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Who Will Lead A New United SA Racing?

Nominate your candidate to lead a United SA Racing

Historically, there have probably been too many cooks spoiling the broth.

South African horseracing faces a clear and present leadership crisis as we balance on a knife edge for the go ahead to race behind closed doors.

But once the racing starts, what then?

There is no time like right now for racing to join forces under one banner for once and for all, and to abandon the petty provincialism and move forward with one voice.

While there are  already a few good people in the system, and remembering it’s not meant to be a popularity or beauty contest, who would you choose to lead the new United SA Racing Front as a CEO?

The job is not going to come with a telephone number six digit salary package, business class air-travel or a multitude of perks. The salary package will be results based and communications skills are a non-negotiable.

Use our comment facility to nominate your candidate – with a one sentence motivation, if we don’t know them.

And please don’t insult any individuals – this is about a credible view on the future, and let your nominee and vote count.

Once we have a handful of nominees, we will set up a poll and then let’s find out who the people’s choice would be to lead this wonderful sport out of the wilderness.

Have Your Say

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112 comments on “Who Will Lead A New United SA Racing?

  1. Victor Ndwashu says:

    Charles Savage is the man grooms are behind him

  2. Hilton witz says:

    Owen heffer

  3. Jay August says:

    Please add “none of the above” to your poll.

    I’ve never understood the clamour for a benign dictator or the insistence that we have only one charismatic person who “shall lead us”.

    What is far more important is that there are clear checks and balances in the industry which neither allow predators or predation by individuals or groups of individuals.

    Beyond that it matters little who leads as long as they are on a tightly held rein where their actions, and the actions of those close to them, are under severe restraint and constant public scrutiny.

    1. Editor says:

      Will do so Jay
      Fair comment

  4. Leon Smuts says:

    Charles Savage ticks a lot of boxes for me as well.

  5. Tarquin Norval says:

    It has to be a horseman as well as a business man/woman. Zero knowledge of horses has been a stumbling black in the past. Neither of the above mentioned gents.

  6. Noel says:

    Charles Savage please

  7. Warren Grobler says:

    I agree with Hilton.

  8. Ian says:

    Graeme Hawkins could be a candidate – articulate, knowledgeable, experienced, passionate, innovative, a team player and a more than acceptable business acumen for this position.

  9. Malik.zn says:

    Vee Moodley, he has the people’s interest at heart, he can’t be blamed for things he had no control over, give him the reigns and you will see how good he is at bring the glory days to the punter.

  10. Pieta says:

    Owen Heffer….he understands the game….his leadership qualities there for all to see.

  11. Kevin G says:

    Brian Riley

  12. Johnny says:

    As you can see from the above it’s a power game. Horse racing was called the sport of Kings but during the lock down it was all about the welfare of the grooms and the horses just to get sympathy from government. Horse racing is gambling and we all lost money over the years. For now saving lives is more important. We have been conned for many years.

  13. Vincent Bell says:

    How about

    Joey Ramsden

    Always liked what he had to say and where he saw SA racing going. He was spot on with the collapse of the current business model.

    Just my opinion, don’t chop my head off????

  14. Wayne Fouche says:

    NEVER can you nominate Joey Ramsden.

  15. GkScott says:

    Graham Hawkins very knowledgeable chap and a gentleman by the name Patrick Bradley as understudy

  16. paul barrett says:

    Graham Hawkins ive been in racing for very long time and owned over a hundred horses He ticks all the boxes for me

  17. Tracy Low says:

    Isn’t time some women steered this ship ?

  18. Grant says:

    This game is all about connection calls

  19. Harold says:

    Anthony Delpech. A horseracing and horseman through and through. Doesn’t need the money and will certainly has a rapport with everyone in the industry

  20. Siva says:

    Agreed Graham Hawkins.All rounder
    Very very experienced
    Right man to steer the ship out of these times

  21. John G says:

    Chris van Neikerk business man owner high integrate respected and wealthy

  22. Phil says:

    Jono Snaith. He`s young as well as experienced in racing. Also very knowledgeable and passionate. I believe Jono`s marketing flair is what racing needs.

  23. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Dr Nkosozana Zuma. She has power, can overrule a President, is connected , ticks all the BEE boxes and if she can get the Shebeen Queens to market Horseracing like Black Label Quarts we will have 300k maiden races in no time.

  24. Boete says:

    Vee moodley and Anthony delpech as his understudy two true racing men

  25. PC says:

    None of the above. All of the above have been in the game on some or the other. Need fresh thinking fresh vibes. There is massive competition for the same customer. In the days when some of these nominations were in racing you had drive 200 kms to get to the nearest casino now you have one in 20 km radius. Needs a strong business person, with good goveranance and strong personality to stand up to some of bullies in the industry. Cannot see any one in the current environment that fits the role. Here a start split your tellytrack channel into local racing and international. Boost in the interest in local racing.

  26. Barry says:

    Jonathan Snaith

  27. Michael Jacobs says:

    There are many recently retired banking CEOs who could do this job. Somebody who understands customer service, finance, technology and business.

    He/she then needs an executive team to focus on Customers (owners and punters), Horses, Finance and other core business. Get the leadership right and then horse racing can thrive again.

  28. Steve Reid says:

    Markus Jooste, why go for underlings like Oom Kriss when you can have the real deal. He will soon have that balance sheet looking like a (multimillion) dollars. Another added plus is he has run the company for years so knows it like the back of his hand. Bring in R50 a share Rian “who me?” du Plessis and your dream team is complete.

