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Stakes – Owners & Trainers In Limbo

Why leave the stakes news to last minute?

The stark uncertainty of the current times is highlighted by the reality that the inaugural R550 000 Cape Yearling Sale Cup, to be run on Cape Derby day in February,  is the only event published with a stake after the Cape Summer Season programme for December through to February 2021 was published earlier this week.

The Cape’s Sizzling Summer Season rivals the SA Champions Season on the East Coast as South Africa’s premier national clash of the best we have.

But the expense and logistics of travelling from afar means that it’s not a case of an impulsive grab the passport and let’s go take our chances.

Cirillo wins for Tarry in the Cape’s Sizzling Summer Season (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Multiple SA National Champion Trainer Sean Tarry, a regular big-hitter in the Cape season for many years, told the Sporting Post earlier this week that he had adopted a wait and see approach before making his Cape travel arrangements.

“It’s a major cost to get there and set up shop. It also takes it out of our horses. We still have our Highveld Season up here in early 2021, so we need to do what is right by our horses and our owners,” confirmed Tarry.

In reference to revised quarantine protocols following an AHS outbreak recently, Tarry’s colleague Mike de Kock said, as history shows, that he had a lot of success raiding in the past but will only travel to the Cape if he feels this does not have a negative impact on his horses.

Good days – De Kock (Glen Hatt) finishes best of all to win the Selangor Cup (Equine Edge)

While Phumelela and Kenilworth Racing enjoyed minor race stakes increases for the months of September, October and November, the RA announced recently that they would no longer be in a position to subsidise stakes after 30 November.

In a communication this week, Racing Association CEO Natalie Turner, pictured below,  said that they are very positive about the future and welcome the renewed energy and enthusiasm displayed by the MOD team.

“We are like minded in our determination to get racing back on track and share the sentiment that together, the sport of horse racing can thrive once again. The RA believes that racing is moving in the right direction and we are confident that Stakes will return to more reasonable levels in all of our regions.”

That’s well and good but the ‘renewed enthusiasm and energy’ has not translated into anything that we can think of in the public domain.

And time is not on our side – owners are very nervous and largely in the dark if we consider the questions we are being asked weekly.

The move by World Sports Betting this week to step in and lift the Summer Cup Stake to R1 million was the best news owners have had in six months.

The latest Phumelela Business Rescue update is a lot of words – read it here 

It makes no sense to leave the big season stakes information announcement to the last minute. There is either money or there isn’t money, surely? What difference will a matter of weeks make?

In the process they are extinguishing any hype and destroying the prospect of vital outside participation in a season of high-class racing that incorporates some of our greatest races, including the Queen’s Plate and the Met.

And what about majors like the Met? Now called the Cape Met and without a sponsor.

So what happens now? Just bite your nails and wait.

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10 comments on “Stakes – Owners & Trainers In Limbo

  1. Anthony Joannides says:

    There is so so much uncertainty in every aspect of Racing in SA a the moment its ridiculous. Can we please have some BOLD move from somewhere, to stand up and take charge. That’s what I thought MOD was doing and/or putting in place. What happens to a house of cards when the wind starts blowing a little bit harder??? The mind boggles……

  2. Garrick Bergh says:

    There is no greater illustration of the levels to which we have declined when one evaluates the ‘subsidy’ that World Sports Betting has added to the Summer Cup stake.
    Let’s get real: R1 million (as welcome as it undoubtedly is) is dwarfed by yet ANOTHER bale out of an SOE in the form of SAA for an amount which would have sponsored no less than 10,500 Summer Cups ( I kid you not). That should put this stake in perspective; particularly when the R10,5 billion is being applied to a venture alomost guaranteed to fail.
    I hope you will all protest this reckless profligacy by the state and NEVER fly SAA until it reaches its inevitable demise and relieves taxpayers of this burden.

  3. Pieta Louw. says:

    Garrick, agree with you totally.

    I’ve stopped flying SAA years ago….the first class and business class were always packed with non-paying ministers and their families….they have a card.
    That’s the reason why SAA is in the process of being resuscitated…..your ex ministers and ex presidents and their family members have the lifetime privilege at taxpayers expense.

    Cecil, btw, ek het so lank laas gevlieg…..hou maar deesdae by die Isuzu.

