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Drop The Agendas – Bring Shaheen Back

What's the point of doing things the way we did?

We are going on for almost four years now since South African racing bid farewell to maverick Tellytrack presenter Shaheen Shaw.

Shaheen Shaw – local legend for ever

He is the man who told anybody that would listen that he never believed that the heavens and earth are owned by Phumelela and Tellytrack. How right he was.

It’s natural in these quiet and testing times of lockdown reflection that we speculate on the ‘new’ horseracing village that will emerge post COVID-19, and how it will do things so differently.

Let’s face it, there won’t be a choice.

Tellytrack is the shop window of the game. It’s in our faces everyday. So was Shaheen Shaw.

The consummate punter’s friend, he singlehandedly cajoled and extorted bets from us on ‘such dastardly venues as Penrith’ – that’s in his own words – on what seemed like 24 hour shifts long after the weather report on the recorded 10 o’clock news bulletin on ETV.

How we need him right now!

The reality is that our favourite channel’s personality has gone.

They have wasted money, but blamed budgets and messed with the hormonal ethos of it all.

We want personalities we can relate to – together with good luck and hard luck stories, and frustrating 20-1 shots back on the screen. Throw in Andrew Fortune, too.

We say, Tellytrack needs a revamp. It needs to be burnt to the ground and rebuilt. We need to feel the connection again.

There are many good people in the system – Stan Elley’s vast equine experience; Nadine Rapson’s enthusiastic and intimate love of PE racing; Deez Dyanand’s motor mouth wagering exuberance and connection with his community; Warren Lenferna’s ‘sick for the game’ schoolboy passion and dedication to the cause; Dave Mollett’s confident call to risk the bus-fare and lose your favourite shirt on the last.

Deez Dayanand – sick for it

Tastes differ. Love them or hate them, they all bring something unique to the table.

The thing is that racing – maybe it’s life in general –  often doesn’t treat the right people properly.

There are too many square pegs in round holes – there by chance or convenience or connection value – not by talent or contribution weight.

The late UK racing legend John McCririck entertained and made his viewers cringe.

Some loved to hate him. As punters, that’s how we work. We are naturally opinionated beasts. They said he was not so much politically incorrect as politically beyond help.

Yet he was bulleted after 29 years at the age of 74 – ‘without a single word’.

John M

Viewing figures dropped.

“I’m not gloating about them,” he once explained to Racing Post, “because I know how bad it is for racing, and we must never underestimate the seriousness of this. I can’t even say things would be better if all the old team came back, and whatever I say, it’ll either be sour grapes or I’m trying to crawl back in, so I say nothing. But the theory was that I was so unpopular that I was bringing the ratings down, and look what’s happened to them now – the viewers are doing the talking.”

John McCririck lost a subsequent age discrimination case – the outcome devastated him more than racing abandoning him.

“The anonymous suits and skirts who control companies will be freer now than ever before to make any excuse up to get rid of anybody that’s older and that is my biggest regret.”

But we digress.

Shaheen Shaw told the Sporting Post a few years ago:

“Read the views and concerns of punters on the Sporting Post and ABC. They are not just moaning for the sake of it – the emperor has no clothes for goodness sake. The game is dying in front of our eyes. How do we just lose sponsors, for example? Who is answerable for  features running without sponsors – and the damage to the bottom line? They just smile and carry on – but always neurotic about the media that they can’t control and hardly feeling anything for stakeholders – particularly the punters. I read on Facebook that Kenilworth was deserted on Saturday. Is it not the big season? But they pretend all is fine.”

On a solution to righting the ship he said then  – “I don’t envy whoever is set the task, and I haven’t a clue. But the old thinking of – ‘I know, let’s get an organ grinder and his monkey!’ just ain’t working!”

If Shaheen be willing, maybe it’s time they put the man in charge of Tellytrack and changed attitudes.

A time to forgive and forget and move on – for racing.

Because doing what we did pre COVID-19 is definitely not going to work.

Let’s wait and see. But either way – let’s hit ’em hard, sunshines!

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68 comments on “Drop The Agendas – Bring Shaheen Back

  1. Marlon Sing says:

    100% Agreed I think tellytrack needs him to put some vibe back into the game,the chief(Gangster Man)not mentioning names you figure,is not there anymore so they should consider bringing him back while we on the topic of presenters can someone please tell us the racing public what happen to Altson naidoo…..No word from anyone he haut disappeared from tellytrack.

    1. Editor says:

      No idea re Altson Naidoo
      He has been MIA for some months

  2. Roderick says:

    Shaheen topman for the job a real peoples person really goes the extra mile for public.

