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Racing Has Been Hijacked

Reader has a nightmare Thursday

Once upon a time horse racing was a fairytale that in recent years has collided with the new order.

Ralph Fell writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that the noble sport was hardcore, frequented by larger than life characters, likeable rogues, betting coups, the odd ringer and cigar-chomping bookmakers as opposed to corporate clerks, read automatons, whose eyes are invariably on the calendar, waiting for payday.

Stanley Amos, Cookie Amos, Syd Garrett and Freddy Heyman (photo: Form Organisation)

Stanley Amos, Cookie Amos, Syd Garrett and Freddy Heyman (photo: Form Organisation)

Jockeys were idolised. I still have the utmost respect for them. But they are now bit players dictated to by the suits and sponsors’ whims.

In that fairytale was Newmarket racecourse on a Wednesday afternoon and subsequently a Tuesday evening, where the crowds created an adrenalin inducing experience of note.

Greyville Old Stand Spectators

Picture any UK course today where thousands go through the turnstiles on any given day.

On Thursday 29 March, the fairytale finally became a nightmare.

Tellytrack viewers were subjected to the ‘Kinross Roadshow’ which has zip to do with horseracing. This farce trumped the majority of a Wetherby race which punters had invested in and who were denied the experience of enjoying.

Interspersed throughout the day’s viewing was a nauseating Betting World advertisement announcing that 19 Western Cape branches were handing out ‘free water.’ T&C’s applied, naturally. Presumably high powered lawyers were hired to define said.

To round off this attack on one’s senses the ‘mayor of Tellytrack’ confidently recited the live jackpot/bipot tickets going through to Race 6 at Wolverhampton, which had been run about 10 minutes prior.

Woe is me. Call me a relic, yearning for the fairytale to suddenly return.

Sadly the industry has been hijacked by invisible self-serving gluttons who I would wager do not know which end of a horse kicks.

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17 comments on “Racing Has Been Hijacked

  1. Michele says:

    Thank you for saying it like it is.It would be interesting to know how many of these ’self-serving gluttons’ have swung their leg over a horse and,yes,sadly payday is the pinnacle of the month.
    I haven’t finished.How patronizing- a bottle of water for a bet?!…half baked marketing

  2. Ian Jayes says:

    A sport cannot be corporatized and maintain its ethos. Horseracing has lost its soul and character and it is going to be very hard if not impossible to get it back.

    I warned against this twenty years ago and got little or no support.

    People who never had the guts to stand and be counted, now bemoan the state of affairs that they, through their apathy and shortsightedness, brought about.

    All that corporatization has done is to make a relatively few very rich individuals even richer.

    1. Louis Goosen says:

      Ian , I not always agreed with you on basic Racing issues. However, on this subject you were right. And I have always admired your unwavering , consistent stance on the vital issues.

      We have lots of adapting to do in Racing in terms of modern times . Here in KZN, I feel as if I have “come home”. As much as we are not perfect, I am encouraged down here, by the commitment to Racing itself , as a priority and also to the efforts to regain/retain the ethos and values of old.

      Its about time you came down to the Coast for a good old Racing visit !

      1. Ian Jayes says:

        Probably will.

      2. Lorraine de Klerk says:

        Louis you are a breath of fresh positive air.

  3. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    interesting that one can long for a time where rogues and the odd ringer was considered cool.

  4. Albert X. Beare says:

    Horse racing has always been about money, influence and connections. The ordinary man has never been able to have a say in horse racing. Social media has given people like me a voice but no say. Not much has changed in horse racing except that over the years the monied people in horse racing have allowed it to be hijacked by corporate money hungry vultures who put the sport last. I miss the Laurie Jaffee’s and the Graeme Beck’s of horse racing. I have no doubt that the types of Markus Jooste and his band of ugly men would have been shown the door before they put a foot in it. It is time for people like Mrs Slack, Mr and Mrs Rupert, Mr and Mrs Jacobs, The Rattray family, Mrs Plattner, to name a few, who need to flex their muscles and intervene to save horse racing. Their silence against the poor way horse racing is managed and run is deafening. Do they rather prefer to live off their wealth and influence and be treated as royalty and not get their hands dirty?

