    Why don’t you just shut up or sign the petition and donate to a worthy cause..

  32. malperumal says:

    Pops, I have raised this question before with no response. My gut feel is there is no culling.
    And if there is culling taking place, then I suppose no one will buy horses from the Summerhill dispersal sale?

  33. Oscar says:

    Ifs unbelievable how some of you guys think.
    We have started the bickering while meetings are under way.
    Where is all this negativity coming from.
    If you guys really loved animals you would not be so negative.
    The cost to maintain a horse is very high.
    The vets cost is enormous.
    Recently my neighbour who is a pensioner borrowed 4000rands from Atlas loans to pay the bills.
    When I took my dog to the vet sometime back the vet demanded 700 rands to attend to my dog They did not want to accept 500rands I told them I will go to the bank and withdraw the additional 200.rand
    They refused to help me.
    By the time I went to the bank and came back my dog had died.
    Imagine the vets costs for the horses.

  34. Oscar says:

    Mr pops my.focus is.to try an avoid a situation that is getting dire by the day
    There are horses that have been euthanized.
    Soon you will require a.birth certificate from.me and also want be to take you to the cemetery where they are burried.
    These are very challenging and emotional times for all the trainers and owners.
    Not all owners are oppenheimers.or the Sheiks of Dubai.
    Some owners only have one or.two.horses now.
    And since many of them.are small businessmen
    The lock down has seriously affected their financial resources .
    They can’t carry on at this rate an afford to pay the bills obviously they have to pay the trainers and vet bills
    Plus other e expenses.
    The recent relief grants that were given to all horses ,other than those horse trained
    in KZN..
    However that thousand rand is appreciated
    but a horse needs much more.
    Perhaps you can come up with a plan to relieve the horses of their plight..
    In the mean time allow us to focus on the issues at hand that is fighting for our four legged friends
    God Willing racing will resume very very shortly and then the horses can run and earn there own money for them and their.brothers.

  35. Anand Chetty says:

    Government has lost its way.
    Important sectors like car and property sales, which generate millions in taxes, are very very low risk industries in terms of covid19 transmissions.
    Horse racing involves not just the economic factor but the element of humanity.
    It’s said a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals.
    Common sense is not common. It’s a commodity which our political leaders don’t seem to have.
    We cannot hide from this virus forever.
    The economy should be open, with appropriate precautions.
    There has to be a balance, health VS economy. The balance is sadly not there. Paranoia now rules

  36. master says:

    Sorry Oscar…. had to ask..”your neighbour, pensioner” right?
    His pension is like R1800 a month (around there).
    How does he afford to pay normally, unless his horse earns a stake every time he/she runs?

  37. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Oscar well said Buddy too many negative feedbacks on SP about the whole racing industry…bottom line is that we need to race

  38. Beatle says:

    Oscar where have the killings already started , if they have started then the trainer or owner has not done any homework on finding homes – their are many people i know of who will take the horses and ride the virus and when racing is clear to start again will bring them back to racing – the problem is that owners and trainers are asking for a fee , so where does the real care begin – money of course

  39. Oscar says:

    Mr Beatle in response to your comment.
    There are many shrewd people out there who would love to get a horse for free.
    Financial difficulty is the major reason why the owner is forced to let go of his beloved animal.
    How sure is the owner that his horse will be well treated at his new home.
    Since the entire horse racing industry is facing a horrendous future.
    The possibility is there that the horse could be faced with the same situation again.
    Unless the new owners are funded by MOD
    or the Sheiks of Dubai.
    This idea of yours does not hold any water.
    For your information we are not talking of two or three horses.
    We are talking of hundreds.
    So indirectly this problem will be unfairly passed on to someone else.
    One can easily argue that horses are Working day in and day out to support themselves.
    Since the reduced stakes will just be enough for the horses welfare and people
    that are voluntarily risking their lives for the sake of these innocent horses.
    I believe racing should resume A.S.A.P.
    to avoid a catastrophe.
    From which racing will never recover

  40. Pops says:

    Oscar,its not we wanting birth certificates or coordinates to a burial site.
    Its just that when we go on this platform we expect and do get info on local and international racing business.
    If Brett Maselle comments on an article,and says what the RA,NHA,Phumelela are doing is illegal because of X Y Z.
    He will explain why he states that.(And then directors sudden resign.)
    Brendon will give us a lesson in company law etc.He will explain why he says certain things.
    William will entertain and throw around a few numbers and explain why he comes to that conclusion.
    We then think because Brett and others have said A B and C we can take their comments to the bank any time.
    You see were this is going Oscar.
    We enjoy reading some of your comments ,but when you make startling states and do not back them up,we then wonder.
    In these times entertainment is good,just ask a person from the Natal Midlands.

