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Black Participation Needed In Racing

Lot of Grooms to be improved

New 4Racing CEO Fundi Sithebe has called for more black participation in the horseracing industry.

In an interview on L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate raceday broadcast on ENCA news, Ms Sithebe has also hinted at plans to improve the lot of the Grooms.

Watch it here:

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26 comments on “Black Participation Needed In Racing


    I stated that very point on this platform at least 4 years ago and if not 4 times, 5…but I wasn’t dressed-up in my Sunday best.

  2. Michael Jacobs says:

    I have to agree with Ms Sithebe that black participation in horse racing will be beneficial for the industry and could help save the game in South Africa.

    One looks at the breath of fresh air that Ashwin Reynolds and Kommetdieding have brought to SA racing and it is obvious that another hundred or two new black owners entering the industry would give such a great boost to the industry. Black owners will be bring family, supporters and punters to the course. Black jockeys have already made their mark in the industry, now black owners and breeders need to emerge. The government could assist in this regard with a racing development and transformation fund to set up trainers and breeders.

    The industry will never grow until we make the pie bigger instead of the small pie being cut into ever smaller slices!

  3. Peter Wrensch says:

    Correct Michael Jacobs. Despite the restrictions, Ashwin’s box was buzzing on LQP day.
    Even on a mediocre day he has enticed racegoers.
    Great attraction and asset.
    We certainly need many more like him.

  4. Peter Wrensch says:

    A recent returnee from decades in the UK remarked that the decline of attendees coincided with the lapse of the dress code.
    Racing no longer remained a standing weekly social option and was in fact a protracted spectator sport for the uncommitted in a dismal environment and poor service.
    Despite the restricted numbers there was a great atmosphere on course and it’s clear that there is a significant sector attracted by dressing at fashion events.
    Fish where the fish are.

  5. Peter Wrensch says:

    More than a decade ago I joined the post Cape Breeders’ like luncheon for a drink with John Koster and Ken Truter.
    I asked them to look down the row of tables and if anything significant struck them.
    Not one person of colour in the entire room. (Hassan had probably left by then)
    With my interactions at running events, softball, soccer and off course totes a regular part of my activities it’s striking when events look like our pre-90s school reunions.

  6. B steele says:

    Oh Michael there are plenty of opportunities to getting into the game but for every Kom there are 50 not so good ones .You can ask me I’ve paid school,boarding school,varsity fees and more for many horses that you can run faster than ,puts you off quite quickly.,I agree we need new owners any new owners but no development or transformation fund .Who is going to fund it ..? Most of these kind of funds heve turned into holes big ones at that.,racing can’t afford a wimpy breakfast never mind surpporting a pastime that cost big bucks We need people with a passion for horse racing and not for the bling and after party.

  7. Arthur Talbot says:

    Racing has been around for hundreds of years If you want to get ,’involved ‘ in the game take your cheque book and go buy a horse .Make sure you can afford the upkeep ie vet fees ,trainer fees ,nomination fees ,transport fees grooms fees farrier fees etc etc .This way you can invite all your family and mates to the race course and watch your horse run .If you buy a dud it will not be such fun .Perhaps some people are more cautious and not as risk adverse as others and therefore tend to stay away from racing Then there is always the morality of racing which might not appeal to the broader population

  8. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Ms Sithebe is saying all the right things. But talk is cheap and she’ll have to make work of it – a good start will be the Grooms. Also attracting more Black punters. Everyone witnessed self destruct of Phumelela, think they’ll invest by buying horses. Off course guys like Ashwin is good for the game, but my guess is Ms Sithebe means Black African. We have lots of Indian owners in Natal. This might sound blunt, but how I see it. Look at Ads on TV, mostly Black persons – does it worry me – No, things have changed, and the color of money is the same. Attract them Ms Sithebe, you landed a Top Job in a previously white dominated environment. Go on Road Trips, talk often on Telly’track’. Don’t do like our Politicians do at rallies – just promises or suggestions.