    1. Malcolm L says:

      hijacked is right ..without any remorse what’s so ever…..it’s all about the big boys & money. There are so many things that have happened in racing that defies normal human logic. One race has always stuck in my mind …many years ago in a feature race in PMB if my memory serves me right, the horse was called Supreme ???? trained by Mr. Drier & ridden by Sean Cormack ..the horse caused so much inteferance in the race that Cormack got a 7 day suspension, not sure if he got fined as well ,but the horse kept the race at 20-1 & the connections got their stake money..in other words the punter got hijacked big time…Another case of the smaller punter getting hijacked must be from the powers that control the PICK 6…the biggest con of all no more couplings will result in bigger pools,…true but seriously harder to catch and recent results show that to be true unless you have unlimited funds…….what does one do when Sean Tarry has sometimes up to 5 runners in a race, add to that Mike de Kock has 3 to 4 runners in the race…The smaller punter has got no chance of catching the P/6..check Saturdays SA FILLIES CLASSIC..you would have to almost put in the whole field….which for the smaller punter is just not affordable, so you take your R100 perm for 1% …..there is no big pay days for the punter. With out the couplings there is no big wins for me and others ..IN OTHER WORDS WE HAVE BEEN HIJACKED FROM DAY DOT.. some advice, rather buy a Lotto Ticket.for R5…………….

  5. Brian says:

    Well, I suppose I must be a relic too. My ole mate Jack used to say to me,”Briany, I cant run the 100 metres anymore but I can still think”.
    No we’re not relics, just know how it should work.

  6. Olof says:

    Only the ones with money and connections will win. We as the “Industry Puppets” boosting pools wil keep on wasting our money, hopeing to ONEDAY win the big one….. so sad that this game went for a ball of s..t…….

  7. Leon smuts says:

    Racing for all it’s faults and short comings could still offer incredible value for young and old, even under it’s current mantle. From a marketing perspective it is so important to recognise two broad categories of participants, those who really need the money and those that love the thrill. This is not fully catered for in the product offering and does racing and players a great deal of injustice. Involvement could be so much more exciting and much easier to promote when both greater entertainment value and better and more affordable opportunities to win is factored into gaming formats. With an improved and more enjoyable playing experience many of the current flaws would be merely a sideshow that will not inhibit growth as long as it is addressed over time so as not to alienate the loyal supporter. Racing could pull itself out of the self dug hole with little effort if the punting experience and race horse ownership became central to its efforts again. Monopolising the industry offers no lasting solution if the well being of the industry is truly a serious consideration.

  8. IAN says:

    Seems most/all the Tellytrack presenters are now on the Betting World/TAB payroll – sponsored shirts and no doubt much much more. Betting World/TAB (is there a difference….?) seems to have hijacked Tellytrack to the extent where punters’ money comes a poor second. If overseas races are going to be televised, show the whole race – with commentary – rather than interrupting the broadcast with interviews of individuals who have won a bakkie !!

    What next?

  9. Michael Jacobs says:

    Tellytrack/Betting World are force-feeding their marketing campaigns on the ordinary punter and it is irksome and nauseating! Do we really care about a bakkie being won in Rustenberg or a branch opening in KZN? We want to bet and watch racing, not watch Tellytrack presenters prattling on and on in some obscure tote about a half-baked competition that only the punters in that particular tote are interested in. That’s what happens when there is a monopoly and the customer is taken for granted. Betting World are entitled to have their marketing campaigns in their branches, but I’m really not interested in watching it all day on tv!

  10. bert says:

    correct Michael ,Tellytrack used to be for the punters enjoyment (presenters like Mr. Goodman made it a fun thing ).now its for Bettingworlds advertisement.Also some of their presenters waffle on giving every single price on every single horse in a race when the prices are on display, and then while the horses start to go down to the start and punters want to see what they look like going down they cut showing them and again waffle on about results somewhere else instead of waiting for all the horses to go down.

  11. Arthur talbot says:

    Why should we continue punting?Finchatton runs under lights at turfontein tonight against a fairly strong field.Going into the race his formline reads as follows.12th/11th/12th/10th/8th .He holds off all challengers and wins by 2l.There are 11 .89%winning jackpot tickets which pay R33ooo.Trainer Terzi should tell us why and how this horse improved so dramatically so we can learn how to punt without including the whole field and can he tell us if he and Gunter won the jackpot or would that be taking transparency too far.

    1. Editor says:

      Cowboys shouldn’t cry – c’mon Arthur!

      If you used SP you would have noted Finchatton was our top ability rated and best handicapped.

      Good luck to Mr Terzi if he won the Jackpot.

      Jockeys are not allowed to punt and your comment is an unfair and unfounded from the pocket finger point at Gunter Wrogemann.

      Win a few – lose a few. It’s the nature of the game.

  12. Marina says:

    If you’ve followed Finchatton as I have, you would have not been surprised at the win last night. In an interview with Sean Tarry a few months ago he said Finchatton loves the Turffontein 1400 but is always getting a bad draw. The draw and distance last night was perfect and Finchatton delivered the goods.

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