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Will We Be In Bed With Fred?

Who will win Phumelela?

The future path of South African racing looks set to be decided in the next seven days with an announcement from Phumelela’s Business Rescue Specialist John Evans expected on 18 August.

In the absence of any real news, rumours do their rounds and Charles Savage’s recent Clocking The Gallop interview with Nico Kritsiotis confirmed ‘other’ interested parties, including UK Bookmaker, Betfred.

Now emerging are unconfirmed reports that the off-shore bidder had doubled their offer to purchase Phumelela for R800 million.

This should be music to the ears of owners of shares in the company who may, after a rollicking ride over the past few years, yet stand in the queue to collect!

At the same time, it does leave the rest of us lovers of the local sport pulling for the home team darlings, MOD.

We know from the Companies Act that the next big event is a meeting with all offers laid out to creditors and that a 75% majority vote – not sentimentality – sets the future path.

The likelihood of overseas participation does leave Phumelela partners and subsidiaries in an odd position. One thinks here of Bettingworld, Tellytrack, Interbet, Supabets.

Linked partners like Kenilworth Racing, Gold Circle and TABCORP (Aus) (via co-mingling deals) must also be wondering and waiting with a measure of anxiety as to who the next bed-fellow will be.

Betfred is a bookmaker based in the United Kingdom, founded by Fred and Peter Done. It was first established as a single shop in Ordsall, Salford, in 1967. Turnover in 2004 was more than £3.5 billion, having risen from £550 million in 2003

In June 2011, Betfred won the auction to purchase the then Government owned Tote betting operation in a deal worth £265m. Betfred pledged £155m into racing over the next seven years, as well as creating the Tote Racing Development Board, giving greater say to industry figures.

In September 2016, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport it was suggested that the Tote Racing Development Board had not been set up as a stand alone concept. Betfred responded that as Totepool work with race course owners and management on a continuing basis, it serves the same purpose as the intended Tote racing development board.

Over recent years Betfred have made the news for various reasons, including allegations of non adherance to anti money laundering and social responsibility policies.

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8 comments on “Will We Be In Bed With Fred?

  1. jc lee ching says:

    Is Betfred similar to Betfair? does it allow punters in running bets? does it allow punters to lay bets like Betfair? if so I’m for them

  2. Devan Govender says:

    Sounds like this could be a deal that will open doors for SA racing. One has be very careful that Mr Evans together with the task team make the best decision for racing in SA and not Phumelela. Phumelela is just the body and with the right engine and driver many good things can happen. Please save racing and ensure that the sport lives on, it is no longer the sport of kings, as an owner i can speak first hand about how difficult it is to be racing under the current turmoil. Gauteng, Ecape, Wcape, KZN, ZIM all are in desperate need of change. Owners are leaving, breeders are closing shop, the operators are retrenching, stakes are reduced……one can simply not carry on for another 6 months in this fashion. Make the right choice, let people in who can make a change, this industry has been milked for to long, its time to start over with the right people who actually do things for the love of horseracing and not money. Lets see if board members will actually perform duties for free until these companies are on their feet again, lets see if the CEO’s will make brave decisions and not just milk the cow (i guess there is no more milking, next will be just to slaughter) . The last bit of advice i can give to all the board members, CEO’s, Directors, Executives, make the right choice to sustain this industry for the next 100 years, the way to do it is simply lead with integrity, stand tall and make a difference, take racing to new heights, be proud to lead by example. Every young person wanting to come into this industry needs the leaders to show them how good this industry can be.


    They are not like Betfair, Sir.

    I have an account with every betting firm in the UK, from way back when I resided their for 10 years.

    All I can say is that I didn’t have many issues with them and their website. Basically, better than most.

    Easy on the betting eye…

  4. G. Gutkin. says:

    I believe that there is something seriously wrong with this business rescue process. If the business rescue practitioner can make information known to outsiders about the competing bidders and their bids why hasn’t he made this information public?
    I thought that the business rescue practitioner had a duty to keep information confidential and only make it available to interested parties at specific predetermined stages.
    Can someone enlighten me with regards to the duty of a business rescue practitioner when offers are put to him?
    I watched the interview with Nico Kritsiotis.
    Mr. Savage did not mention names but did blurt out that it was a two horse race and he was hoping that the South African bid would win.
    Yet at the same time the RA will not inform us what claim it has lodged against Phumelela and the amount of it.
    A little bit of friendly advice to Mr. Savage.
    Stop speculating about who will be the winning bidder.
    Stop beating the drum for MOD.
    Focus on your job as a director of the Racing Association.
    Think only about what you can do for RA members. The RA agreed to reduced stakes.
    What plans does the RA have in place with regards to dealing with the winning bidder and securing an increasin in stakes?
    All of this takes me back to Right Said Fred singing the song I’m too sexy. In this case it is the Racing Association saying it to Betfred.
    I know one certainty, if Betfred wins, it may not at the start be a financially healthy result for horse racing.
    It will force change in horse racing and the ₩%#@&s running the show will have no choice but to step down in embarrassment or be booted out.

  5. Leon Smuts says:

    We should all be careful what we wish for as receiving a good product is the one side of the coin which I am sure they could deliver on. The model is the problem and will not be changing in this scenario. Betfred will be in it for potential profits and this is not something sinister but does suggest that only a portion of any future fat will be returned to owners and maybe punters. This is not a victory for racing if it was to happen, just another reprieve and kicking the can down the road. Lets see what happens, at least we will hopefully soon have some more clarity.

  6. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Lets see if they view the punter as the enemy as well ? the “industry” has done a fine job of sucking them dry here in SA to keep up the delusions of grandeur…..

  7. Donald Bradshaw says:

    What happened to the days when bookmakers were just that and maybe had shares in or owned a race horse or two !

    Now the bookmakers are not only fast becoming the biggest owners of race horses they sponsor trainers , race courses , supply multi million rand loans to operators and make offers to buy out racing operators lock stock and barrel !

    So basically we are headed for the situation where bookmakers will own , manage and run the horse racing industry in South Africa ?

  8. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…

    After several calls to me by trainers and owners because they know I don’t pull punches I want to ask this question, because after what I heard I cannot believe what I am hearing.

    How much longer can owners continue to bear the brunt of being whiplashed?

    Stakes being slashed in October by 35% and again in March by 50% plus…How on earth can an owner carry on supporting a liability – that’s exactly what it’s become..

    Does Mr Patrick Davis full heartedly believe that owners have unlimited cash – is the man absolutely (*edited) ?

    Patrick this is by no means a threatening message but if you are not prepared to drop rentals and you continue to give trainers and owners the cold shoulder, you and you alone, will be the one to blame. Who else are they going to point fingers at?

    Do you want to see racing crumble ?

    If rentals are not slashed by at least 60% I’m afraid to say one of the biggest owners in the game will be selling the lot if this trend continues. And after endless calls from trainers and owners in the last few days there is just no possible way I can see racing lasting – no possible way…

    Patrick you know very very well exactly the OWNERS and TRAINERS I’m on about.

    You know exactly how IMPORTANT theses players are in the industry.

    How can you expect our biggest players in the industry to liaise with you via video call.

    Travelling around is well on it’s way – what are you still doing in the UK ?

    Please can you explain what you are you still doing in the UK when racing is on it’s final knees ?

    This comment has been edited*

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