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%.