    I have been punting sice ’78, we partly owned for a year in 2 horses. Hah, nope, not for me. I respect Owners big time. Sadly my 3 sons, all adults, not one punts. But they flippin bet on Soccer and other sport. HWBets tries outside shopping malls, good stuff, that’s where my 3 lads signed On. 4Racing and Tabgold PR depts – over to you, again. Surely you want to grow pools.

    Racing needs new owners, but be grateful to the old ones as well. Fix The Stakes, and maybe The Big Boys will buy.
    I, like many other Ballies on this platform will punt till the end, maar ons raak ouer en Al hoe minder. Eienaars ook.

    Good Night. Albert Falls Greetings

  9. Lucky Sithole says:

    Perhaps we can leave Race out of this sounds political now I prefer to use the word “Majority” of the population which remains underprivileged irrespective of race ,wealth is still in the hands of a minority few .
    It starts with role models once you see the same faces in the Tipping panel then it is clear that the game is far from transforming, why not assemble a panel of Private experienced Tipsters instead of bringing People who are racecallers,Jocks and TV Commentators prior to a big meeting Darly Maree usually brings different and well researched input and he was axed .

    Personally I have been Tipping for 15 years with plenty of Experience and I happen to Black African and there was discrimination against me as a result I have found refuge in France they have welcomed me treated me with respect ???? compared to SA my Country of Birth .
    The game needs new faces its stagnating because it’s same old faces time and time again how about adding Xhosa or Zulu commentary it has worked in Rugby some Whites preferred the late Xhosa Rugby Commentator despite not hearing a word on what he is saying , just a new voice makes a difference.
    You have a point Ms Sthebe however you need experienced People in this category who know what is like walking a lonely road being Black trying to gain Recognition in SA Racing .

  10. Steve Reid says:

    This makes me laugh. Has the solution to dwindling ownership numbers been before our eyes for so long and none of us stupid pale-skinned people realized it? Brilliant stuff Fundi!

    The elephant in the room is the question why there are so few black owners in the sport. I suspect the solution has more to do with a lack of ego than a lack of affordability. Then again what do I know?

  11. Leon Smuts says:

    4Racing must be given some credit for quite a few new things being introduced in a relatively short space of time and showing a commitment to racing.

    It’s a big ship to turn and the competition for the entertainment/gambling rand enormous, but racing has a few advantages that could be put to good use in creating fresh appeal.

    I have put some long hours into research and every analysis suggests that racing needs a few new products with better entertainment credentials and a more winnable and attractive dividend generator.

    It is essential to show a broader market how much fun racing can be and providing an economic motive on top of it to make the time spent in involvement more rewarding.

    Many superior betting options are available outside of racing as sports lovers already have the knowledge to strike more informed bets. Racing must provide an alternative that removes the drawbacks of limited information being shared with the betting public with formats that are less punitive to new and novice players.

    Skills development, which is essential for a better strike rate must be addressed in offerings to provide an incentive to learn about racing, but this is no easy task when skills for non-racing bets is that much easier to acquire and advertised everywhere.

    Unless racing provides a unique alternative that is entertaining, affordable and with quality dividends much more winnable the race will be lost before it has started.

    It’s good to make the existing product look a lot better but when great numbers of players are required it is important to prove that it is a truly better alternative.

  12. M(artin)Gram(matica) says:

    Black people are clearly able to assess a poor investment better than us whites.

  13. Michael Jacobs says:

    Messrs Steele and Talbot so predictable, always defending white privilege! Of course racing has been around for hundreds of years, but remember for all those hundreds of years black people were excluded!

    I remember when I first started playing horses in my schooldays in 1981, we used to sit in the B ring and C ring at Kenilworth racecourse, reserved for non- white people! In those days Faried Anthony was the only non-white jockey, in fact the only non white involved with racing at all, besides the grooms! So obviously there is a lot of catching up to do, but I’m not making this a race issue, I am pointing out that this industry will eke out unless more people get involved, black or white. Obviiusly if more black people can get involved, the industry can revive. But for too long they were excluded and banned, so it is going to be a tough task to encourage them to get involved. I don’t really care how many ” dogs” other people have owned, I am talking about the future of the industry.

