A substantial decline in the Zimbabwean thoroughbred horse population has necessitated a material reduction in the number of race meetings annually staged by the MTC. Phumelela has agreed to come to the rescue and, under the strategic guidance and direction of the MTC board, will endeavour to turn the business around so as to restore the sport to its former glory.
In terms of the agreement Phumelela will become a technical service and financial support provider to MTC and in that capacity will be responsible for all aspects of the operations, including tote and fixed odds betting, staging of race meetings, marketing and sponsorships.
“The agreement will benefit both parties and play a significant role in ensuring the sustainability of Zimbabwean racing into the future,” said Phumelela Group CEO Rian du Plessis".
MTC CEO Clever Mushangwe is keen to get the ball rolling. "We are upbeat about the prospects of this technical and financial support. We believe this will unlock value in the business side of our operation through the enhancement and extension of our core product offering as well as our service processes. With the liberalisation of the betting industry in Zimbabwe, the operating environment has become more and more competitive. As a result, it has become evident that we need to improve our product lines as well as pursue new market segments like fixed odds and tote betting on sports other than horse racing. We therefore are confident that the new products and expertise Phumelela are bringing will be the panacea to our business challenges.
“We are also encouraged by the broader perspective upon which the agreement was crafted to cover the racing side of the club’s operations. We plan to build on our strengths in thoroughbred horse racing, which remains the essence of our existence. The South African sport and the industry that offers bets thereon is more mature. Therefore Phumelela will provide the necessary experience, which is critically needed to preserve our thoroughbred horse racing heritage in Zimbabwe.”
Phumelela Betting Executive Vee Moodley said he was excited to have the opportunity to play a role in building a sustainable financial platform for thoroughbred horseracing in Zimbabwe.
"We have the products, resources and necessary skills to enhance the efficiencies of the Tote betting network in Zimbabwe. We also believe there are significant opportunities to grow tote betting turnovers through our range of bets on sports other than horse racing and the introduction of fractional betting" said Moodley.
Phumelela's Racing Executive Patrick Davis said: "There is huge potential in Zimbabwe from a racing perspective. They have a tremendous galloping racetrack which is extremely popular with the horsemen and their current prize money levels per runner exceed all the racing centres in South Africa. We are therefore working closely with the Racing Association to explore ways of encouraging and incentivizing more participation from South African owners and trainers with a view to increasing the horse population and thereby field sizes in Zimbabwe. This would enable us to increase the number of races and race meetings staged annually in the country."
He continued: "We will be implementing similar efficiencies and good practices to those employed in South Africa from facilities, race programming, racing, training and stabling point of view. With the NHA in SA already providing the integrity and racing control functions for the MTC, it will make the involvement of Phumelela that much smoother."
All the conditions precedent to the agreement between the MTC and Phumelela have been fulfilled and therefore the agreement is effective immediately.