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5000 Expected At Kenilworth Today

Seafood Village and great racing

Kenilworth Racing is anticipating a crowd of over 5000 people at Kenilworth for the Prawn Festival

Saturday will be the seventh consecutive time that Kenilworth hosts the Cape Town Prawn Festival and events officer Clinton Theys, who has been working at the course for the past ten years, is aiming for a record crowd.

The first race is off at 12h45 and there are four features on the day, headlined by the Gr2 Diadem Stakes. The gates open at 11h00. Entrance is free.

Grilled Prawns with Lemon Butter and Savory Bread

“The idea is to keep people entertained while they are here and I always believe that their day starts in the parking lot,” he told Michael Clower as he outlined his marketing strategy with all the fervour of kid entering a sweet shop. “Coming in from the Wetton Road side, you walk through the market and, as you do so, you are already getting some sort of vibe of the excitement.”

This is the Barn Market which Theys used to boost the crowds during the Durbanville season and add atmosphere to Guineas day. “You move from there into the eventing area, you purchase your prawns – this year there is also a variety of other sea food, get your kids sorted out in the entertainment area and then you’ve got seating, shading and everything you need plus R70 000 worth of prizes.

“These giveaways are household appliances which seem to be the favourite for draws other than a car. But when you have a car you only have one winner and we are trying to spread the love. At the end of the day all the tickets go back into the drum – just one entry per person – and the winning ticket gets one prize of R20 000 worth of appliances.”

Not a word about the racing you will note. The critics regularly seize on this point and every year the crowd – usually second only to Met day – is tinged by negative comments about the event doing nothing to attract people to racing and little to boost racecourse revenue.

Theys is used to it and he strongly disagrees. “Before the Prawn Festival started there were no people at this meeting. Last year we had over 4 000 through the gates and at any given time there were plus or minus 2 000 of them here. On Saturday, despite the difficult economic times, we are hoping to have between 4 500 and 5 000.

“We particularly want to encourage people who have never been to a racemeeting before. I know admission is free but people add value and atmosphere, and they have a positive effect on turnover.  We are giving them a taste of what racing is all about as well as letting them know that it is open to everybody – not just for the elite as some critics were saying last month – and that it is about celebrating the equine factor which, for me, is the key element. It’s not just the racing, there is something about the horses that attracts you.

“Kids get excited by them and that in turn excites the parents. You will hear a father say ‘My son loves that horse, let’s put ten bucks on it.’ These small bets are racing’s bread and butter. So why charge the people to come in? We want them here, we want to introduce them to horseracing and show them a different world – and that’s what racing is, an entertainment but an entertainment with a difference.”

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2 comments on “5000 Expected At Kenilworth Today

  1. James George says:

    Like to challenge Mr. Clinton Theys on his statement
    We are giving them a taste of what racing is all about as well as letting them know that it is open to everybody – not just for the elite as some critics were saying last month –”
    Ok lets see what was happening last month at Kenilworth.
    The L Ormarins Queen’s Plate.Dress Code to get entrance to course
    Ladies are required to dress smartly and encouraged to wear a hat or fascinator.. No jeans, shorts or fancy dress is permitted.
    Gentlemen are required to wear jackets and ties, cravats or a smart, open neck shirt and trousers. Linen suits and a waistcoat with the archetypal panama can also be worn. No jeans, shorts, sleeveless shirts, open shoes or fancy dress is permitted.
    And here comes the kicker.
    Both Ladies and Gentlemen are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion adhering to the dress code of blue and white. Outfits should be elegant.
    The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival reserves the right to bar access to guests who are not dressed in appropriate racing attire and within the blue and white dress code.
    But Mr. Theys is saying racing at all times is open to everybody and it is not them who are saying last month’s racing was just for the elite it was the critics
    What about the Sun Met,Ticket prices.
    General access R150pp Trackside Deck R2995pp Winning Post Pavilion R4495pp
    What are they crying about,let them eat prawns.

  2. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Fantastic day but race 5 was a total embarrassment….how not to show case racing. I could have walked around quicker, this cape crawl is turning into a joke and no one sees it. This is not how racing should be. Do you see F1 cars drive in first gear until the last lap ? or tennis players tap gently until the last set……or……..its not how racing should be, no wonder there are no distance races because there is no test of stamina, just a quick sprint over the last 100……a joke. This is not a tactic, it shows no skill whatsoever…….

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