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This Marketing Medium Needs A Refresh

If fancied horses run badly punters want to know why

Stewart Ramsay was a horseracing presenter and producer for Mnet – SABC and the on-course TV shows, prior to the advent of Tellytrack, for many years.

He writes in reference to a discussion on the Sporting Post website pertaining to Tellytrack and ex-presenter Tellytrack Shaheen Shaw, and suggests that being a critic is the easiest job in the word.

What is more difficulty is being a provider of solutions to problems that may have given rise to the criticism.

That Tellytrack could be improved is beyond dispute

In formulating a sports TV programme with regard to presenters there is a basic formula.

Firstly, you need an anchor man, and then a panel which comprises people that are experts in the various aspects of such sport.

It appears that those responsible for the screening of Tellytrack have not taken into account these basic factors.

You utilise a person as the lead (anchor) presenter, because they are a brilliant on-camera presenter.

You utilise a person as a tipster, because they are a brilliant tipster.

You utilise a person to discuss how horses look in the parade ring and going down to the post, because they are equine experts.

So if you want to better Tellytrack and its presentation, we must ask ourselves – do any of the presenters at presently being utilise meet the above requirements?

If they do then that is how you frame your programme – top anchor presenter – top tipster – top horse expert. That’s three people –not a mini army!

If the presenters do not meet the above requirements, then don’t use them.

There are other elements of Tellytrack that provide grounds for criticism.

Nearly every presenter that you see on Tellytrack, whether standing or sitting, is reading out of a form book.

Some show the top of their head to the camera, while leaning over to read out of the form book.

A presenter should have in-depth knowledge of their subject, and should be an expert who talks with authority to the camera and does not have to check their facts out of a book every minute

To assist presenters, Tellytrack should be utilising auto-cue technology.

Another point of discussion is the composition of the coverage.

Presenters are discussing their selection for races right up until the horses go into the stalls.It is a complete waste of time.

The highest volume of betting takes place in the five minutes preceeding a race.

Because of that fact, five minutes before a race no one is watching TV to decide on their bets – they are standing in line to take their bets!

The after-race coverage also provides grounds for criticism.

Interviewing the winners is fine.

But Tellytrack is a news medium. If fancied horses run badly punters want to know why.

So presenters should also be interviewing trainers and jockeys of fancied horses that run badly.

Tellytrack is a major part of one of the major mistakes that horseracing makes in its attempt to market the industry.

All horseracing’s marketing is aimed inwards at the converted – instead of outwards at the masses.

Tellytrack should not be a private show for those already converted and participating.

As it is presented at present, the verbal content is often patronizing and creates the perception that racing is a private sport for a chosen few from an inner circle.

We are in a lockdown. People throughout the country are sitting at home watching television – a massive captive audience – and a major opportunity to market horseracing.

So why has Tellytrack not been screening daily educational shows on the value of participating in horseracing?


Why no programmes on how to bet? Why no programmes highlighting the fun of a day out at the races? Why no programmes on the value of horseracing to the South African economy? Why no programmes on the fun of owing a racehorse?

The answer – because racing markets inwards and not outwards.

Tellytrack is the window through which people look into racing.horses What is needed is a programme package that make people that look in the window want to walk through the front door.

  • Pics are for illustration only – courtesy of Candiese Lenferna, Chase Liebenberg & JC Photos

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33 comments on “This Marketing Medium Needs A Refresh

  1. Shane Mundell says:

    What a great idea. Virtual tours of studs, stallions, top mares etc. Conformation as well as the above. Could be very interesting indeed.

  2. Steve leahy says:

    This would definitely be a great start for ‘reviving’ the sport of horseracing in South Africa. A positive, motivational message, getting people ‘wanting’ to be part of this prestigious sport, should be the aim.
    We, that have been part of this Industry for a long time, all know that it is a fantastic sport. Lets not keep it a secret, let us share it with the others via Tellytrack,, “the world of winners’.

  3. Zietsman Oosthuizen says:

    100%!!!!Brilliant advice !!!! Hope whoever takes over at tellytrack put you in charge Mr Stewart Ramsay to implement this vision !!

  4. johnsweet says:

    Spot on in every aspect.

  5. Alex says:

    Broadcast Legends of the Turf and all the many movies based on Horse Racing. The passion for racing needs to be reinvigorated.

  6. Gman says:

    This article covers what has been said and suggested by most of US racing public for months now even before covid19.So congrats to all who made suggestions to improve the racing content on tellytrack.Lets hope they listened to ALL who made noteworthy suggestions.

  7. Tony says:

    Great article, something of value in each paragraph! Again we are reminded that we keep on forgetting to ask what are we doing, why are we doing it, and who are we doing it for.

    I’m sure there are going to be lots of suggestions on how to clean house. Top of my wish list would be for Tellytrack interviewees NOT to give Oscar aceptance speeches arter each and every race. After all these years, I’m sure the punters must know how thankful everyone is, and no longer care.

    Even some presenters seem to almost grovel as if it’s about them, it gets achingly boring. Until that changes, 3 out of 4 comments will beg for Shaheen the rebel.

