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Why Do We Complicate Matters?

Comments under the spotlight

The South African horseracing industry needs to pull finger and  put its collective heads together and make comments for unraced and rested horses mandatory and a rule of holding a licence.

As a punter, I rely on information to make my decisions. I am not connected to any yard and am not privvy to inside information.

Dave Wright of Cape Town writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that if he  wanted to gamble without the use of his brain, he’d go and sit in a casino and play roulette.

I would certainly get treated a lot better and be made to feel a lot more welcome than I do in the average tote or racecourse – but that’s a debate for another day.

Does horseracing really want my gambling rand?

I make use of the comments kindly provided by Phumelela and published by the Sporting Post on a daily basis.

In the list for Saturday’s meeting, even Mike de Kock and Geoff Woodruff gave ‘no comments’. So between Tarry, de Kock and Woodruff , three of the leading yards in that region simply did not come to the party!



8 SEVENTH LIGHT S G Tarry: No comment given

9 SUPER FINE G M Alexander: Could place if not too green

2 13:05 – BETTING WORLD – 087 741 2777 MAIDEN PLATE (F & M)

2 KUTAMBA S T Pettigrew: No comment given

3 CLEAR WINTER DAY G J Maroun: Will need the run

6 HIT THE ROAD H E Adamson: First run for stable, working nicely and hoping for improvement

9 STARLIGHTTEMPTRESS G V Woodruff: No comment given


5 LADY DEFENDER D Nieuwenhuizen: No comment given

7 16:05 – SOCCER 6, 10 and 13 ASSESSMENT PLATE

5 SILVER THURSDAY M F De Kock: No comment given

8 16:35 – INTERBET.CO.ZA 0861 150 160 FM 88 DIVIDED HANDICAP (F & M)

5 LADY VAL (AUS) M F De Kock: No comment given


4 WRITTEN S G Tarry: No comment given

So who is fooling who?

In Gold Circle territory, the supposed forerunners of transparency, we are now down to no comments at all – but have the barrier trials for unraced and those that haven’t run for 120 days.

Firstly, who has the time to go and pull out the Barrier Trials from the library and rewatch them? I love the game, but to fund my passion, I also work for a living.

And is there any point in watching them? There is no onus on the jockey to ride his horse out and I read in the SP Digest that top trainer Duncan Howells says he finds the trials more confusing than ever in this format. If this seasoned horseman can’t read them, how do I?

Read what Duncan Howells said

So what is the answer and what happened to the news that trainers would be obliged to comment when accepting his first-timer or rested horses at the NRB?

Like so many aspects, the transparency pledge by the racing operators is largely window dressing and half-hearted lip service.

If you can’t sort this simple stuff out, how do you get people to the track or find new sponsors?

Come on – where is the industry leadership again?

Ed – we receive the comments from Phumelela, but these only cover certain trainers at Phumelela tracks. Gold Circle trainers are not interviewed. We have previously investigated the aspect of comments being required at point of acceptance by the NRB. These could then be fed through to all points of information.

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9 comments on “Why Do We Complicate Matters?

  1. freeracer01 says:

    A full interview package featuring Sean Tarry, Mathew de Kock and Adam Azzie’s comments was all over social media on Saturday morning.

    1. Editor says:

      Some punters also only have access to print media

  2. karel says:

    “.. all over social media ..” – like where? It would help if you could be more specific.

  3. I do not rely on comments from trainers. I do this specifically because they either overstate or understate their chances and quite frankly they have no idea how really good or how well their horses will run. At best they are only guessing and at worse misinforming., Barrier trials seem now to have issues so it’s debatable what they show us..

    The only addition to the punting realm we need is sectionals as only this will add real value and less subjectivity to handicapping. You need serious handicappers talking on Tellytrack not the nonsense we have at present. You only have to have the sound on on Tellytrack during the weekday to realise that they are catering for the casino mentality, not the serious punter.

    I suspect that Gold Circle and Phumelela have decided that it is in their best interests to foster this casino mentality and downplay the aspects of handicapping that offers more insight. Perhaps their target market does not understand handicapping and only wants to bet on “colours” and jockeys.

  4. Niran Pillay says:

    There are shows on tellytrack that offer trainers and jockey comments, under starters orders and track side, one needs to understand that it is difficult to get comments from every yard and this is due to trainers also having a busy schedule and employees at tellytrack etc having limited resources and time to reach every trainer, perhaps the most amicable solution is to get comments from the connections of the fancied runners #just saying.

  5. freeracer01 says:

    Karel, FB and Twitter.. a variety of sources.

  6. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    When the trainers give out information I find it extremely important. last Saturday Justin and Brett gave us a banker each if you went with the enthusiasm. It was obvious the Snaith horse would win when it was raced even after taking a stroll round the southern suburbs. The Crawford horse ran like he said it would. It was a tough meeting and the comments were a great help. The one shock horse was mentioned by Candice but the hot favourite was the problem and the Snaith stable enthusiasm. Trainers are not clueless when it comes to where the horses are, that is all they can do. Up to the jockeys, conditions, time of day, travel, stalls, race…….and that is the beauty of racing, its all about the horse at that moment. I do find the outsiders….Its those damn hot favourites that let me down ! It really is in the interest of the trainers to be as open as possible without compromising the owner relationship and the industry with social media should be giving this out on an ongoing basis. The Gentleman who wrote the e mail is bang on but he also has to be honest with himself and get more connected. Sean Tarry and Mike are very open, I don’t know a stable that does not generally give up good info when they do. When they dont then you are still going to study any way…….even more so. I think post race interviews should have the first 3 interviewed and the favourite that would be interesting. The one thing I am always left with when my horse loses is ” what just happened ” ? I dont want to know how great the winner is. I just saw it ! ( unless its my choice ) I want to know what happened to the one that just got beat ?……not a stipes report, maybe a jockey remark ?. Maybe post on FB ( or whatever ) a run down of the day from each stable ? The Kenilworth interviews are a great help as the trainers are all very accommodating and the bigger stables up north and east seem to come to the party. With today’s technology you should have everything at hand and if you don’t then read the papers. Its in your interest. The barrier trials may seem not be “true” but you can see the horse on the track with all the trappings and that is a bonus as well, it means it s well….or not…..it all helps. More choice on exotic betting would be great as well…..its those damn hot favs. “Straight from the horses mouth” is what we all want and I think the improvement of trainer punter interaction is shown by the enthusiasm shared in the interviews and information disseminated…….

  7. Don says:

    what % of punters propping up racing has access to FB and Twitter.

  8. Wayne Fouche says:

    Thankfully I have avoided Facebook and Twitter like the plague. I would have been locked up long ago if I hadn’t.

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