  3. Michael Jacobs says:

    They need Shaheen, bottom line.

    In fact none of the presenters mentioned above can hold a candle to Shaheen. They all suck up to the establishment, with their sycophantic grovelling whether it be to the big owners, trainers or officials. Watch an interview when a big owner vs a small owner takes place, or a big trainer vs a small trainer, the sucking up is nauseating. Particularly Deez, Stan, Nadine, Andrew Bon, Lenferna, Nico, Alistair Cohen, Cecil, Neil ,Molly and particularly Lyle. It’s called singing for your supper! All that is needed is courtesy and respect, congratulations and fair comment.

    Shaheen can teach these guys a thing or 2 about balanced presentation!

  4. Deva Govender says:

    Loved watching tellytrack when Shaheen presented…Always fun and he made it interesting with his quick wit and funny albeit logical comments.Would love to see him back in the studio again.

  5. Ashoka says:

    Shaheen boosted the pools on all over seas racing. He made people listen and gave regular updates on pools. He used to double the pools with his insight. That was GUST AND LOVE FOR THE GAME. Come the party Telly track .

  6. Sagie Pillay says:

    Der won’t be a better presenter than Shaheen. Bring him back….

  7. bob kistnasamy says:

    Well said Michael, I am in agreement with you especially Deez, Stan, Andrew Bon, Cecil and Lanferna. I sometimes wander what is the role of Andrew Bon on Tellytrack.
    Shaheen was a marketing pundit for the Tellytrack and Betting World.
    With the Aussie racing in full swing, we could have seen bigger and better pools and greater punter involvement with Shaheen in sight.
    Let’s hope sanity prevails and consideration is given to bring the maestro back.
    He was truly a friend of the racing public and was never one to mince his words when information displayed (betting and payouts) was incorrect.
    My opinion, “get rid of Lanferna and Kevin Shea” and bring Anthony Delpech on board.

  8. paul alexander says:

    Shaheen was simply the best! Truly understood the psychology of the Punter! We want him back, now!

  9. I dont understand all the moaning and complaining . Everybody who has been punting knows .that you cannot get rich by gambling . It is a game where you mlght get some financial relief every now and then so enjoy the adrenaline rush as you try and beat the system year in and year out . My farther always used to tell me if you dont like someone dont hit him introduce him to horse racing that will destroy him for life . I am 68 years of age and still enjoy the game . Their are more important things to sort out at this moment so get busy horse racing will still be there for your grand children to enjoy one day. Paul

  10. Cecil Pienaar says:

    The Million dollar question is ” Would Shaheen come back if offered and in what role ”

    Cool guy, racing man

    Hoping he reads this, who knows, maybe he answers 👍

    Happy Easter Sunday all

  11. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…What about our Mate Smiley Moosa ? a character of note it was fun to have him around a man that also died for the game…there’s just no more buss around the excitement of attending a race meeting was priceless

    1. Editor says:

      Smiley was a legend – on the soccer field and behind the mic
      A proud Oupa these days

  12. Editor says:

    Frankie, it’s a lockdown Easter. You’re a bit harsh in a very subjective world.

    We all have preferences.

    It’s like saying Steve Hofmeyer doesn’t stand a chance with Neil Diamond, or making Charlize Theron and Sharon Stone comparisons.

  13. Reggie Naicker says:

    Yes agreed Shaaen is the best we want him back now. He is a breath of fresh air.

  14. Leon Smuts says:

    Nobody is bigger than the game or will ever be but Shaheen has a quality that is infectious and much needed to glamorise participation again. Racing needs characters not tipsters as tipsters only show what any skilled person knows, that its tough be right all the time and no one is. But characters turns the sport into something attractive and draws people into the game and this very few people are able to achieve. Shaheen can and has and more such characters are needed. Someone that the average Joe, which most of us are or can relate to, can look up to and bring honesty and true passion back for all those trying to get ahead through their involvement. Racing was built on characters, be they owners, trainers, jockeys or punters and this missing ingredient can go a long way to making the sport interesting and attractive to new participants again. Racing has a golden opportunity to start afresh and rebuild its lost sparkle and we could do a lot worse than bringing Shaheen back.

  15. Freddy says:

    Would really be nice to see Shaheen Shaw back on the telly, may be I can consider taking a bet again as I have already retired

    1. Editor says:

      There have been some great comebacks, Freddy
      Tiger Woods was one

  16. mahomed manjoo says:

    100% what about Smiley Moosa? If we want to forgive n forget, let it not be selective.
    If so, then we no better than the politicians with selective memory loss!