    (And please, can someone turn up the resolution? I canna see!)

  8. Tracey Sleep says:

    If there is an owner who wants to give me a horse instead of euthanasing it please do

  9. Leon Smuts says:

    Everything said by Mr Ramsay is spot on but in defense of those that have been in the hot seats until recently at Tellytrack the problem is not so much competence as a restrictive mandate that promoted gambling rather than local racing in all its beauty. Given what I hope will be a very different mandate in future I have no doubt that the content will get a very big make over in favor of a more purist presentation of racing. Information and visual aids on what our athletes look like as well as post race breakdowns will become the order of the day and down time should feature racing master classes on betting products, form studying, ownership and getting started in racing.
    Tellytrack will become a better product for the promotion of racing under a new structure dedicated to the well being and growth of racing.

  10. IAN says:

    Steve, there’s no point on “spreading the word” via ch 239. The people we want to share the message with do not watch ch 239 – this needs to be done elsewhere. Maybe ch 200 for those with DSTV and on SABC for those without.

  11. Boete says:

    All this is fine but only kzn racing has terrible picture quality like Mauritius I brought this with a gentleman by the name Mr Lloyd about this

  12. Noel says:

    A wonderfull article, spot on Sir. We have sat by for to long watching a babbling bunch of nonsense talking presenters on tellytrack for to long. They are clueless as far as presenting is concerned and as for the there tipping skills, well that’s just even worse. That applies to both tv and on course. Follow international standards and the sport will move in the right direction. We need people that meet international standards criteria with regards to presenting and tipping. The time of handouts and nepatism should be history.

  13. Noel says:

    Fantastic article Sir. We have sat by for to long watching and listening to a bunch of babbling idiots. There lack of knowledge and presenting skills leaves you wondering how they were actually employed. It is time to throw out the personal favours and nepatism and start employing individuals based on international horse racing standards. That’s is the only way forward

  14. Gary Turf says:

    A brilliant Article…..In fact the best in the last 6 weeks.
    I’d be happy to get properly involved with the total re invention of Tellytrack.

  15. Mac Naidoo says:

    A nice article. My 2 cents. This happens on Saturday morning trainers are interviewed about their horses. Why can’t this be done prior to the running of a race. It will help in our selections

  16. PL.NEL says:

    Have to agree with you as well Leon,, local is lekka and is the foundation of this business,, as a owner and breeder with horses at various centers and always trying to promote racing, I have been quite often embarrassed at the footage presented. The pre-race and post race coverage offering little or no footage for the owners. This after all is our key moment to enjoy our hard spent money, not just a money making piece of flesh. Disgraceful.

  17. Nicolin says:

    This is so well said

    Everyone wants Shaheen Shaw back because his honest and tells it like it is

    If you looking for someone like that, go meet a few friends in the pub who can agree with you

  18. Hilton witz says:

    Has John evans who represents business rescue okayed gold.circle taking over phumelela share of tellytrack and secondly where does this leave the recently appointed ceo of telllytrack dean?

  19. Malik.zn says:

    Well constructed article. Everything needs a change. Again it comes from people with knowledge and there seems to be a lack of this in the operators

  20. Livingstone says:

    The betting odds I find very helpful and should be retained although it would help to adhere to the advertised screening schedule. And please bring frames forward or enlarge font so some of can see.
    Otherwise the changes outlined in the article will be welcomed!

  21. Ramesh says:

    The best article I have have read so far, Telly track needs to engage with you to bring young blood into this sport. I a have no doubt that your input will greatly improve turnover and public going to the racecourse. You are spot on about presenters, hope they are reading your article and taking notes. Thank you

  22. jc lee ching says:

    Great article by some one who knows what he is talking about and CARES . I think Tellytrack should invite suggestions from anyone who wants help improve the service, who knows there may just be very constructive ideas incubating among the fans, why not make use of them.

  23. Hilton witz says:

    Tellytrack will only get worse than it is now..As long as it hasnt got any competiton it will.remain a haven for nepotism and jobs for pals…Stock up on batteries for your remote control mute button

  24. Eric Red says:

    You battle to tell at Fairview who has won in a close finish,the camera angles are shocking there,definitely needs urgent attention.


    And what about the thankless gesture made by a certain Tracey Sleep…wow, now that’s real !

  26. Sagie Pillay says:

    Well said.. Bring back the experts… Not duds. Even I can read from a race card an be paid but I’m not an expert

  27. Willie says:

    When they changed the electronic betting information display at turffontein the betting information showed only the first twelve horse odds and then changed to the rest of the field and back to the first twelve runners. It is very frustating to write down as the betting changed all the time. A very bad designed information display screen. I hope they will fix the screen system in future. Thanks for the article Sir everything so true.

