L’Assemblée Générale Annuelle du Mauritius Turf Club a eu lieu au siège du Club, au Champ de Mars, cet après-midi. Au cours de celle-ci, devait aussi se tenir l’élection de deux Administrateurs pour les trois prochaines années.
Mais alors qu’ils étaient quatre en lice pour ces élections à l’issue du ‘‘nomination day’’, notamment Vinod Beeharee, Naresh Gujadhur, Paul France Tennant et Anoop Madhow, ces deux derniers ont automatiquement obtenu leur siège sur le Board des Administrateurs, les deux premiers nommés s’étant désistés à jour J-3.
Ainsi, Paul France Tennant et Anoop Madhow succèdent à ce même Paul France Tennant et Mukesh Balgobin pour rejoindre Denis Doger de Spéville, Kamal Taposeea, Rajesh Servansing et Frantz Merven au sein de la nouvelle équipe dirigeante.
Celle-ci s’est réunie et a élu à l’unanimité Kamal Taposeea Président pour la deuxième année de suite. Réagissant à chaud, il devait déclarer :
« Mes collègues Administrateurs ont fait de moi le Président à l’unanimité et je leur en remercie. En tout cas, je suis très content que l’équipe est soudée comme d’habitude. Les anciens sont toujours là et il n’y a que Anoop Madhow qui s’ajoute à nous. Il va vite comprendre notre façon de travailler. Vous voyez aujourd’hui les résultats, la clarté dans la présentation, ce sont ces messieurs là qui ont travaillé toute l’année. C’est pas juste moi, moi je n’étais que le facilitateur, le porte-parole. Je salue le point très pertinent de Yahia Nazroo qui a dit que quand vous êtes administrateur, vous avez une lourde lourde responsabilité, que ça demande beaucoup de bienveillance de votre part, de s’assurer que tout se passe bien, que vous communiquez aux membres et que vous les engagez dans vos décisions. On est humain après tout, on ne peut pas tout savoir et tout faire. Et cette année, je dois remercier les membres qui m’ont beaucoup aidé pour beaucoup de dossiers. Les chiffres étaient bonnes et vraiment l’équipe a été magnifique. L’avenir nous dira ce qui nous attend. »
Plus tôt, Kamal Taposeea a présenté le rapport annuel aux membres du Mauritius Turf Club en tant que Président pour l’année 2018.
Le voici dans son intégralité :
I am delighted to present the Club’s Annual Report in its new more concise and corporate format. The racing year 2018 was an interesting and challenging season for various reasons and, in many respects, progress was made on various fronts.
The passion and dedication of the administrators, management, and staff have been exemplary. I thank everyone for having worked as one team during 2018. I also want to thank all the members who have helped their Club by participating in various committees during the year. In fact, we encourage more participation from members at all times. The 2018 financial results were indeed very encouraging as EBITA (Earnings Before Interest, tax and Amortisation) grew from Rs 10.4 million in 2017 to Rs 18.2 million in 2018, a growth of 75%. The profit before tax rose from Rs 3.3 million in 2017 to Rs 8.6 million in 2018. The properties of the Club were revalued as at 31 December 2018, resulting in a gain in revaluation of Rs 80 million.
The continued efforts in managing costs and enhancing revenue streams which are within our control, such as sponsorship of race days and rental of corporate boxes, have greatly contributed to our bottom line. We take this opportunity to thank our repeat sponsors and also new ones who have enjoyed the thrill of our Champ de Mars for the first time in 2018. As a matter of fact, many of our newcomers in 2018 will be repeat sponsors in 2019. Thank you sponsors!
There is no doubt also that the Club’s improved fixtures committee with the three additional members designated by the trainers’ community (two trainers and one assistant trainer) has had a positive role in the excellent quality of races we have enjoyed in 2018. The indirect consequence of this initiative definitely led to a better race-card and betting turnover.
Our overall relationship with the GRA in 2018 remained professional and this, despite the fact that we had taken the decision to legally challenge their directive affecting the organization of race meetings. It will be inappropriate for me to comment on this as the matter is sub judice.
We will fail in our duties if credit is not given to the owners and trainers who have made enormous efforts in the purchase of horses leading to fierce competition which had a direct impact on the betting volumes. The betting public is also to be thanked for their continued trust in the Club. Another factor, which led to continued confidence in racing in 2018, was the strict control by the racing stewards. We cannot conceal the beneficial contribution of Mr John Zucal in the stipe room. Unfortunately, the latter will not be returning to Mauritius in 2019 and thus our decision to hire Miss Julia Keevy for the upcoming season in order to maintain and improve the supervision by the stewards.
In respect of attendance level for 2018, it did not decrease nor increase. The reasons for this flat growth are numerous and more will be done in 2019 in respect of our infrastructure and amenities in order to render the facilities more comfortable. Horse racing remains the No. 1 entertainment in our country and the growing number of foreigners who attended any race day were unanimous in recognizing that we have an exceptional racecourse with a fantastic ambience. Our International Jockeys’ Weekend has kept all its promises in 2018 and a special thank you goes to Khalid Rawat for having managed this event since 1996. Khalid will be leaving us in 2019 and we wish him all the success in his new endeavours.
The good financial performance allowed us to increase the stakes monies to Rs 98 million from Rs 87.5 million in 2017 and to continue to offer subsidies to the stables amounting to Rs 54.6 million in 2018 from Rs 48.4 million in 2017.
The 2018 season is now over and the next one is behind the door and we must continue to be vigilant against those who wish to tarnish the reputation of this noble sport. In 2018, we spent Rs 2.3 million for the out of competition tests and Rs 20.4 million for pre and post-race tests. We unfortunately detected 6 cases for prohibited substances, that was six too many! We have reviewed and enhanced some of our security procedures and will, in 2019, ask the trainers, assistant trainers, stable supervisors and grooms to step up and adopt the various measures proposed to cater for a more rigid and effective control.
As from this year, we are pleased to welcome our new CEO, Mr Mike Rishworth to the Club. Mike comes to us with a wealth of experience in all facets of the industry. We look forward to working with and supporting Mike in the years to come. The arrival of Mike will allow Benoit to bow out after 25 years as the Club’s General Manager. We thank Benoit for having taken the Club to where it is today and are delighted that he will continue to put his know-how and experience at the disposal of the Club.
For the immediate future, Benoit will remain as the Club’ secretary and will also ensure the proper organization of race days. We are also happy to report that we have only recently obtained the FSC’s approval for the thorny issue relating to the pension plan that has been going on for many years. We have developed various options for the financing of this plan and the implementation thereof should take place in 2019.
We will be calling for an EGM in 2019 whereby we will present to you our proposal to modernise our outdated statutes. We will be looking forward for your approval to implement these significant changes. It is important to never forget the very basic premise that everything the Board of administrators does is for the benefit of members, staff, our various stakeholders, and for the future of our Club. To that effect, I wish to congratulate my fellow administrators for their hard work and determination to achieve the goals we had set for the advancement of The Mauritius Turf Club.
Lastly, I would like to say that the administrators, the management, and staff are ready for the challenges that await us for the upcoming season and that with your support of course!