Strike threat on eve of Met

Cape Town - A union representing the racehorses’ grooms has threatened that grooms will not work at Saturday’s J&B Met.

But race organisers report that trainers are already putting back-up plans in place to ensure that all 150 horses are taken care of by alternate grooms.

A groom walks a horse at the Mike Bass stables in Milnerton. Picture: Henk Kruger. Credit: INLSA

In a statement issued today by Cosatu, Chophelikaya Simoto, the chairman of the SA Grooms Association (Saga), was quoted saying: “We are tired of being victimised and abused by the industry because we are not educated and poor. We watch rich people’s horses and look after their important horses during big races where they invite other rich people. They fail to cater for the people looking after those horses. Horses are more important than the people who look after them.”

Simoto listed various demands around alleged fraud by racing authorities. The Cape Argus was not able to substantiate these allegations by press time this morning.

In response to the boycott threat, Patrick Davis, representing the race organisers, said: “We were not aware of this, but the trainers will be putting back-up plans in place.”

He stressed that it was the trainers who employed grooms, and not the race organisers.

It could not be established today what percentage of the grooms who were due to work at the Met tomorrow are Saga members.