Majority shareholder of People's Turf PLC (PTP), Jean Michel Lee Shim has confirmed the withdrawal of the current 'Horse Racing Organizer' at the end of this campaign. However, he wanted to assure that the PTP will honor its commitments to finish the season even if financially, it will be asphyxiated.

After three editorials in the official magazine of People's Turf PLC talking about its withdrawal from organizing the races in 2025, confirmation finally came through its majority shareholder, Jean Michel Lee Shim. It was in the show 'Au coeur de l'Info' on Radio Plus on Friday. Thus, after two years, the PTP is in the process of leaving the Champ de Mars and leaving the field open for a return of the Mauritius Turf Club (MTC). “We will end the season, on our knees financially if necessary,” he said.

The one who is considered a licensed businessman mentioned the initial plans of the PTP which were not to organize horse races in Mauritius. He confirmed that the PTP intends to withdraw from the local horse racing landscape, not wanting the organization of races to become a “political issue”.

For Jean Michel Lee Shim, “races and politics do not mix”. He concedes the interference of the thing in the horse racing industry since 2005. And it is precisely because of the policy that the PTP does not wish to organize the races next year, but specifies that the organizer will do everything to go at the end of its commitments for the current horse racing campaign.

Regarding the figures, he indicates that for its first year, the PTP made profits of Rs 4 million, but last year, it recorded losses of Rs 3 million.

Failure of the PTP in organizing races?

Has People's Turf PLC succeeded in its task of organizing races, offering a suitable product to horse racing enthusiasts and saving jobs? The speaker answers in the affirmative. According to him, the “trend” of races around the world is falling and made the comparison with South Africa where “takeovers” have been noted very recently.

Jean Michel Lee Shim believes that the PTP saved the races and that many people would have lost their jobs, if necessary. With this in mind, he defended the approach of turning to foreign workers and dismissing Mauritians. “There are always Mauritians who work with us. Whether in a hurricane period or in December for the festivities, the horses must eat,” he emphasizes.

Jean Michel Lee Shim also believes that the PTP has done better than the MTC. “In terms of “value for money”, we were able to offer better than the MTC.”

Paltry stakesmoney

Many teams and owners have mentioned the derisory stakes money offered by the 'Horse Racing Organizer' during the 2023 season and the current season. To this end, Jean Michel Lee Shim specifies: “The PTP accounts are on the table. If we make profits and we don't give away prize money, there is a problem. But if we have to take out loans for stakesmoney, we will end up like MTC. (…) It must be said that organizing the races does not cost a penny,” he points out.

Crisis of confidence

The integrity of racing has been compromised with numerous cases of doping and the conduct of several “questionable” races and severe sanctions. Jean Michel Lee Shim will say: “It is the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) and the Horse Racing Division (HRD) which control everything in the horse racing industry. This is why I would have liked their representatives to be present and participate in the debate” (Editor’s note: a member of the GRA Board was invited but he declined the invitation).

For Jean-Michel Lee Shim, the damage caused by certain races leaves a bitter taste, particularly for Sms Pariaz. He thinks that there are indeed “shenanigans” going on.

No shopping at Petit-Gamin

Even if the PTP will abandon the Champ de Mars, it will not go to Petit-Gamin even if the site holds a “functional racecourse” permit. During his intervention, Jean Michel Lee Shim indicates that there will be no races at Petit-Gamin. It will remain a training center and will also act as a quarantine center for horses in transit. Which was also in the initial plans of his company, Global Equestrian Ltd. With this in mind, his company wishes to attract the Gulf market, by offering stays for competition horses, allowing them to acclimatize to the warm climate of the island, or even becoming a place of retirement for former champions.

In conclusion, Jean Michel Lee Shim emphasizes that “the PTP has never asked for exclusivity of the track, because it has always left the door open to the Mauritius Turf Club”.

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