  28. beegee says:

    With all that mr Ramsay has mentioned i would like to just give my 2c worth – things he mentions i agree with, but if we look at Teletrack as whole you should think as to why things are done the way they are – a lot of people complain and though some have a valid point, teletrack are trying to balance and make everything happen and lets be honest you will never be able to please EVERYONE ALL of the time – it is a very thin line they have to tread on (how is the saying damned if you do, damned if you dont)

    Local racing should always take priority – presenters are not Einsteins, so i dont agree with the fact that he sais presenters should not look at the computaform and they should be “experts” (id would like to see ANY punter, or critic, or horse racing expert, or professional tipster, or bookmaker IN THE WORLD who would know the formline on any 1 horse – let alone a whole field – and then using an autoque (but sir i thought you said you wanted experts, now you want them to read off of a script, is that not contradicting your “expert” analist because now you would feed the public something that someone else has written) You will never be able to give an opinion if not looking at the book. Yes i agree that its not nice to look at a screen and seeing Lyalls bald spot.

    Then there are the costs involved. You can run such a production, but then you need DEEP pockets also – how much will it cost to run 3 rotating shift of “professionals’ like mentioned. Presenters have pretty big salaries and then there are the producers, directors, graphics, data capturors, sound, cameras and cameramen making the program happen at the back end before being presented to the public.

    To do this you will also need to just be presenting “local” racing, what happens to all the “other racing” inbetween,(Auzie, England, France etc…..). races now adays are like 5 or less minutes apart, there is simply not time to do what he suggest. Teletrack have an obligation to punters to show as much racing as what Phumelela are scheduling. Punters, in this intance will never be pleased – some want more local, some want more english and some more of everything else, Who do you please?

    Then on top of all that, they need to keep happy the sponsors with all of the adds (over and over and over) that need to be played out otherwise they wont get paid. Teletrack need to play those because they need to generate another form of income. (Local racing will never make enough money to be standalone) Yet again you “p” off the punter because he doesnt want to see that ad – he only wants the horses.

    If Teletrack had the deep pockets that we are talking about, it could be a reality but they obviously do not. And dont even get me started the fact that bookies will want to show that same production, how much will the bookies pay for that sort of production ? Will they help to pay the “professionals’ ? We all know the answer ……. France can do that because they only show France racing, Auzzie literally show their presenters for 10 seconds, when last have you seen a production like you want from England ? Usa can also do it because they concentrate on 1 meeting. Point is – you cant have a full on production like he mentions, because there is so much other races being shown – it is not possible or feasible on just one tv channel, more is needed.

    I would also like to know sir how (after the race) you will get MdK or ST or JS or any trainer for that matter to say why their 1/3 shot ran midfield ….. Reality check here but ALL trainers will tell u straight where to go and how deep to stick that mike into – how will you get them to talk to you ? So that mention is also a pipedream.

    Yes i agree that there are a lot of fronts that can improve – Lyall is one of the best form studiers and a pationate punter, Julie grew up with a racing pacifier in her mouth, Nadine an ex jockey, Stan as knowledgeable as Moses, Cecil’s database of horses are phenominal, the list goes on.
    When you started out mr Ramsay where you as good as you are today, Brandon is young and loves a sport in which few people even take notice of, he clearly has a lot to learn but dont we need young blood.

    Yes mr Shaw is missed – he was a passionate commentator, punter, analist and entertainer, Did he not also “read out of a computaform” would he have been scripted ?

    I also would like to see programes on how to punt or what to look for in a horse or what does Tarry see when his horse goes down to the start, “educational” shows as you call it. You worked in the field on many fronts – how much does all of this cost ? How expensive is it to make the pictures happen ? What is 10 minutes worth of content charged at ? You know they dont come cheap ……..

    The article is something everyone relates to but no one has an idea of the costs involved, if teletrack had UNLIMITED cash flow, VERY DEEP pockets and multiple tv channels i think it would have been done. Phumelela and Teletrack obviously dont have that. All this revolves around lots and lots and in case i didn’t say it, LOTS of money.

  29. Calvin Naidoo says:

    A very positive article, only if the vision shared becomes a reality. We also need more airtime for people like Michele Wing and Andrew Bon, who provide up to date, interesting and invaluable snippets of racing information. I’ve watched many of their interviews, and every one had a ton of gold that could be extracted from it. More importantly it’s not dull and boring. A very big THANK YOU to both of them.

    Only time will tell.

  30. Selwyn Elk says:

    Talking of incompetence,what about one of teletracks “star presenters” (they will know who they are) tipping a horse on the way he moved to the start but that was scratched the day before- bull s—-, baffles brains, the most unprofessional racing programme anywhere in the world.Teletracks only saving grace is they have no opposition, like Hilton Witz, the only button I use when tuning into 239 is the MUTE button.

  31. Selwyn Elk says:

    Having been a tote agent for 30 years I can talk on behalf of many punters out there. One of the biggest problems with Teletrack is that the powers that be,seem to have no idea of the psyche of a gambler. Space omits me to detail mistakes that occur on a regular basis but one thing that punters don’t appreciate is incompetencey, something channel 239 is certainly not short of.A complete new module is well overdue!!!

  32. Wayne Fouche says:

    Calvin Naidoo you must be smoking something you picked on the way to your email screen.

  33. Alan says:

    Brilliant article. Tellytrack need tipsters that can provide “value” instead of tipsters who just tip the top 3 in the betting in each race. Most of them don’t even study the card.

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