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Irwin Cuts Ties With SA Racing

Not enough support received

It is with sadness and regret that I have taken a decision to leave South African racing and breeding, writes Team Valor International CEO Barry Irwin.

Barry Irwin

Barry Irwin

I will come up with a plan to liquidate my racing and breeding stock.

Some of the stock will be moved to different countries.

It will be an orderly process so as to disrupt as few people’s lives as possible.

As some of you may or may not know, I have over the past few months put in an effort to make heads or tails (and even tales!) out of the export protocol strategies.

No matter what you hear or read, progress is considerably less rosy than it has been portrayed.

I sent one of the world’s leading equine immunologists to South Africa on a fact-finding mission. He reported that the scientific progress as being directed by Dr. Guthrie and his associates in the Western Cape has been impressive.

From what I have been told by my contacts, however, the business end of affairs is not up to the same standard of the scientists involved.

I have learned that as long as Chris van Niekerk continues to be involved in the effort that the initiative is likely to continue to be slow-track because the international community wants nothing to do with Markus Jooste or anybody tainted by him.

Harry the Horse at the CTS March sale

Chris Van Niekerk, Bernard Kantor and Markus Jooste

I don’t know Mr. van Niekerk. For all I know he is a wonderful fellow. But the cooties he collected from being involved with Markus Jooste is something he cannot easily shed.

For the greater good of the industry, he should agree to step aside so that the effort can present a better front.

Adrian Todd

Adrian Todd (Pic – Hamish Niven Photography)

Furthermore the initiative in South Africa has as presented by the export group led by Adrian Todd leads outsiders to believe that the commercial and self-serving aspects of the effort far outweigh the beneficial nature of the progress a viable export protocol can have on the entire South African racing and breeding community.

I personally tried to cause a change, but I must sadly report that not enough support was received, so it’s business as usual–except it will toddle on without my involvement.I love my South African horses, friends and horsemen and women, but I can no longer stand by and be involved with people that simply are unable to help themselves.

Ed – a response has been requested  from Messrs Adrian Todd and Chris van Niekerk and will be published when received.

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15 comments on “Irwin Cuts Ties With SA Racing

  1. Ian Jayes says:

    This is not good news, but there does come a time when to continue doing certain things is to commit treason on yourself.

  2. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Quite vague and probably libelous. The timing smacks of being spiteful. Most will probably see it as an American throwing out his toys because he could not play with Ken and struggled to reconcile that Barbie was about his punching weight.

  3. Hannes says:

    If you need sympathy you are in the wrong business racing has always been a tough sport does not matter where you go.

  4. raeljoel says:

    It is of course sad news to hear that Mr Barry Irwin is leaving racing here is SA, however it can come as no surprise.
    Besides just these couple of issues raised by Mr Irwin, it would seem that there are many others that could be included.
    While the “powers that be” continue to put themselves before racing and hire or involve people that know little about the game, the general downward spiral will inevitably continue.
    Its a real shame that there is NO horse racing brain behind the opportunity growth of the industry, someone who really understands the industry and how to grow it.
    Unfortunately it will die a slow death similar to the once prolific partners in Zambia and Zimbabwe

  5. Paulo says:

    Dear Mr. Irwin

    We don’t know each other and I won’t go into what is right or wrong with what you say above, I leave that to you and those concerned, however;

    I do hope that your withdrawal from SA racing doesn’t preclude you from reading this, because as a South African breeder and owner (albeit on a small scale) , when I read,
    “It will be an orderly process so as to disrupt as few people’s lives as possible.”,
    it smacks me of distaste and poor timing. In fact, the perception in my mind and I am sure of many others is that of the exact opposite of the intent of the quoted statement.

    You run an organisation of substantial means and of even greater financial impact, both here and abroad, and making this announcement on the morning of the largest horse sale in the country, discredits you in no uncertain terms.

    Instead of wishing you weren’t leaving, or hoping you would leave later, I am instead thinking, why didn’t you leave earlier – it may just have left a substantial amount of money in the buyers and sellers pool of those people, whose live’s you don’t want to disrupt. Instead these poor, disorganised South African’s, are adding to your departing coffers.
    We must really be, as you put it, “people that simply cannot help themselves”

    I am sad!

  6. dave mollett says:

    Let’s get one thing clear – Barry Irwin has his finger on the pulse of racing WORLDWIDE.
    That he has chosen to get involved in our racing is the country’s good luck. His posts on the Sporting Post website addressed the important issues – refreshing to get his view whether you agreed or not.
    However, I must take issue regarding his comments on Chris van Niekerk. Not might be – he is – in my book anyway – a “wonderful fellow”.
    No-one knows how the cards will fall in life and you can imagine both Chris van Niekerk and Bernard Kantor must have choked on their cornflakes when the news of the Steinhoff saga broke. I am convinced they were as in the dark as the majority of Steinhoff shareholders.
    Anyone who was present – or subsequently read in Sporting Post – the speech given by Chris van Niekerk at the CTS cocktail party in Cape Town in January had to realise this is a guy with the best interests of racing at heart.
    He knew this was the most important speech he was ever likely to deliver and he didn’t shun the issue of Markus Jooste being his friend. The theme was that we had to get racing back off the canvas and he was ready to play his part.
    And playing his part he is. No shunning of the National Sale. Who bought the second lot for R575000 on the first session – none other than Van Niekerk’s Rainbow Beach Trading.

