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Kenilworth Racing Opens Doors To Punters

Welcome move by racing operator to talk to punters

An informal but very constructive and lively meeting hosted by new Kenilworth Racing Co-Chairman Robert Bloomberg and WPRRA Chairman Jono Snaith with a small group of longstanding Cape punters was held in the Kenilworth Racing Private Suite after Saturday’s meeting.

KR Chairman Robert Bloomberg – determined to get the racing revival wheels in motion

Kenilworth Racing’s Chief Operating Officer Faeeza Heuwel also attended, as did a representative of the Sporting Post.

The meeting arose out of a commitment issued in December from both the KR Board and the WPRRA board to open lines of communication with the media and the public.

A letter written by Michael Jacobs and published in the Argus and the Sporting Post after the Sun Met last month caught the attention of Messrs Bloomberg and Snaith and also initiated a groundswell of support amongst our readers.

Read it here

‘The Met has lost quite a lot of its fun and energy since it changed to the SunMet, but truth be told it has been on a downward spiral for a good few years. The event has become over commercialised and exclusive, and the huge crowds of yesteryear are staying away,’ wrote Mr Jacobs, a man who started out life as a barman at Kenilworth and Milnerton,  and who today works for one of South Africa’s largest retailers. He attends every racemeeting, work permitting.

He said that the owner and punter are the two most important stakeholders in racing. “Without owners there is no horse-racing, without punters there is no betting and punting which funds the industry. Trainers, jockeys, grooms, racing operator staff (and management) are merely workers in the industry, dependant on us and owners to provide their livelihoods!”

As regards the major days, Jacobs said that in his opinion the SunMet and Queen’s Plate have become elitist, exclusionary and exclusive and said it appears as if there is an attempt to sideline the ordinary punter/racegoer. This thought has been echoed by many.

Seasoned racegoer and former politician Danny de La Cruz also attended Saturday’s meeting with his wife. He was very vocal about the cost of the dining facilities on Queen’s Plate day and the fact that he had to go through numerous checks at a venue he has been attending for the past sixty years.

“Nobody from Kenilworth Racing was there to welcome me. The food was sub standard. The way I feel now, I won’t come again. And I should point out that the Betting World Tote on the racetrack no longer has a liquor licence. We punters love to have a drink you know. But now they are offering me toffee apples and bananas,”he laughed.

Neil van Vuuren was another lifetime punter who attended racing as often as he could. He pointed out the sub standard facilities from dirty chairs to poor service in the bar and at the tote counters, outdated tote machines and litter lying around from previous meetings.

He, however, liked the crowd boosting idea mooted by Jono Snaith that tickets could , for example,  be donated to the Universities, which could be sold at a discount to students and the proceeds used for fundraising by the various institutions.

“People are attracted to ‘noise’ and crowds. You will find empty venues have no allure for the prospective visitor,” said the former restauranteur.

Jono Snaith undertook to take the basic grounds cleanliness issues up with Track Manager Dean Diedericks.

Jono Snaith – new energy and determined to get racing working again

Both Messrs Bloomberg and Snaith said that they noted the concerns and agreed with many of the points raised.

They felt that Kenilworth Racing could, however, not be held responsible for the unpopular pricing, food and service issues on Met day as this was out of their hands on the day, having been outsourced through contractual agreements.

Kenilworth racing logo“I will most certainly bring these issues to the attention of Phumelela Management and from my side be assured that I will endeavour to ensure that insofar as is possible – bearing in mind that as pointed out both Jono and I are non-executive directors who play no part in the day-to-day running of the Company – that these issues, much of which we are in agreement with, will be addressed,” assured Bloomberg.

The new Co-Chairman undertook to revert to the group in due course.

“But please bear in mind that you have raised numerous issues and that the response won’t be immediate.”

So definitely a small step in the right direction!

