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Brain Game? More Like Brain Drain!

How does horseracing keep shooting itself in both hooves?

The late withdrawal at the start of hot favourite Exquisite Touch threw a dark cloud for many punters over the R150 000 Listed Gardenia Stakes at Turffontein on Thursday evening.

Ryan Munger rides a pearler to keep Queen Laurie going (Pic: JC Photographics)

Nobody’s detracting from a brave showing by Grant Maroun’s gutsy Great Britain filly Queen Laurie, but how does horseracing keep shooting itself in both feet with a structure and process that can only chase punters away?

With the odds-on Exquisite Touch injured at the gate, the button was pressed and Jackpot players were given no time to restructure their bets. Exotic players were left with the eventually unplaced Daring Diva as tote favourite.

Not everybody was crying afterwards! Ryan Munger – a cool ride

An unmitigated disaster for all those punters who treat this like the brain game – and Saftote must have lost over fifty percent of their turnover on the race by means of refunds. And we are supposedly trying to create winners?

This is not the first time – it won’t be the last. But nobody seems to be listening.

But let’s focus on the winners.

Full marks to Ryan Munger for a neatly judged ride. He hit the front on the pacy Queen Laurie at the 300m and kept the speedball going to withstand a bold late effort from Winter Watch under Piere Strydom, who denied Movie Show the second cheque.

The winner’s time was a fairly hasty 57,43 secs.

The Gr3 placed Queen Laurie has lived in the shadow of her more talented stablemate Wrecking Ball but she finally put a deserved stakes success together.

A daughter of Great Britain (Green Desert), she was bred by Kevin Hunter’s Worldwise Breeding and is out of the five time winner Maggie Kay (Lecture).

She has won 3 races with 6 places from 15 starts for stakes of R355 450.



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14 comments on “Brain Game? More Like Brain Drain!”

      1. Until the time when betting laws and betting structures change to the point where racing produces winners instead of losers , this game will go to the dogs.

  1. Shooting themselves in the feet? There are no feet left, multiple gunshot wounds tend to have this effect on you, and boy have there been multiple shots over the years. When no common sense exists, it surprises me that we still get the usual reaction to the latest act of incompetence from the incompetents that run the show and that we have got so used to over the years.

    Leaving the emotions out of it, let’s debate how this debacle came to be. Although the start falls under the NHA responsibilities, I have perused both the Racing Operators conditions of 7 November 2017, and the NHA rules relating to starts and scratchings. Significantly, I can find no rule that specifically caters for this contingency. I am well aware that there is some sort of agreement in place that additional time is given ( or should be ) if a horse that is a significant player in the betting is scratched. This then allows punters to restructure their bets. I have no doubt that this rule exists to protect the operators and not necessarily the punter. So what rule has been broken, and how can any action be taken against an individual due to this?

    The NHA rules relating to the delaying of a start of a race are as follows:

    61.5.5 The starter shall ensure that HORSES are not kept at the start after the time advertised for
    the start except:-
    61.5.5.1 for the purpose of replacing defective equipment;
    61.5.5.2 to repair a defective stall or to replace a defective bank of starting stalls;
    61.5.5.3 to enable a suitable RIDER appointed in terms of RULE 55.2 to arrive at the start;
    61.5.5.4 to allow the RACE COURSE to be cleared of any obstructions;
    61.5.5.5 for the veterinary examination of a HORSE;
    61.5.5.6 with the permission of the RMR, or ROR or the SB, to provide for any other exigencies which may arise.

    61.5.5.6 could perhaps be applied, but has the usual murkiness associated with so many of the regulators rules.

    My bet is business comes first as usual, and that the starter was under time pressure to fit the race into the international racing schedule. Rumour has it that the operators are under immense pressure to fulfill their time slots at the agreed time and delays cause an overflow into other races on the international program.

    The bottom line is nobody can be sanctioned as no rule was broken, This should be cold comfort to the vast majority of punters who did their cash in cold blood.

    1. Steve you are 100% correct in what you are saying . In an article interviewing John Stewart in the Comp Form recently , he went on to say how important it is to keep to the scheduled times allocated and that should this not be done correctly , they just move on and you miss your time slot. Therefore this will have an inpact on turnover overseas and no cut for Phumelela .

  2. What had me wondering last night was you had 5 horses scratched in race 4 ( 1,2,9,10,13 ) the favorite also now you end up with a horse you did not want as your favorite , no time to change your JPT ( never mind the Bipot , Pa an P6 that is already in the bin) Now on Saturday the second JPT after the first leg had run there was lightning around , so all of a sudden a track inspection gets called for after next to no rain on a course with world class drainage . Obvious delay tactics as the full JPT and P3 pools had to be refunded never mind the celebrities that had to be entertained. The end result JPT runs no refunds all winners owned by big names in the Game , biggest outsider wins the last leg JPT pays R4062.20 all happy. Now Saturday the 28/10/2017 racing was supposed to be on the outside track yet after the first race a track inspection showed up a bad patch around the 1400M mark where the sprayer was left on the whole night , where was this track inspection in the morning then . Once again the punter ended up the loser the meeting was moved after a long delay to the inside track the JPT paid R41355.40 the P6 R1152968.90 of witch a % was c/o . The 31/10/2017 we had a lovely supper upstairs with a spit very nice , yet after the last race we came outside to where we were told to park only to find all the lights were off . We had to find our way back to the car in pitch darkness yet if we were Celebrities we would have been escorted .I think the course should look after joe public and give him a reason to come back instead of treating these strangers like kings !!!!! I personally think training of staff on big race days at the TAB widows in a NO NO you don’t get bets on , I wonder if some of the Big shots also try to take bets at trainees just before exotics like we have to ???

  3. Was appalling to watch the first leg of the jackpot turn into an accident happening in slow motion.

    However, what are the alternatives? As Steve Reid posted his comments with an eye on the rules, any suggestions must also be framed in a way that a rule can be applied.

    So if (the fav?, 2nd fav?, 3rd fav?) gets scratched, then what? When, within 5 minutes of the start? What if 1 favourite after the next is scratched? Only the first leg? Of what, PA, P6, Bipot, Express?

    A delay? How long? Bookies favourite or tote? What happens if The July is first leg of a Jackpot, do we unload whole field? I like to bash the status quo as much as the next guy, but I have learnt that most rules have been hard won to avoid unintended consequences.

    1. Tony the biggest conundrum in racing is to determine who is the dog and who is the tail. When we have a well thought out situation where it is impossible to distinguish between regulator and regulated, then we sink into the abyss that we currently find ourselves in.

  4. Our racing has become all about quantity and no quality so its great to see the changes in The Met conditions. Quality racing will always bring the cream to the top and give the punter a much better chance.

  5. The rationale of giving punters ‘time to restructure their bets’ is horse manure. Let:s say 60% of the wagers are struck via telebet. How do those punters (a) cancel their bets and (b) strike new bets per telephone within a, say, 5 minute window? Oops, I forgot, punters enjoy griping because if gives them something to do whilst talking from their pocket.

  6. This incident is a perfect example to ask the honorable chief executive officer of the NHRA whether he found the actions of the starters, one of which is a demoted stipe, to have achieved the consistency the NHRA wants and he has preached about over and over again? Hans and I had a good laugh about how quickly the words of Mr Barends have come back to bite him. He should be very very embarrassed

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