  17. Mark says:

    Please get Shaheen back on our screens fast. In the words of Tina Turner “his simply the best ” of our time

  18. Pottie says:

    Guys , one man cannot save a sinking ship ., let’s be honest we will never have the perfect recipe ., Shaheen is indeed a racing man who happens to be very entertaining ., he would perhaps steady the ship at best , I for one feel the problem is not necessary the presenters but the establishment.,take what’s been on our tv screens through lockdown ., some very tacky computer generated roulette spinning wheel “WTF”, rather watch paint dry ., infact for someone who typically watches 239 12 hours a day on weekends I can’t wait to turn it off ., why not show all the big grade 1 races over the last 50 years ., all the July’s , Mets , match races etc .,they are showing all the previous masters on 205 .,great viewing ., plse can someone at Telly track use there initiative just for once b4 it’s too late and the ship sinks .,🙏🏻

  19. Pottie says:

    I for one am about to jump over board .!

  20. Ronny says:

    Ed, Charlize vs Sharon? SHARON STONE all the way…Pulp Fiction vs Monster…Enough Said

    1. Editor says:

      Showing your age, Ronny 🙂

  21. Dave Other says:

    Absolutely – racing needs HIM now

  22. Rian says:

    From the Cape Hunt days Shaheen has been infectious and a blessing to everyone involved in the game and especially the Punters, we have really missed you
    It’s going to cost a bit Cecil to get him back but I’m not sure he would come back under Tellytrack, maybe on a new channel funded by ordinary folk for all of us
    As you can see by the response many want you back, but regards to you and Family

  23. Oscar says:

    Shaheen Shaw is a very good presenter.
    However my favourite will always be Andrew Bon a real gentleman of the game.
    He even interviewed great Personalities at Royal Ascot.

  24. Pops says:

    Leon Smuts,you are correct racing needs characters.Jockeys,trainers and even punters,
    Wednesday racing punters puts a packet on horse ridden by,say Tom after getting ínfo’
    After horse runs third,punter is very upset.
    “Geez,did you see that.Did you see how that flippin B pulled the horse.He is useless and a crook,I tell you.Useless.And he calls himself a jockey.Flip.
    Saturday meeting.All is forgiven.Punter puts a packet on horse ridden by Tom.Horse wins by lengths.
    ” You’re a beauty Tom.Great ride.What a jockey.You put your money down and stand in payout line with this jockey.No messing around with him.What a jockey”
    Until the next time.

  25. John Jarvis says:

    After not seeing Shaheen on Teletrack, I googled to see what happened to him. He just disappeared into thin air. Bring him back. That Warren Laferna guy is a complete flop.

  26. Nirvaan says:

    Please bring back Shaheen, theee best presenter tellytrack had….

  27. Shanil says:

    Telly Track. Why is Shaeen popular. He connects with the punter. I don’t care if a presenter labels a horse and it loses. We all do that. But provided the presenter is bold and fearless as Shaeen. The man spoke tirelessly throughout his shift. Working for the punter. He felt our pain when a long shot arrived and congratulated us when we are still standing in an exotic that’s paying well. There will always be those shrewdies. The presenter needs to be a punter to identify with punters and Shaheen was a class act.

  28. Ian says:

    Without any shadow of doubt the most charismatic , knowledgeable presenter Tellytrack has ever had.
    Would make a huge difference “to an otherwise bland serving” were he to return!
    Bring him back!!

  29. Livingstone says:

    Shaheen – is your mind made up? Everybody wants you back!

    1. Editor says:

      Good question, Livingstone

  30. Louis Goosen says:

    Shaheen is worth his weight in Gold. Proper passion for racing and a real Character ! It’s a no brainer to approach him and try to get him back.

  31. Marc Marescia says:

    Shaheen increased pools and made me want too punt anytime of the day. He always put the punters first caused we make the pools and the game, without us there is nothing. A sinking ship. Can Shaheen plse return racing authorities with the same character and drive. Plse plse plse.

  32. Nirshad Singh says:

    The personalities of SA racing are what would make Tellytrack great, Shaheen, Smiley’s commentating style and The Candyman’s insight as a jockey would be wonderful. I suppose Delpech could also be used in the Kzn meetings. To be quite honest, the monotinic ramblings of some of the current presenters leaves a lot to be desired. It must be remembered that horseracing is as much about entertainment as it is about winning ir losing.

  33. Rajief says:

    I miss that man.he was tops. BRING HIM BACK

  34. MR says:

    Shaheen Shaw… Racist enthusiast, so passionate about the game how he was lost to racing is a traversty but we know the powers that be dont always make decisions in the best interest of the game, and then they wonder why they find themselves at the crossroads.