    And by the way, I love getting attacked on this site, it shows my points are hitting home!! KOMMETDIEDING! Ek wag!

  14. Jenet Elizabeth Govindsamy says:

    Sadly – looking at a parade ring on race days in South Africa- one can be forgiven for thinking that you are living in another country.The demographics are not even closely represented there.In after race interviews,it’s so sad to witness the interaction between grooms and the guys doing the interviews.I remember one of many incidents when Rainbow Bridge won in Cape Town and X wouldn’t address the groom by his name even after Eric Sands told her his name as she was about interview.
    I am not picking on X ,just to state that we in the front line need to do better.
    Was thinking that to bring on more people of colour into training especially African Blacks is too arrange horse training centres similar to what James Maree started – Black owners will give the them support needed to be successful.
    Our jockeys of colour as it stands don’t fit the mould that the hierarchy deems acceptable – just a bunch of stuffed shirts ,the same type of people I,m sure if they had their way ,20 20 cricket wouldn’t have take off.
    I,ve long been a proponent of jockeys of colour from even before the days of Weichong to Bling to Louis to Grant not forgetting Andrew and Aldo.I will always respect them and others like them who have made it in certainly very trying times.
    It’s time the powers that be change things up,we can all be proud on that day.From whipping boys to whoop whoop boys.Its the right thing to do,we after all live in South Africa.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Jenet
      Have removed the person’s name whom you say would not mention a Groom’s name.
      You can email [email protected] with substantiation and we will give them a chance to defend themselves.
      It’s not fair to make that kind of statement without giving them a chance to counter it

  15. Philip Norman says:

    At the current level of stakes money, I would guess that approximately 1 in 20 horses, ‘pays their own way’ throughout their racing careers – I may be wrong but I doubt that the percentage would be much higher than that. Who in their right mind would consider investing as an owner when the ‘odds’ are stacked against you like that ? As the old saying goes: Want to make a small fortune out of the racing game then make sure you start with a large fortune.

    I agree that supporting the Tote is one way of trying to get more funding into the game by way of higher stakes etc but the Win, Place, Swinger, Exacta pools etc are so tiny that you dare not wager a sizeable bet into these pools as the final dividend will obliterated. An example was Race 4 on LQP day – Real Gone Kid returns money back R1 for a win when 1/3 was freely available with bookmakers up to a few minutes before the off. That for me is a real problem, not being able to bet with confidence on the Tote.

    And I don’t particularly enjoy frequenting the TAB or Bookmaker outlets, so here is a message to the 4Racing management – take the live coverage off the DSTV platform and that will be the end of my involvement in the racing game. I really don’t have the inclination to have to watch racing in future on my phone or tablet when I have been able to watch it on TV from the comfort of my home in the past, and should a subscription fee be levied in order to watch the racing going forward then this will also turn more people away from the sport – as if the monthly DSTV subscription fee isn’t expensive enough as it is.

  16. Graeme Hawkins says:

    M K “Koos” Nkale has given many an entertaining post-race interview but his victory speech after MK’s Pride’s fluent win at Turffontein on Saturday was absolutely inspiring. Here’s a Black Owner who found his own way to horse ownership and is enjoying every minute. His off the cuff delivery was superb and his passion a joy to behold. Of course, the fact that MK’s Pride is a top class racehorse has made Mr Nkale’s racing experience all the more enjoyable but I was left with the distinct impression he has enjoyed meeting new racing friends almost as much. He is now firmly entrenched as a member of the horse racing “family” and long may that be the case. His love for the country and all it’s people is clear for all to see. Hopefully many more successes on the track will follow.

  17. Leon Lotz says:

    For me it is very easy.The new CEO must fund grooms on stud farms to start their own breeding farms,fund them to buy breeding stock and import a stallion.
    Send grooms on marketing courses,give the best students trainers lisences and fund them to buy horses and let these new trainers market them to train horses for people of colour .If we count colour of people working in racing ,black people will win by far.I think the CEO must start here.Family and friends will all attend racing.