    1. Pops says:

      If Dave Mollett(with two Ts) thinks that Chris van Niekerk is a “wonderful fellow” and is playing his part to get racing back off the canvas by not shunning the National Sale and buying “the second lot for R 575 000 on the first session”,then let’s throw in the towel now before any more harm is done to racing.
      You can imagine Molly must have thought Jooste was God’s gift to South African racing when he paid top prices for many many horses year after year.
      Molly, paying top prices for horses will not get racing off the canvas.There are much more important things that can be done and you should know that.

  7. Space Invader says:

    Now I know why so many say that there is no hope for our racing.
    Chris Van Niekerk should step down.
    I do not work on the adage innocent until proven guilty. Van Niekerk needs to take a backseat until he is shown to be unconnected to the misdeeds of Jooste.
    Other than in business, Van Niekerk was a partner in many horse racing ventures with Jooste. He moved up the ladder with Jooste. He was a director with Jooste on the RA. He became a director with Jooste in Phumelela at the same time. Be was on the Racing Trust as a trustee with Jooste at the same time. He founded CTS with Jooste. He partnered Jooste in horses. Need I say more?????
    These defenders of Jooste and Van Niekerk defend them because they have been “touched” by them. The truth will soon come out.
    In an odd way, I feel sorry for the defenders of Jooste and Van Niekerk. Sooner or later, they will have to accept they were wrong and their public accolades on web will remain for everyone to see. How embarrassing.
    I see nothing wrong with Barry Irwins approach. Van Niekerk has only thought of himself and not our horse racing industry. If he was genuine he would have stepped down. Imo Van Niekerk is one of the main causes for horse racing being in the doldrums. You cannot divorce him from Jooste when it comes to horse racing.
    Although I have such strong views, I sit back and laugh at the Horse Racing industry. I win and lose on a weekly basis. As long as there are horses racing, the politics is a side show joke to this punter.

    1. Black lebanese says:

      Good point space invader they was a coloured owner mr kinny gemooi who put lots in the game and was very succefull with his horses grand emporium and oracle west in dubai look.before them eventually he pushed out of the game coz it was a case of who is he etc he daughter passed away in that period the ra or horse racing industry could not even send a bunch of flowers but he put lots into the gamef

  8. Hogan says:

    Though Markus Jooste,Chris Van Niekerk and Bernard Kantor always tried to come across as humble men in post race interviews – you could sense an underlying arrogance.Yes they are all extremely wealthy and whatever the man in the street says about them will definitely not affect them one iota but I for one was always put off by their colours when they were shown on the different racetracks.They seem to get champions every season and no one cared that they had a hand in every facet of the racing industry.I have been a punter or following racing for than 40 years and I am hoping that these can disappear sooner than later,these colours on our racetracks have left an almost indelible mark for the worse.These trio cannot pretend they never knew what the other got up to.Where there is smoke…….

  9. raeljoel says:

    Why a horse racing subject should be turned in a banter of racial comments is beyond me. It just goes to show the writer to be ignorant to the real facts. I suggest he reminds himself that the previous now ousted president of South Africa (the go to guy that was supposed to be looking after the previously disadvantaged citizens), is going to court himself on charges of corruption.
    Probably charges that will make Markus Jooste seem like bugs bunny in comparison.
    Based on your comments, i suggest you keep your racist views for other forums. We talk about horse related issues here. Its very clear, from your comments you don’t know which side of the horse kicks.

  10. Brian says:

    Does Roy Moodley feel the same?

  11. Michael Jacobs says:

    I note thst Sporting Post censors certain comments. As part of the establishment they don’t publish comments that question the holy cows like Chris Van Niekerk and that crowd. Why may I ask? What was wrong with my comment about Van Niekerk being a henchman of Jooste?

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Michael
      This is a very emotive subject, but we have to maintain our standards and cannot allow unsubstantiated allegations / statements.
      Just a reminder that the Sporting Post encourages allcomers to feel free to have their say in the spirit of enlightening the topic, the participants and the originator of the thread. However, if it is deemed to be either offensive, insulting, personal, false or possibly unsubstantiated, the Sporting Post shall, on it’s own assessment, alter or remove comments.

    2. Rian says:

      Nothing wrong with your comment Micheal ,wonder how much he contributed to Molly pension

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