  35. John says:

    Yes it needs a revamp, I like Zaki, Elley, Deez, Kevin and Sheldon, they prepared to put there money on horses at at any price, the others just babble on and on, mostly go for favorites,

    While I babbling, what’s with Clyde Basil, seems like he in charge of everything, comentating on all the big races in all the Centres, chairing the panels, even the big boss when the draws are done for the big races. Is he in charge of everything?
    Time for him to go

  36. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Shaheen, after you left it went from Tellytrack to TellyCrap….😂

    Good Night all

  37. Theuns says:

    Like the majority of punters and lovers of this great game I tend to side with the pro Shaheen Shaw brigade.
    It can only auger well for the industry with Shaheen “back in the saddle”, providing he is willing to take up the reins again

  38. Anver says:

    The R20. Punter need Shaheen back he was most of the time a great help .
    He was really a poor mans friend.
    Shaheen be ready for the call.
    We need you

  39. The only thing that i would like.to see and i dont care who interviews the jockys is that not only.the winning jocky but also jocky on the 18/10 favourite that runs unplaced should be intervied.

  40. Viv says:

    The powers that be in this vicious industry has been always getting rid of staff within it that knows what the punter wants and needs all the time for years now…..but time has showed them at the highest levels what a truly Hopeless bunch the majority if them have been / are being ……

  41. Brendon Francis says:

    How is it the racecourses overseas are always full and not ours. We need an overhaul of the administration top- down. Too much of self interest instead of the people that matter – the racing public.

  42. Jean says:

    Definitely Shaheen must come back, and would love to see the legendary Dave Mollett back in the studio as well.

  43. Peter John Woodley says:

    Never forget, that for punters, there’s a around a 67 percent, chance of a loss, rather than a 33 percent, chance – of a win.
    Having a Guy, Like S. S. – behind the microphone, on a raceday, made a situation, just that much more, acceptable. He definitely felt, more like, one of us “punters” – than anyone around, at present. To make money, takes money, wharever it costs, bring back, our “punting friend S. S.)

  44. Len Bloch says:

    Shaheen,an “old broom:” that will still sweep cleaner than any “new broom”.
    His candour,honesty,integrity,sense of humour and openess very much needed when our sport eventually restarts.
    I like a man that will call a spade a F’ing shovel when the need arises.

  45. Nash says:

    Couldn’t agree more with telly track being crap only interupt the morning racing with stuff not entertaining we don’t want to watch anything else besides horseracing the producers of telly track must amp up or ship out.

  46. Job Zitha says:

    We need to speak truth and shy away from speaking in tongues. One wonders who took the decision to sideline Shaheen and replace with Lyle no offense but truth be told no similarity. We the punters support the game give us what we want and see the industry booming,ignore us and die a silent death.

  47. Adams says:

    The problem here is that they keep the cards close to their chest. Misleading the punters on most occasions when it comes to racing . Shaheen was given a grace period in his time and played openly with the game. Do you really think they would risk the future of racing with Shaheen. Lets one think who is getting rich behind the scenes, you have been punting for years and the end result you still on the same spot but off course we love the game it’s our blood. Smiley Moosa was short lived and after him the cheek was given the other way. We tired of the same old same old nothing exciting about the game. If you know Shaheen he doesn’t hold back punches he lands them where it hurts the bookies. Give that man an arm chair with a computer form.

  48. Nish says:

    Hi Ed,
    Not sure if you can do a write up as to the mission statement of Tellytrack. What I would like to know is who owns tellytrack? How do they contribute to the stakes pot? Why do we have to subscribe to get racing information from Tellytrack? Their racing content is sub-standard to say the least! They choose to give more coverage to Sweden cart racing during the lockdown than proper galloping horse racing from the USA. My stress levels are reaching breaking point!

    I tried calling them to complain, but the phone just rings! I find Tellytrack presenters are less than competent when compared to their overseas counterparts. Not sure if any of the punters have listened to the American presenter at Gulfstream Park? He will put our bunch of arse creeper presenters to the sword!

    I must say I have been very disappointed with tellytrack recently and always wondered if Gold Circle couldn’t have their own racing channel only for racing, with preference for South African racing & then overseas racing.

    I would appreciate it Ed if you can assist us the punters and give us feedback on Tellytrack.


