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Met – Where’s The Fizz Gone?

The day was boring - so was Bolt

I attended what must be my 35th Met at Kenilworth on Saturday and left disappointed, writes lifetime punter and a self-admitted ‘victim for the game’, Patrick Nassif, in the Sporting Post Mailbag.

1965 Metropolitan winner, Speciality

The Met has always been the one day the punter, the social elite and fashion set can join hands to have a great day out – and savour the very best that horseracing has to offer.

But on Saturday it just didn’t work.

It was downright boring. There was no atmosphere. The tents were blocking the parade ring. It lacked spark.

And I’m still wondering exactly what role Mr Usain Bolt played in the show?

He didn’t arrive before the first and mingle with us.

He landed in his snazzy chopper 45 minutes before the big race, sauntered up to the front of the grandstand looking decidedly bored – and then didn’t even have a great wow answer for some superficial question about his career, pitched to him by a glamorous busty lady in a loud outfit on the stage.

No question, Bolt is an icon on the sports field. But in a community where 90% of the people don’t even drive a car, did he have to arrive in the whirlybird with the attitude?

Maybe this new generation of materialista’s aspire to the Bolt image – natty clothes, fancy watches and designer after shave and suits.

I go for the racing – for the horses – to have a jol – and now and again to hopefully back a winner.

We used to be so staunch – only church on Sundays outpointed our passion for racing on a Saturday.

The fizz has gone out of the champers.

Mumm may be the word – but they are going to have to offer me something very special to get me back in a hurry.

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17 comments on “Met – Where’s The Fizz Gone?

  1. Richard Adcock says:

    Nicely put, an unnecessary circus.

  2. Philip Goldberg says:

    I was not there.
    Watched the race in the comforts of my home.
    Bolt looked absolutely bored.
    Not the guy I watched doing laps of honour after his final race.
    Not sure what was on his mind.
    Reports I heard, there was lots of drink, glitz and glamour.(in the tent area)
    Become too much of a haute couture event and very little interest in horses and betting.
    And as a punter/owner/tipster, I know, racing is a way of life, a culture,(usually from a young age).
    I have also attended every Met from the 80;s till recently.
    You cannot convert those that have zero interest into becoming one of us.
    So stop wasting your time and money!!!

  3. Pops says:

    Tellytrack’s coverage of the Met horses in the parade was world class.Right?

    1. Gregory says:

      No. Poor. Embarrassing.

  4. Gerald Francis says:

    I have always said that the Met and July is not for the punter or people who love the game…..the ones who religiously go to the race course week in week out. Those particular race meetings are for the fashion gurus and and the socialites who pay the exorbitant entry fees to get access to tent town whilst the punter and horse racing enthusiast are left without tickets to these events……Met and July not for me as an everyday punter…..

  5. As a regular racegoer together with my love and passion for the sport of horse racing …MET DAY has become too much of a farce and has taken away the appeal of a big race day for us the racing public… I wish more effort was placed on service delivery to your racing public and especially the punter than the spectacle its become… each year you losing more punters attending what’s suppose to be the highlight of Cape Towns racing season… NOTE CAPE TOWNS RACING SEASON…. and you have managed to turn it into more of a joke than a race day… So many tents and marques, something I don’t see on big race days held at Ascot Dubai or any other racing venue in the world…ON A RACE DAY WHERE ONE CAN’T SEE THE TRUE CHAMPIONS ON DISPLAY… OUR RACEHORSES… each year more than 30 of MY racing friends came down from Durban and our enthusiasm and excitement for this day starts way back even before the final field is announced as to who we think will win the MET… over the last few years..it’s totally lost that appeal to us racegoers and has become more as a circus than a race day.. you can’t see the horses parading or gallop down to the post.. it’s lost MY 30 plus punters that come from Durban each year for the last 20 plus years… Even the announcement of jockeys and letting them come stand on a stage has lost its appeal…especially when they called up then have to shake the hands of bored dignitaries.. yes you do bring in a lot of non racegoers in and fill stands but you taking away what is suppose to be the biggest race day from the punters and racing fraternity to put on a gala fashion parade and yuppy show ..This is all good and well but this gimmick doesnt make racegoers out of these people… neither does it bring them CONTINUESLY to other race days… yes by all means you should continue with these and other shows on a monthly basis if this is a way to raise much needed cash and boost the coffers but please refrain from these activities on race days… you’ve completely taken away the spotlight from the real heroes for that day… our racehorses … its not a Usain Bolt.. Maroon 5 or any other celebrities day but our CHAMPION RACEHORSES DAY… Lets keep the spotlight on the true champions for the day…

  6. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    I enjoyed the met this year, was probably the best since 2002. I loved that it was not overcrowded, it seems the party goers arrived much later. I think that’s a concept that can work.

    I must however state that what Dish served up in the Peninsula Room was decidedly low grade.

  7. freeracer01 says:

    The church bit is heartwarming. I am in tears.

    1. James Goodman says:

      I agree Freeracer, the whole thing bring me to tears!!especially the church

  8. Phillip Lamport says:

    Not just with regards to the the Met the July and Summer Cup , has any of the Opperators and or Directors ever thought that we may be chasing our own tail. With Racing I’s a Rush , the sponsors and opperators are always chasing the New Punter and attempting to convert the public into our game . However reading the majority of the posts on different social media website we may seem to be loosing more people/ supporters than we are gaining.

    Should we not look after what we got , make them happy and the rest will follow naturally . Simple things like making sure that all the Betting machines on course and opperators are trained and in good working order . Many machines on the day at the course were down , there were no betting slips avalible , verbal bets had to be taken (which is always risky) , thus causing mistakes on tickets , Punters and owners that attend week in and week out know what they are doing , no to stand in a que where a delay is caused by mistakes, people not well eductaed in bets avalible , is just going to cause frustration.

