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L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate – Just A Party

SA racing is on life support

And the band just carried on playing ….while the ship continued to sink

A recent Australian blog described racing in SA as being on life support. It did not mention Kenilworth – but if it did it might have said that the disease in this region had metastasised, writes Richard H in the Sporting Post Mailbag.

I know more people that used to own racehorses or used to have a bet than those that currently do. 

I gather that most of the many loyal and regular contributors to Sporting Post are in the same position.

So, we all know the problem – but what is to be done about it?

One such person whose heart is really in the right place, is Mrs Gaynor Rupert and her family owned company, L’Ormarins.

The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate is a super day at the races.  It is just gorgeous to see so many folk in blue and white and when that was in short supply, there was plenty of flesh on display.  I believe that Mrs Rupert, with her quite substantial investment in horses, wants to see racing in SA revived.  The LQP is a great vehicle to achieve that end by getting newcomers to experience racing and the excitement of placing a bet and winning a few bob.

The Queen’s Plate – it was just a party

Now, against that background, picture the scene at Kenilworth on LQP day.  I was in the entertainment area where you had to have a ticket of sorts to get anywhere.  Anyway, there were lots of people around that were quite clearly first timers as far as racing was concerned.  The main race is about to start: the field is loading: excitement should have been at fever pitch: and the jazz band kept on playing drowning out the on-course commentary and any TV (there were only a few anyway) that had the sound on.  Nobody had any idea of what was happening.

I witnessed a young lady ask the band leader to stop playing for the race.  She was told (very loosely translated) that this was a party and if she wanted to gamble she should go to a casino!

The whole point of the day was, if I am right about Mrs Rupert, in that single moment, lost.  The crowd carried on drinking and chatting and gave not a damn to the race or its result.  I’ll wager a lot (not that I am a betting man) that not one of those first timers was at Kenilworth the following Saturday.

The Devil is in the detail

Mrs Rupert, I am really happy for you if you sold a whole lot more wine and exposed your Brand to a new audience but as far as promoting racing in Cape Town was concerned, well, I am not sure.  I am always intrigued by companies that organise golf days for their clients and happily spend thousands on the day.  Very often the golf day is a shambles because, in the main, its organisation was left to a person who does not play golf.  Yes, use your lovely PR lady to organise the food and drink but the Devil is in the detail and that should be left to a person with knowledge of racing.

The band should be silenced when the races are run so that the atmosphere and entire excitement of the day can be felt by all with a view to encouraging more people to follow and participate in the sport.


But, fear not, the day was a party and while the ship was sinking, passengers were entertained to some lovely jazz music.  The racing?  Who cares?  It was just a party on a sinking ship.

I fear that the Sun Met will follow the same route.  Pity.


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20 comments on “L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate – Just A Party

  1. Michael Jacobs says:

    100% in agreement. A sponsor, especially one connected to horseracing, should do everything in their power to promote the sport and encourage participation, but clearly the LQP organisers were more interested in the garden party and the social scene. The LQP might as well have been organised on a non-raceday for all the interest shown by the “special guests”. Horseracing has become a sideshow and an excuse to host a party and to expose the brand. I was at Kenilworth racecourse yesterday and we were back to s deserted course, all the LQP guests were not to he seen on the racecourse, just the handful of regular, loyal punters who keep the game limping along.

    1. Brian says:

      It takes a friend to tell you you have bad breath. Well no onr was going to say that to Mrs Rupert. And rightly so. However I must agree with the writer. I’ve said this before as this same issue happens every year and is often written about in this forum.
      If you want a party go to one. If you want to go to the races don’t expect a party and if you think you’re going to promote horse race with a party, you’re wrong!
      There’s no sustainability in that and all you have is invitees drinking and eating for free.
      Sorry Mrs Rupert, you won’t see me near that day and don’t listen to Tellytrack. It will tell you What you want to hear, not what you should

      1. Roderick Mattheyse says:

        I went and went last year as well. I paid and whilst the price may have seemed expensive… the value was immense – I have also paid to go to the upcoming Hauwei K day – the price is not dissimilar but without having been there I am sure that the value at LQP will been in a different stratosphere.

        I will go again next year, but only if Mrs Rupert and her team continue to create this immense value for me.