    1. Editor says:

      Will do some research, Nish

  49. Leon Smuts says:

    @Nish. Tellytrack is owned by Phumelela and as far as the mission statement is concerned go read what Phumelela’s mission is and then it becomes clear why most advertising on the channel is non horse racing in nature. The company purpose as stated is a further matter for debate as it is hard to see any evidence to this effect. Its sad that Phumelela has been effective in many things but that growing horse racing is not one of them.

  50. Satheesh says:

    Please remove or get rid of the bad apples messing up tree of growth . Let’s enjoy the good taste in admiration regarding the athletes.

  51. Kyle Roberts says:

    More likely to catch virus , than him returning

  52. Rian says:

    Tellycrap is just that , and has been for ages, just check the data on SP
    I agree with Nish, GC should go it alone, how much do they make from Phumelela re the racing rights on TV from Greyville and Scottsville Kenilworth should break away from Phumelela if they can and beam their racing overseas to that lucrative market

  53. Gavin says:

    Shaheen is helping feeding under previliged kids in cape Town.. He is a true gentlemen.. People should help him.. I think he is over racing..

  54. James Goodman says:

    Shaheen Shaw was one of the very best presenters. He had empathy with his audience,the punter.Why because he was one of them.He had a fabulous use of how he put things on air and the huge majority of punters loved him. This is echoed by the response to this thread.
    If i was in charge he would be one of my presenters,enough said.

  55. James Goodman says:

    Are you boycotting my comments?

    1. Editor says:

      James, your comment was cleared at 14h54
      Hit the refresh button!

  56. Dave Other says:

    Can’t help but laugh and mostly agree with Michael Jacobs’ assessment ! What I found rather amusing however was when Mr. Ferraris (senior) was interviewed. They were all so s*** scared to ask the wrong question or make the wrong statement that it left them quivering in their shoes 🙂
    So I would agree that Shaheen is the best …..I think Lyle has a good voice for telly and that Nico too speaks well.
    And back to Michael’s comment, I shan’t be surprised when some of the interviews are conducted on their knees due to the deference shown ! Perhaps such behaviour would be far more apt when interviewing Muzi 🙂

  57. Ralph Fell. says:

    For Nish’s edification Pete Aiello is the commentator at Gulfstream.His calling on a five maiden horse field will give me goosebumps. His story is worth researching. Gavin is correct, Shane and his good lady are doing sterling work in the Cape. My opinion of certain presenters is documented and yet the most stiflingly boring had to be Messrs ‘ Take it multiple times ‘ Andrews and McGregor as the soccer pundits. That insert was excruciating and the tipping would have sent punters back to work. The Tellytrack hierarchy never enquired from their captive audience what changes they might want. And the lift music played on……and on.

  58. Killer says:

    Last i saw Shaheen at the buzz, he had seen enough of the past few years worth of one sided family business rulings that has been the backbone of teletrack and still is, he was unhappy that there was family being muscled in all over teletrack, positions being “created”, (just have a look at some of the surnames, even spanning from as far from Turffontein) Then rob entered and it was/is his way or the highway, he wanted people muzzled and, bulldozed everything and everyone who wasnt dancing to his tune or sucking up to him like everyone use to do with jooste, powerhungry rob doesnt care who you are or how the public loves you, if he doesnt like you, you will be made to go m.i.a. Shaheen outright said he will never suck up to rob (and THAT is heavily frowned apon, so all that needs to be done in a corporate world is to make a persons job hell, and they will leave by themselves, management will innocently stand back, shrug the shoulders and say “but we had nothing to do with it”)

    As for Alston, i was at Turffontein, and he was bellowing out insults to jockeys (he must have done a bit of cash) after that incident, he probly got bulldozed is my reconning, the company has an image and he was one of the faces.

    I really dont think Shaheen will go back, lets face it he called a spade a spade, he let rip when a jockey rode like his arse and wasnt scared to to let the rest of our punters know where he had his last 20 on, he wore his heart on his sleeve, a person like him will never be muzzled.

  59. Roy Naidoo says:

    Michael Jacobs. Yes. Definitely Shaheen would be a breath of fresh air. Some of the current presenters have taken bootlicking to another level. Main culprits in my view are Andrew Bon, Nico Kritiziosis. How many times during an interview with a winning owner are viewers reminded of the great input these owners are making to racing. Another regrettable departure was that of the knowledgeable and charismatic Dave Mollett.

  60. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…We all knew long time ago that the crew sailing the ship were aiming straight for the rocks…Once the great punter tool Formgrids was deemed a swear word by the Phumelela to brass but yet recognised around the world as the real deal,,it was then clear to me that racing in itself was not their top priority,,then with the firing of racing loyal people i knew that personal power was running the show…very very very sad

  61. Gideon says:

    Goodnight nurse

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