Cape Town - Following more than a year of discussion and
consultation, the role played by grooms in the South African horseracing
industry will be formally recognised and rewarded from June 1, 2015 onwards.
From that date 1% of prize money for all races in South
Africa will be paid to grooms and it’s a big step forward in giving the
backroom men of the sport the recognition they deserve.
Horseracing and tote betting operators Phumelela Gaming,
Kenilworth Racing and Gold Circle, as well as the Racing Association that
represents racehorse owners in Phumelela regions, are totally committed to the
transformation of the industry and have been the chief drivers of formalising a
share of prize money for grooms.
In Phumelela regions the concept was only finalised after
lengthy discussion and debate by the Industry Liaison Committee, which
comprises representatives of owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, Phumelela and
the sport’s regulatory body, the National Horseracing Authority. Prominent
trainers including Mike de Kock, Sean Tarry, Joe Soma, Geoff Woodruff and Mike
Azzie were also consulted.
According to the trainers consulted, many trainers
already pay 1% or more of prize money to grooms, but these payments will now be
facilitated formally through the national prize-money administration system.
The thinking behind the new scheme is that in many
instances it will replace existing informal bonus payments to grooms by
trainers, who generally recover such monies from owners.
Obviously, trainers giving more than 1% of prize money to
grooms can continue to do so, but the horseracing operators will only
facilitate payment of the basic 1%.