    The fact that many courses do not have free wi-fi is also a concern . The opperators and Telly track are attempting to get people to be more tech savy and play on the Opperators online platforms. However with the fear that many that arrive on the race course will not use these sites but rater lay their bets with the open bet book makers can only give them an excuse not to attend. It is well known that a fairly large Book maker took over a million Rands worth of Pick six bets on his book on Saturday that he held , which should have gone into the main pool. If that is just one book maker how many other book makers took these kind of bets. The majority of these bets were take off course by punters sitting at home watching from the comforts of their homes. Make our race courses more user friendly and improve service , more “punters ” will come to the course as they will have no concerns .

    But looking after a bunch of Fashion students , party goers and publice that come to the race course once or twice a year is not going to improve our sport. Stop trying to find New – Look after what you have.

  9. bert says:

    u are correct these people are invited by different sponsors to their fancy tents where they are entertained with free drinks and food but not one of them has a bet on the tote or the bookies on course,they are there for the freebie only.But the regular punters on those big racing days now have to pay for entry (why ) and as a result most of them give these big meetings a miss,and eventually every meeting a total miss.So its time the powers that be reaccess and dont always try cater for the fancy people only.Why dont the people who run the course give a entry card to the regular every week punter which would allow him/her to always get a free entry to the course for all meetings.

  10. nick says:

    I Remember going to the Turffontein for all of Elevation’s Holiday Inns victories I do not remember if there were any shows or any famous actors or athletes and I don’t think anyone else that was there remembers, we went for the game of horse racing. I still play S.A racing even though I now live in Greece,I watch on Tellytrack on my PC but the problem is I don’t bet often anymore because half the time we see the horses going down from behind, or a big percentage being hacked down (in the old days jocks would get in hot water for that) These days there is a lot of ponying ( for horses that don’t need it). Horse racing is not a Casino or a party if they don’t look after the racing punter on the smaller meetings as well as the big meetings, the horse player will get lost to the game.

    1. Brian says:

      So true Eddie, but then again so much has been said of Tellytrack and fallen on deaf ears one now knows why. They’ve got it arse about face

  11. Eddie Haarhoff says:

    I atttend The Queens plate on Friday and Saturday, I sat in the Pocket Power room for free. I gambled and paid for my wine and food. On Sun Met Day, to have the same privilege I would have had to paid R1980.00 for food. I could not justify that expense for food only. The poor turnout is a result or the expensive prices being charged on Met Day. I wonder how many people would have attended if they had not received free tickets.

    1. Paulo says:

      …and free champagne. I happen to know someone involved with the Champagne sponsor and based on an informal chat, the freebies far outweighed the sales

  12. Michael Jacobs says:

    The Met is certainly no longer the exciting and enjoyable day it used to be under the J& B brand, it has certainly lost some of its spark. I haven’t missed a Met in the past 30 years, and this year was certainly the most boring. It has become too upmarket and has lost the “heart and soul” of the event. My best times were the ones spent on the lawns with a picnic basket, beach umbrella and a blanket. One could bring your own food and drinks. It was convivial and fun. The over-commerciallisation of the event, the high costs (food, drink, entry) has spoilt the event. Maybe they should go back to the old days of separating the course into the socialite once a year visitors who can pay a premium and the regular punters who enjoyed having a picnic on the lawn. The socialites can have their exclusive party but who cares, they won’t be back the following week, while the regular folk can have their picnic with their own food and drink and enjoy the racing!

  13. Dave says:

    I thought that the racing itself was from the top drawer with the best horses more or less featuring. That was a indeed a positive along with the tote cooperating for most of the day (it was very slow for an hour or so in the middle of the day).
    I was racing from home as I find that if I attend an event such as the QP or MET, that I miss a lot of the horse racing action as I’m not prepared to buy a ticket simply to be with the “celebrities” (in fact, I’d probably pay to avoid them :)). I’m assuming of course that the pricey enclosures do suitably cover the racing action ? Catering at the course can be a bit “hit and miss” so again another reason to race from home and avoid possible disappointment. I do see a comment here which supports this which is exactly where “hit and miss” enters the equation. So it seems as if the overall comments and the race day itself went off rather well so that definitely gets a tick. I too am not sure about the draw card of Usain Bolt but then I don’t necessarily identify with the “celebrity” crowd. On that note, I saw Chad le Clos (perhaps SA’s equivalent of Bolt) at the races recently and was able to engage with him very briefly which was far better than trying to catch a glimpse of Bolt).
    However – and I’m not trying to be negative – we now go back to the bread and butter stuff which I see is one midweek meeting in February and one in March and as there is no programme yet for April, who knows how many then. It’s back to an apocalyptic scene (an empty racecourse), bird**** on the terraces and horribly dirty tablecloths on the very old tables in the Betting World room.
    Fortunately, we’re serviced (not in the biblical sense 🙂 by a very nice lady from the “tote” who engages with us, listens as we take our bets and generally just adds sanity to an often trying day. She’ll let us know if they’re short-staffed, will be aware that we’re taking bets at other venues and basically, will simply know and be good at her job. She’ll listen to us complain about the long intervals between races to accommodate “Macronites” and sometimes brings us printed “will-pays” as the exotics draw to a close !
    This is in my opinion, where racing should concentrate it’s efforts ….look after the average punter before we’re all bored or dead. There can still be initiatives to bring new people/punters “into the game” but not at the expense of us ordinary folk. Make the off course totes more pleasant so that you’re not clutching your wallet whilst “dodging dodgy” (Adderley Street Cape Town).
    Anyway, well done to team Snaith and Grant van Niekerk on some serious achievements and let’s see where we go ……..

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