All Bets Are Off As SA Horse Racing Feels the COVID-19 Crunch

By Bheki C. Simelane

SA’s horse racing industry faces a bleak future as the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis start to hit home.
South Africa’s horse racing industry, which has an annual turnover of R12- billion, and hosts Africa’s richest race, faces an uncertain future as the Covid-19 crisis threatens to scupper its plans for the year.
According to the National Horse Racing Authority (NHRA), on Friday 9 May, Phumelela Gaming and Leisure also filed for business rescue.
According to the horse racing authority, approximately 80% of the industry’s 60,000 jobs were at immediate risk, and most staff had been furloughed.
A quick breakdown of the figures in each category in the industry shows that jockeys were losing approximately R6.5-million monthly, including riding fees and winning stakes.

Trainers are losing nearly R3-million a month with their business reduced by 20% at this stage, and this figure is expected to grow at an alarming rate if racing does not resume, at worst, at Level 3.
“If not, then the racing industry will collapse in its entirety,” NHRA CEO Vee Moodley said.
Racegoers view a race at Kenilworth Race Course, in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa, 27 October 2018. (Photo: EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA)
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