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Mike de Kock looking happy with the Betway Summer Cup draw he had just received. Clyde Basel, in the background, hosted the ceremony. (4Racing)

Members of the Highveld racing fraternity enjoyed last week’s Grade 1 Betway Summer Cup ceremony at the Marabi Club in Johannesburg, hosted by a lean-looking individual resembling Clyde Basel, and including Betway’s CEO Laurence Michel and Jonathan Blumberg, the sponsor’s passionate front men.

We’re all looking forward to contest next week’s Summer Cup, for the super prize money and the day’s events. I am writing this to convey my thanks and gratitude to Betway for what they are doing for horseracing in the 4Racing regions. I am sure I speak on behalf of owners, trainers, jockeys and grooms based in Gauteng and Gqberha.

Betway’s massive contributions to the sport seem to go over the heads of our racing media and a number of social media contributors. Some are quick on the button to criticize 4Racing, but overlook the progress they have made since taking over Phumelela and having to stabilise the boat with a multitude of problems (many under the hood) to address, just to start.

Betway has been supportive of and instrumental in Mary Slack and 4Racing’s vision of rebuilding racing from grass roots level up, evident not only in their essential propping up of stakes, but in their incentives to grooms.

When I mentioned Betway’s Summer Cup groom’s prizes to a racing fan this week, he didn’t even know about it. I wonder if readers of this column are aware that Betway are giving R20,000 to every groom preparing a horse for the Grade 1 race. That’s right – R20,000 each to 20 grooms, potentially life-changing money to the handlers who are up at dawn every day to feed and look after our runners. This excludes the grooms’ percentage of winning stakes. These are the things our media should be picking up on!

Few also seem to know that 4Racing is funding, in full, medical aid packages for all grooms in their regions. This after revamping grooms’ quarters at Randjesfontein and Turffontein.

Well done, overall, to Betway for their unwavering commitment to our rebuilding process, and to Fundi Sithebi and her team at 4Racing. Credit is due.