  2. Ralph Fell. says:

    Brian and Ed. I have resorted to muting Tellytrack until the ‘off.’ As previously stated, every presenter, both in studio and on course relay 7-10 minutes before the ‘off’ what the wim/place dividend is on certain horses. Craig Pieters tells us numbskulls what the favorurite is when the horses are cantering down. This is obviously a ploy, and a deceitful one, by the suits to encourage wagering on the Tote. e.g the bookmaker’s favorite may be 5/10 and paying R2.30 on the Tote at the specific moment. Try explaining that to the deluge of newcomers about to choose racing for their gambling rand. Tellytrack’s wanton disregard for the punters needs is staggering. On Wednrsday an in-studio genius displayed a split screen – horses in the parade ring in Hong Kong on the left and the horses ‘in running’ at Lingfield.on the right. The viewers were blessed with a faceless Antipodean drawl from Hong Kong, as the horses from Lingfield flashed past the post. I have visions of the mayor of Tellytrack or the latest appointee, do I detect nepotism, studying their Sporing Post, oops Computaform, and not caring an iota about long suffering punters. Then again no one sent me an invitation 50+ years ago to indulge in this graceful, noble sport that has been hijacked by individuals who are patently clueless and intent only on furthering their own agendas.

    1. Brian says:

      Spot on there Ralph

      They also show betting odds for some race in the UK or where ever while the canter past is happening in SA. Then I love my voice so much carry’s on splabbing about the previous race where ever it was during the canter past in SA and then when they switch over one sees the last 5 horses in the race go down and guess what I don’t bet.

      Those who run Tellytrack have thicker skins than Zuma. They just can’t seem to get it that they know nothing about television, need to get some advice from someone who does.That’s not going to happen. It’s clearly a family affair. There’s some other Basel guy in now who like most of them needs to learn about broadcasting or go for lessons and yes, there are teachers around who can help.

      The problem is the way I see it Ralph there is a track broadcast and then there’s Tellytrack doing it’s pretty useless thing. It needs to come from a central studio to us and then it should be properly co-ordinated. The guy in the Tellytrack studio clearly cannot see what we’re seeing or he’s just plain useless and can’t get his timing right.

      Or, maybe the powers that be are happy for Tellytrack to be an amateurish setup and there’s nothing wrong in that if that’s what they want.

      I actually think its time horse racing had competition. By that I mean government needs to allow opposition. Does it have a chance of failure. Yes!

      But there’s’ money out there in certain quarters to make it succeed if legislation allowed.

      Now those at Tellytrack may be offended by my comments and to that I say this.

      Tellytrack is a commercial venture and it goes to bookmakers and other in the industry and asks for money. In return for thy money they say they are going to come into my lounge and ask for my betting money. No problem there.

      Problem is Tellytrack, do not come into my lounge and insult my intelligence or offend me or have a presenter who cannot speak the English language properly. When you do, as you do, I will turn the sound off.

      If you then feel I should not be watching Tellytrack you’re then saying I should not watch horse racing. If that’s the way you feel let me know. I will gladly accommodate you.

  3. David James says:

    Although I tend to agree and disagree with the above posts , I feel the blame is not being put on the correct people . It is the sponsors day and they are welcome to do what they like to entertain their guests.

    The problem comes with the operators and Its a Rush – They are the ones supposedly in charge of educating new clients with Betting Buddies , good terminals , service etc.

    I have attended all the days since conception and I as a regular racer have enjoyed the day immensely , thank God for Mrs Rupert and her team , if we had left it to Western Cape Racing , Phumelela , and It’s A Rush the course would have looked like it did the past Saturday , Empty.

    Racing It’s A Rush is the biggest waste of time and money I have ever seen . They entertain wine and dine people on a weekly basis for free not to return and nothing is said. Rumours going around are that at this stage R16 Million has been spent since inception on RIAR , I do not see the return on investment in either new owners or punters in any way. That’s the Joke of this not Mrs Rupert and her Team.

    1. Rian says:

      Well said David, you spot on R i a r stinks and run by fools

    2. Paulo says:

      R16mill??? Wow!!! Imagine how many calls to owners who havent renewed colours or punters who no longer punt they could have made, to find out the issues, resolve them and rescue them as customers.
      I think its too simple…and there are no selfies involved either.

