VETERAN industryman James Goodman says there are basic solutions to running racing and, he believes, a clean-up of significant proportions will be best begun by getting rid of the National Horseracing Authority (NHA).
Goodman, speaking on his popular Winning Ways show on YouTube last Friday, came out in support of Mary Oppenheimer Daughters (MOD), in their quest to take racing from zero to new heights, and made pointed suggestions.
First and foremost, opined Goodman, the National Horseracing Authority (NHA), is a burden to racing and should be abolished for its inefficiency.
• The NHA should be a regulatory body;
• The NHA should have a rubber-stamping function;
• The NHA should not be running the Stud Book;
• The NHA should not be running race days;
• The NHA should have stipendiary stewards, who police racing;
• The NHA’s controversial lab should be closed and outsourced for its exorbitant costs and for the way it is being run.
Next, Goodman focused on Tellytrack, the dedicated racing channel, and recommended:
-An entire overhaul of management, staff, focus, production values;
-Servicing of the punter;
-Servicing of the industry with real news and real views, not the watered down, censored version we have grown to dislike so much;
-Including of interactive games and magazine shows in open times, plenty can be sourced with rights, on the internet.
The Race Day itself is a vital aspect, and here, Goodman said a good place to start will be to cut the times between races.
“Efficient management will be needed to get everyone on time, from horses being saddled,
to jockeys weighing out to the canter down and the start itself, it can be done.
“The race day procedures should be snappy and efficient, not cumbersome, because punters get bored.
“We should be attracting people to the race days, that goes without saying. We’ve been hearing about the young—young people this and young people that, influencers and social media. That is fine, the youngsters have some very good ideas, but the older folk have ideas too. There should be engagement and alignment between them.
“Racing should be marketed vigorously once all the target areas have been identified. I believe, for example, that there are plenty of pensioners, business executives, retired people and so on, who havetime and money on their hands and if the offering is right, if it is attractive to them, they will support racing.
“Gold Circle Friday night promotions got people to the track, to name one thing that worked, by and large. With some out of the box thinking we can get people back, I’ve raced in small towns in the Midwest of the US where they attract thousands of people, who want to be involved, who like to be there because it is fin and they enjoy themselves.
“The Betting Bouquet is another important aspect. We need to keep things as simple as possible. Clients drift off to casinos because we’ve created a mishmash of bets which, in my view, have taken the charm and allure out of racing.”
Also of extreme importance is transparency and trust in management and officials:
“This can be done by encouraging management and staff to perform, and it is done via performance bonuses and monitoring performances closely.
Packages should be small, with performance bonuses built in, from the CEO down!”
Goodman discussed the Open Bet and said: “This is the single most derogatory product for racing in South Africa. It should’ve been nipped in the bud, but we now have another opportunity to talk to those who lay Open Bets, in cordial discussions I believe agreements can be reached whereby everyone can benefit and more money comes back into racing.
“Lastly, bookmakers who are operating with no licences should be closed down immediately, they are the biggest perpetrators of taking money from the industry and not putting any back.”
Goodman said that he hoped that the new race company would be engaging with those who can bring value to the sport and concluded: “It’s all simple, really, a simple application of good principles will see racing flourish, succeed and survive!”