Have Your Say

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The Sporting Post encourages allcomers to feel free to have their say in the spirit of enlightening the topic, the participants and the originator of the thread. However, if it is deemed to be either offensive, insulting, personal, false or possibly unsubstantiated, the Sporting Post shall, on it's own assessment, alter or remove comments.

13 comments on “Kenilworth Racing Opens Doors To Punters

  1. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Good at least they are speaking but I cannot accept that Kenilworth Racing would have given up a revenue source for their biggest days. Whilst the hospitality was outsourced there is no way I will believe that Kenilworth racing received no benefit or fee for that privilege.

    In the highly unlikely event that it did give away the family silver it was a poor strategy as they are taking flak from their customers who don’t really care that it was outsourced.

  2. Warren Grobler says:

    Any chance Kenilworth Racing could organize a palatable plate of food in the Pocket Power Room on a normal days racing?I took 9 non-racing people there in August 2018,and the food was absolutely disgusting.I’ve never had a worse plate of food anywhere in my life!These people had done this with me two years previously too,but apparently the caterers have changed in the interim.The food was in fact so bad that we decided we’d be having brunch elsewhere before going racing if we did it again this August.

    How about sorting this out.

  3. Fred Blomkamp says:

    The camera work is no good as well, for us who live in the Transvaal The camera men should be taught how to show the horses better it seems they only film what they like I live in JHB and have horses running in CT but cannot see them because they show the races overseas then the Cape Racing get the short stick. There are punters in TVL and we need to see the horses not the sky or the jockeys

  4. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Dammit….that must have been fun….bloody tummy bug……next time……Great idea Jono !!! I got loads more…!

  5. Hogan Govindsamy says:

    Fred ,its called Gauteng boet ,but I do agree with you about the camera work – on too many occasions the cameras are focused on unhelpful things like horses walking down the back stretch and their backsides around the 400m instead the canter down and the parade ring interactions.

  6. Shaik says:

    Every comment I posted was never seen n discarded

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Shaik

      Plse send an email to [email protected] and substantiate the serious allegations made in your comment that was just trashed.

      Our policy encourages allcomers to feel free to have their say in the spirit of enlightening the topic, the participants and the originator of the thread. However, if it is deemed to be either offensive, insulting, personal, false or possibly unsubstantiated, we shall, on our own assessment, edit or bin the comment.

      In other words, be a bit more considered please.

      Regards

  7. The Dark Duke says:

    I wonder how full that KR box was during the day? A proper gesture would have been to invite the said small group to race from that box and discuss issues during the days racing. Actions speak a lot louder than words. You are being paid lip service gentlemen.

  8. Michael Jacobs says:

    Duke, probably, but it was a start. I suggested to Messrs Bloomberg and Snaith that they convene a punters forum so that more punters can share their views, I’m hoping they follow through on this

  9. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    Surely that’s the way to go Mr. Jacobs. If the Establishment really wants to know why previous Six Rand punters or the heavy-hitter couldn’t be bothered to “rock-up”anymore, your suggestion would certainly get everybody, including sponsors, to go the extra mile.

    Yes, and before any wise guys blow out the embers, there isn’t a 100 % fix up/solution.

    Good on You, Mr Jacobs

  10. Henry Alberts says:

    Please ask KR if it is not possible for Betting World to open a tote in Hermanus as we all have to travel about 60km to have a good days punting

    1. Editor says:

      Have asked Henry

    2. Editor says:

      BW COO Dean Finder kindly responded:

      Based on our feasibility studies previously done and due to the overall below average performance of BW in the WC vs national performance, which we believe is purely economic and not internal factors, we are not keen to expand our retail footprint in the WC in the current climate and certainly not in a small region like Hermanus. The customer does have the option of opening an online account or alternatively using our call centre to place both fixed odds and tote bets, via the Saftote pools and not an open bet! He can call 087 741 2700 and one of our skilled support agents will assist with the account activation.

      Regards
      Dean

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