where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2022-08-10 17:39:16  

Horse racing operator 4Racing, in partnership with the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), commemorated inspirational women in the horseracing industry at a Women’s Day event at Turffontein on National Women’s Day, 9 August 2022.

Hosted by 4Racing CEO Fundi Sithebe – the first black female CEO of a horse racing business, the eight-race event honoured South Africa’s only current top level female jockey at the moment Rachel Venniker – an inspirational horse racing athlete who has just been crowned the country’s champion apprentice jockey, and who also rode on the day.

It also honoured and acknowledged a number of prominent historic and current female leadership figures in the horseracing industry, including top owner Suzette Viljoen.

With a focus on the transformation of the sport, the event also highlighted the importance of diversity, gender inclusion and equality, ownership and education, all critical aspects in developing a quality racing product that can be appreciated and enjoyed by all spheres of society in South Africa.

“Reenergising and transforming the horse racing industry is a key strategic goal of 4Racing and celebrating the women in the industry forms part of this commitment. We are both honoured and delighted to have paid tribute to exceptional women in the industry, and to acknowledge their admirable contributions to making horse racing better”, said Sithebe.

The female focused theme covered athleticism and economics, ensuring that women begin to receive the recognition they deserve within the sport and how the inclusion of women in the sport has the potential to make it more economically viable with various investment opportunities.

“Understanding the ecosystem of horse racing is key to unlocking investment and realising that racing and breeding offer exciting business opportunities. Our aim at ROA is to create awareness about horse racing through education and ownership, and 4Racing as a partner, is key to nurturing and showcasing the business aspect of the industry”, said ROA CEO Natalie Turner.

Media personality and presenter of 4Racing’s recently launched SABC Sport weekday lifestyle magazine show Racing Today, Luthando ’LootLove’ Shosha, emphasised how education has been an important part of her immersion into the sport as well as a great way to create accessibility for women in the sport.

“It’s important that horse racing is showcased from various angles including the elegance, excitement and business of the sport. It’s also high time that women began to lead the conversation on platforms like Racing Today, and share industry knowledge”, said Shosha.

Fittingly on Women’s Day, the main race the Anne Upton Memorial Mr 84 Handicap, was won by Suzette Viljoen-owned Vanderbilt, who won a fourth race on the trot with Muzi Yeni powering home the Paul Peter-trained fan favourite.

The Women’s Day race day was broadcast live on the country’s national horseracing channel Racing 240 on DStv, Channel 240. 

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