  4. Wayne Fouche says:

    And not a peep from the editor?

      1. Wayne Fouche says:

        Sorry Karel – what I meant was “Do you not have an opinion on the article and/or comments?”

  5. Tony Mincione says:

    Here is my 2c: Most racing people think that the administrators are morons. I have been guilty of the same till I realized it wasn’t an accurate picture of the problem. The really big problem is that we, racing people, can’t agree on the problem.

    When racing tries to drum up support, it assumes that it’s engaging with newbies. When it engages with newbies, oldies head for the hills and/or the mute button. Generally we can’t agree on anything, not the program, not the handicapping system, not how sponsors should behave, not how we should promote…pretty much not anything.

    From reading comments you will see that rose coloured glasses must be mass produced for the majority of us, and nostalgia is dripped on everything.

    My view is that from the NHA, through the administrators and many other VIP’s… none of them bet. Betting, or lets call it by it’s garden name, gambling, is the fuel that fires the furnace. Gambling and winning. Owners buy horses and that’s huge gambling. Punters bet on those horses. The whole game is built around those two hats, and everything should be in service to them. That is the basis of planning any strategy that hopes to work.

    So spoil owners a bit, and lay it on thick for your punters. Everything else lives in the shadow of that. Who cares if we have some days, bankrolled by a sponsor, where it’s more a massive party where horse racing battles to keep up and our infrequent guests miss the subtleties of the game? You make the opportunity for people to see, enjoy and maybe want more. You will only snag a few percent each time, as with anything. But the purpose is to have the occasion that gets recorded for history, and a crowd helps a lot.

    The Olympic games is a showcase and only a few people start jogging afterwards, but you build everything on it and it’s the future for the talent still to come. I haven’t a clue about most sports but I watch the Olympics. My kids suddenly are going to the Met, ironically because of Bolt (I know), but they are taking friends who have never been. I believe the Met and the July give the game credibility to the outside. It needs these days to ensure that the rest of society is happy for racing to exist the rest of the time when it is only us, the interested who watch.

    And just maybe the Queens Plate is the model which shows you can have the party and the purity. If you wanted to show someone the best of both worlds you would probably take them there.

  6. William Milkovitch says:

    Mayfair Speculators racing activities and business plan = Just a Party for Jooste

  7. dave mollett says:

    Whatever your view on this story, the second headline of “And the band just continued playing….while the ship continued to sink” is brilliant journalism.
    Congrats to whoever came up with that.
    My view – I remain optimistic racing isn’t going the same way as the Titanic!

    1. Paulo says:

      Dave, you are absolutely correct. The Titanic was going straight…nearly home and dry and would have been a great success but for that Iceberg. Its innovation set the standard for todays big fleets of cruise liners. Racing however, in SA, isn’t setting the standards for anything to come – perhaps a case study of sorts at some major business school, one day. What it is doing, as opposed to innovating, is De-novating. Back to Titanic terms, its not moving straight but inching lower and lower. To its credit, racing is taking quiet some time to sink, even has a chance at rescue, whilst the poor Titanic was down in a quick jiffy. Lets hope there isn’t an Iceberg around.

    2. Pops says:

      Maybe not the Titanic Molly, but surely the way of the Costa Concordia with the present NHA and Phumelela at the helm.
      Like Captain Francesco Schettino Phumelela are falling off the sinking ship(horse racing)and finding themselves in a lifeboat(Sports Betting)and refusing to go back and help out on the sinking ship.

    3. Blue Peter says:

      Top of the day Molly. Ta very much for the Kemption PA on Tuesday. Ta very much for Liege in the Summer Cup. Any news on the Great Cape Met. Great job. Kenneth.

  8. siqalo says:

    I think the programming at tellytrack leaves a lot to be desired.
    I mean LQP is done and dusted yet you get the same old adds
    Then there is the paul & james show which is repeated an entire week
    I wake up early to see the previous days replays only to reruns of the same boring shows
    Tellytrack is a racing channel we should see racing from all over the world.
    I thought the short lived experiment of televising australian racing from about 5am was the start of greater things to come.

    1. Brian says:

      Hello Siqalo

      We agree


    What were the famous last words of the captain of the Titanic ?

    Full steam ahead !! ……and fcuk the icebergs.

    That’s Phumelela



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