  18. Dudley De Jongh says:

    Peter Wrensch,That is the problem.When it is major racedays July,LQP,Met the sociallites get preferance.How much do they contribute to the tote turnover throughout the year.The punters supporting the industry are neglected.


    Jenet Elizabeth Govindsamy, I’ll vote for you any day for your stand-alone statement, Madame.

    The passages you wrote here are spot on.

    Mr. Editor, on your sub-note, I would like to state I remember that incident (on the winning podium) clearly, or let’s say, the taste it left on my tongue still lingers…

    And just as a side-bar thought, I would like to add that Eric Sands acted like a person switched on & within a fraction of a second tried to correct the uncomfortableness.

    People notice.

    You won’t believe how many times I have to cover up or explain to foreigners our primary school standard of presenters that have a fixed place on our airwaves/ tv pictures.

  20. Martin le Roux says:

    So Michael you state that you are not making this a race issue. Heh Heh Heh. Just for the record Mr. Reynolds is as black as I am chinese. He is of the same hue as my sons wife who is the mother of my beautiful granddaughter who is the mother of my wonderful greatgrandson. As you say fund them and fund them until the scandal of where the money actually went is exposed. Remember to enlighten these new saviours of SA racing just what the percentage is of horses that actually pay their way.

  21. Arthur Talbot says:

    Mr Jacobs alleges that i am defending white privilege and that he does not want to make this a race issue. . Perhaps if he spent his school days at school rather than at the race course he would be able to differentiate between white privilege and the commercial rationale of actually owning a racehorse.
    Once he has learnt the difference he won’t make comments like the one he made and perhaps he will understand that I never made one single comment about race .It’s all about AFFORDABILITY irrespective .

  22. Michael Jacobs says:

    Ha, ha, ha, ruffled some feathers there, methinks.

    Just remember that horse racing was a “protected industry” throughout the Apartheid era, and non-whites were expressly excluded. No other form of gambling was allowed in SA by the National party Apartheid govt. So horse racing flourished. When democracy arrived in 1994, and other forms of gambling was allowed (lottery, sports betting, casinos, etc) then racing started to flounder, as the easy ride was over! Racing had to enter the new SA and compete equally for the gambling/entertaining Rand. Because of its sheltered past, it did not know how to market its product, how to attract new customers (particularly black) and how to grow the industry. It has been shrinking for the past 2 decades.

    The CEO of 4Racing makes a valid point- grow the industry and make it more inclusive or perish! But I suppose there are a clique of old era remnants who want to keep the sport elitist and exclusionary. Nobody is saying make this a charity game, but open the door to new participants. Mr Reynolds and Mr Nkale should be the “ambassadors” to encourage participation and bring in new blood. A new “model” is needed to grow the industry, or in 10 years time we will be like Kenya and Zimbabwe.

  23. Martin le Roux says:

    Certainly Michael you have not ruffled any of my feathers. It is in my opinion people of your ilk who continue to judge the present with the absolutely disgusting and inhuman atrocities of the past who detract from the great country SA can be. Stop being an old bitterbek and allow ownership to grow amongst previously disadvantaged people without funding.
    It is perhaps little known that there are numerous stud farms that allow their staff to raise yearlings and sell at sales for their own account to share.

  24. Bevan steele says:

    So Mr Jacobs your true character has finally erupted ,much like a 10 day old boil and all that goes with that.
    I know you must be weary of carrying that chip on your shoulder which has now grown into a fully fledged boabab also known by some as “the upside down tree “much like your thinking .If by now you can’t tell the difference between transformation and freebies you doomed much like our SOE,
    In your writing you define me as a “ defender of white privelege” which is just a bit more P C than calling me an outright racist ,which in the world today is considered the worst insult you can bestow on anybody.So be it.There is a saying in racing parlance that you can lose form but never class.You have now turned this saying upside down ,as you have done the improbable by losing both cum laude.

  25. Editor says:

    Can we please call a ceasefire, gentlemen!

    Bigger racing issues to debate – like our TV coverage and the Met field live on TV on Wed evening

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