  41. Alan says:

    Hi All,

    I think with regards to the “euthanizing” we are all getting the wool pulled over our eyes.

    Why is it that suddenly owners can’t pay their fees when horses are rested all the time by the very trainers who are complaining.

    They are rested after a “hard” season, for AHS injections, minor injuries, suspended for bleeding, no suitable races, meeting’s cancelled due to weather conditions, races don’t stand up due to too few nominations…the list is endless.

    Lots of trainers also only bring their horses out as 3YO’s, under all these conditions I never once heard an owner ask for his or her horse to be euthanized.

  42. Patsy Schafer says:

    The whole point is that the trainers and their grooms are together every day following the strict guidelines to curb the virus. It has a snow ball effect by not allowing them to race behind closed doors. The workers and their families. The trainers and their families. The vets that treat the horses. The stud farms that breed the horses,who employ hundreds of people who all have family’s. The government who earn millions in taxes from the racing and breeding and sale of horses. Everyone will loose out if racing is not allowed to start up again. Lastly the magnificent thoroughbred horses who’s lives will be jeopardized if the government does not allow racing to start up again.

  43. Leon Smuts says:

    @Alan. This time both the horses and the owners are not earning which makes a big difference I guess

  44. Oscar says:

    Please Mr Beatle please leave the mentality of the beatles era behind.
    Start thinking out of the box.
    Be positive like Frankie,Julian and others
    And stop hiding behind pseudonyms and trying to muddy the water everytime.
    When we are making progress.
    My efforts of trying to resume racing is with the Ministers.
    It is my mission to help my four legged innocent friends
    I have spent a lot of time,money and effort
    In order to get justice for our horses who are not gifted of speech.
    Do something constructive for these magnificent creation of God and if you .can’t then blow your trumpet until the corona virus is gone.

  45. Gman says:

    If whoever wants to help with the welfare of horses.Make a reasonable offer to purchase or offer to buy shares in the horse.Then you can help ease the burden on the owner that covers 100% off costs.NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE, So stop tendering for handouts.

  46. Oscar says:

    I apologise Mr Master I was trying to say that she had taken her dog to the vet.
    I was intending.to bring the attention to readers of the huge vet costs involved in taking care of uour pets.
    The vet costs are much higher when it comes to horses.
    Thanks atleast I know someone is reading my posts.

  47. Oscar says:

    Pops you make some very good comments yourself.
    However if you were paying attention
    One of the leading trainers says in the article Racing Faces Extinction

    He said that he hasn’t got any statistics about euthanasia.
    As far as I can remember you did not comment about euthanasia.
    Why didn’t you demand any statistics or proof from him for making a false statement.
    Right now I am concentrating on trying to avoid a major catastrophe facing Gods creation the magnificent horses.
    I believe I am making massive progress regarding this end so please stop corrupting my mind with these petty arguments which can be discussed at a later stage.

  48. Oscar says:

    I must say that I appreciate the positive statements of Jill Lloyd, Patsy Shafer, Leon ,Frankie and Gman.
    Gman’s last suggestion was very good.
    However I was most impressed with Frankie’s opening comments on this subject.
    One can easily feel the emotion and passion of the horses that is in his heart.
    I hope that the Minister’s of sport, Traditional Affairs,Arts and Culture and
    Mr Patel of Trade and Industry are reading these comments..
    Here is a poem that I have written with
    regards to this situation :
    Like a fading light,
    As we approach ,
    The final furlong in
    Our Race of life,
    Let us do something Right
    And protect the horses,
    In this fight.
    Since they cannot speak.
    We have to
    Stand up for their Rights.

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