TONY Rivalland, who recently established the South African National Trainers Association (SANTA) with four other prominent trainers, said this morning that a call to licenced trainers countrywide to join the Association has not received the expected response so far.

The Kwazulu-Natal based horseman, who was a founding member of the successful KZN Trainers Association many years ago, said that Gold Circle had sent out SANTA’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) to all South African trainers several weeks ago.

“We explained our reasons for forming the association, along with a membership form to be completed, but to date only 25 trainers (of approximately 130 registered with the National Horseracing Authority) have committed to membership.

“I mailed a reminded to trainers in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, but the feedback has been slack. We expected better.”

Rivalland explained: “We have formed SANTA so that South African trainers can have a united voice when dealing with the NHA, government or organised labour. There has been a pressing need for this. The association makes us stronger as a group of trainers with the same interests. It holds obvious benefits for all our members.”

SANTA’s founding directors are Rivalland, Sean Tarry, Geoff Woodruff, Alan Greeff and Paul Lafferty, who is presently also Chairman of the KZN Association.

“We’ll be sending out forms for the nomination of more directors, there will be nine in total, and we’re planning our first AGM for April, during the National Yearling Sale,” Rivalland concluded.

Lafferty, who incidentally mailed Turf Talk a letter while we were discussing the Association with  Rivalland, wrote a note of concern: “Currently, the South African racing industry is drowning in what can best be described as a sea of apathy. 

“Over the years, it has shown scant leadership or resolve, and has members including trainers  brimming with nothing but conflicting ideas and  opinions, many of which have never been thought through clearly to their logical conclusions. 

“Ours is an industry that still abides by a book of rules and regulations that were drawn up in another era and by a body of people with their own vested interests, and mostly devoid of any real consideration for the actual business of training racehorses. 

“Many of these regulations have little or no  relevance to the modern day profession of training and racing, not to mention that many of these rules can only be described as downright unconstitutional under present day civil law. And yet nothing of any real consequence has been done, certainly from a  trainer’s perspective, to address or rectify the  situation. 

Lafferty was harsh in addressing his fellow trainers and said: “Many of you can’t even muster the energy to sign up to a national trainers’ body to represent your own interests, incredible as that may seem! Until all of you start to show some metal and some form of ideological unity, the whole industry is doomed to a future of numbing mediocrity. 

“Frankly, there is little apparent direction or cohesion shown by any of you. You have all become thirdclass citizens in a second-class industry, mostly  orchestrated by yourselves due to your own mostly stark indifference. 

“All of you have no one but yourselves to blame. It’s a mindlessly depressing situation with little light at the end of the tunnel that you have all dug for  yourselves. We have to act together in your best  interests and those of this mortally wounded  industry. It’s imperative you all seize the moment – and now – before it’s absolutely too late to rescue at least some of your livelihoods and create something of a future!