  4. John Mynhardt says:

    Lets get real.. owners are the ones that are most negatively effected by these stakes. Cost has gone up and stakes down down down….and this is all for the owners bill (nobody else). Once no owners are left, there will be no racing !!! Time for government to give some kind of insentive to get SA racing going again. Is there any discussion with government in this regard ???

  5. Leon Smuts says:

    Patience is something that very few of us have but is required at this point if we are to remain sane in these very uncertain times. There is regrettably a natural order of things and until this is restored will mean sacrifices and hard times for all of us.

    Punters and owners are the life blood of racing and there is a symbiotic relationship at play between the two. The punter has been treated as fodder for many years and this has caused long term damage to the funding model of racing. Until this model can be restored stakes will lag expectations and requirements.

    Repairing the funding model will not happen overnight but I have little doubt that this is receiving every attention right now in planning and strategising. Much more is happening behind the scenes than we can imagine but will take time to implement and show results.

    It might be hard to accept but racing is broken and needs to be properly rebuilt before real benefits will become apparent to hard pressed owners and every other stakeholder.

    As Garrick and others have pointed out the country is broken and racing will need to stand on it’s own legs if it is to survive. It’s a stretch to expect any outside support and we should be thankful for people like MOD that has stepped into the void with really good intentions and the will to see racing restored to greater things.

    Racing’s funding model requires large scale support for the tote and this won’t happen just because we believe it is the right thing to do. Punters must be given real incentives to return to the tote and to support racing, and much bigger betting markets must be developed through the addition of scores of new customers. Many things need to be done, and done right for this to happen and will be a long term and perpetual exercise.

    Only when the tote experiences real and continuous growth are stakes going to see the significant increases required to retain owners and to attract new ownership to the game. We are miles away from this, but it is coming and we need to be patient while the building blocks are being put into place.

    The success of retail businesses are measured in the size of their customer base, the level of satisfaction of their customers and the extent to which needs are met and new needs created for new customers. This is what faces the tote in the pursuit of success and restoration of the funding model.

    The reality for racing and owners is that many things must still happen before stakes will offer an economic incentive to involvement. I do however believe that MOD understands this well and that they are serious and committed to achieve this very outcome over the next few years and beyond.

  6. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Leon I am binge-watching a series called Rake. It’s about a barrister in Australia – he is not your normal legal eagle and his clients are oddballs and gangsters.

    One of his clients was a retired English teacher who was arrested for trespassing at a corporates board meeting – he did so to protest the abuse of the English language being used to really say nothing – many words strung together , most fancy but not really meaning anything.

    The irony was not lost on me.

  7. Leon Smuts says:

    I guess its a bit like music Rod. There are only a few notes and only so many ways that they can be arranged. Some turn out to be hits and others never make it any further than the composers ear. The poor bugger that turned the Beatles down also thought that he was clever and knew it all. Also a bit ironic, isn’t it?

    Fully get what you are saying and perhaps you have a valid point, so will let you bask some more in all your well intended lectures. really glad for you that all your inputs and comments are valuable, original and constructive.

    Your boundless skills are obviously not lost on me either.

    Chirps and insults aside. I genuinely feel for all you owners and supporters of racing and hope that things will improve a lot in the near future. It must be bitter to see what has become of racing and the huge hit that ownership has had to absorb.

    My opinion might not mean much to you but I have no doubt that MOD will change racing for the betterment of all involved if allowed a bit of time to put new thinking into effect.

  8. Roy Kasseepersadh says:

    Good Day. I have never been to any horse races overseas. But I play on the UK races. There are sometimes more than six venues per day, flats, jumps, stakes, handicaps, there’s a nice menu. It appears that horse racing is a very popular sport overseas. Just today there is an article in this publication about a major upcoming horse racing event in Melbourne, Australia. Perhaps people who know overseas horse racing well may have some idea what’s going wrong with local racing. And remember, I think the whole world is in a recession, not only us.

  9. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Leon I owe you a beer, just when I feeling down your lofty praise has put the spring back into my step – just in time for my weekly golf challenge on Monday afternoon. My mood is so good that I think the Ratels are going to increase their lead on Fram!

  10. Leon Smuts says:

    You are a better man than me, Rod Mattheyse. Would love to buy you a beer some time and chat about racing. Hope you shoot lights out tomorrow afternoon. Enjoy

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