Racing on track


Indaba convened to address growing concerns about horseracing’s future.

Confront industry challenges head-on was the message that emanated from the Racing Indaba hosted by Phumelela Gaming and Leisure at Turffontein racecourse a few weeks ago.

Phumelela, in keeping with its principal objective of sustaining horseracing, listened to the concerns and views of a cross section of stakeholders and industry professionals during the day-long workshop. 

Among the 28 attendees were PGL CEO Rian du Plessis, Racing Association CEO Larry Wainstein, Phumelela Executive Directors, Gold Circle management team, owners, trainers, breeders, exporters, media and representatives of the National Horseracing Authority.

Some delegates were asked to make presentations based on their fields of expertise and the message that quickly became clear was that there is a massive role for horseracing going forward. All comments were positive and none more so than from Tellytrack CEO Rob Scott.

“We know we have made mistakes and have faults, but that is why we are all here, to table the concerns and to move forward for the better of the sport,” he said. Scott added that since taking over the PGL Media and Marketing portfolio some elements have unavoidably not progressed as quickly as hoped, but these are being dealt with one by one.

Questionnaires were distributed, completed and analysed prior to the Indaba and the findings formed the foundation of the discussion on the day. Objectives set included: agree priorities to be addressed, develop real action plans for urgent issues and opportunities, agree the way forward with clear roles and responsibilities, analyse issues raised and separate real issues from myth and make the sport aspirational again.

Key focus areas were identified and delegates were split into six strategic work streams:

* Racing operations and the business model

* Image and reputation

* Betting on racing

* Transformation and Government relations and racing

* Racing integrity

* Ownership

Sub-committees were set up in each work stream and action plans developed.

Scott also said that a new communications strategy would be needed to change a number of negative perceptions. The wheels of a co-ordinated communication plan with a special focus on social media have been set in motion with the aim of creating a better understanding of horseracing and greater trust in the industry. Phumelela Marketing, Publishing and Tellytrack will play a key role in this communications strategy and provide more entertaining, exciting and newsy coverage of the sport. 

The most important outcome was a comprehensive communication strategy to enhance horseracing’s image.

A date for a follow-up meeting has not been set, but horseracing will take a giant stride forward if all the action plans are implemented.

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