    Jokes aside, if you are putting 100s of millions into the game, you will make sure that the individual steering the ship is your appointed captain. That individual has already been chosen, of that I have no doubt. I hope that they haven’t gone for a visionary. What is needed is a street fighter to sort out all the crap, not someone to put everyone in comas with the power point what if scenarios. Thats what the board is there to do.

    Whoever gets it, good luck to them. They going to need it.

  29. Pieta says:

    No doubt the decision will be with the MOD…..they would like their own to look after their funds.

  30. Noel says:

    Looking at the comments Mr Ed, I would now like to change my vote, to definately “none of the above ” and could I have that 10 times please, insuring that the wrong name wont be put forward accidentally

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Noel
      We will run the poll as soon as the suggestions dry up – maybe Monday.
      Then you can have your vote – but only one!!

  31. Roy says:

    Hi. In a poll of this type, only people who know the sport well should be allowed to vote. That’s how we end up with useless leaders. In the land of the blind, the one eyed is King.

  32. Rian says:

    Definately not Owen Heger, why a bookmaker???
    My vote is Sally Bruss

  33. LK says:

    Agree with Michael Jacobs. Someone who has no connections to owners, trainers, breeders, but knows how to integrate technology with business in a way that appeals to the only group that matter to the “industry” and that’s punters.

  34. Oscar says:

    Graeme Hawkins a wonderful gentleman of the game who is head and shoulders above the rest

  35. Donald says:

    Graeme Hawkins has the knowledge and experience to sort this mess out , I know he is close to retirement so would give him a three year contract with Andrew Bon as his deputy to take over the ship on the open sea once the rough waters have been safely negotiated !

    Spokesperson and also a board member to be Micky Goss and as he is also of retirement age Jonathan Snaith as his deputy to proceed with the required important front man responsibilities once Micky is out to pasture !

  36. Vivian Mansour says:

    Not sure who is capable of the CEO position but I am sure that the CEO will need a very competent qualified Chartered Accountant under him. Jono Snaith will definitely be in that position but where will the Head Quarters be???

  37. LK says:

    Brian Katzen – Business turnaround specialist would be a great choice.

  38. paul says:

    Not sure who is capable of being the CEO but what I am sure of that he/she will need a very competent qualified Chartered Accountant and I think Jonathan Saith is perfect for the position. It depends where the Head Quarters will be???

  39. I think our current minister of finance . What a guy. He will be worth every cent you offer him. He will enjoy a change after all the disrepect that he has to tolerate the last few weeks. This is one man that i highly respect as he can turn any business around if he left without interference to do the job.

  40. Gavin says:

    Andrew fortune… Why not.. Can he do any worse.. At least the punters will be entertain…

  41. anesh says:

    Graeme Hawkins and Jono Snaith as his understudy

  42. T J K says:

    Brian Riley if he comes out of retirement would be ideal.
    He sorted out the mess at African Bank

  43. Rajen says:

    We need new blood to add value in horse racing. A person that can change the way we have been operating in the past. Fresh ideas. People person

  44. Martin says:

    Mary Slack and her daughter
    They know how to run a business
    They are true horse people with passion for the game
    Highly influential in all circles of life
    Just to name a few…

  45. Joao says:

    This is so simple.

    Mmusi Maimane

    All day long and twice on Sundays. He is not for sale. Put him at the helm. Let him build a team around him. Hawkins cannot be CEO but he can advise. I could be interim BUT never full time. This position needs a strong willed listener and amalgamator. Someone that is able to unite the factions an get things done.

  46. Pieta says:


    I see you ask a question about a bookmaker…..I recon GC will have your answer…..ask them….you will be surprised….

  47. Rian says:

    Once they advertise the Post and we sure of a final list, then maybe we can vote again Ed to see who came close in this first vote Monday
    Going to be interesting to see who all put names in hat ,long shot could be Polo player girlfriend of Jooste

  48. Andre Fick says:

    Nominate myself.

    Previous horse owner and truly love the sport.

    Been in Senior Executive role for many years in Technology and believe focus and real energy should be given to major contributors of horse racing :

    Punters – gains, benefits, platforms and drawing more punters high priority
    Televised horse racing needs a major user friendly upgrade
    Grooms work satisfaction in all aspects of employment
    All those that are directly or indirectly involved in horse racing should all be equally endorsed and looked after
    Management should profit less and ensure the industry propers

  49. Mikesack says:

    I think the best man for the job is NONE OF THE ABOVE, especially seeing names who were holding positions when assets were sold off.
    The best man for the job right now would be..
    Marcus……… what ? Yes….. MARCUS LEMONIS
    of THE PROFIT……
    There’s your man.
    The end.

  50. anesh says:

    Maybe even Tito Mboweni or Barry Irwin

  51. b says:

    Owen Heffer – Wizz Kid Supremo by a country mile !!

  52. Fred says:

    Any of these will do the job for us

    Johan Roodt
    Stefan Potgieter
    Ingrid Jooste
    Grant Knowles
    Wehann Smith
    Chris van Niekerk
    Derek Brugman
    Larry Wainstein
    Clyde Basel

  53. Chris Swart says:

    Andrea Puggia – PE owner and breeder with long time service at PWC. Head of the Woodridge College Trust that rebuilt the school after the fire. Integrity, trust, honour, the straightest man I know. His Uncle Aldo Scribante would be proud

  54. Michael Jacobs says:

    I know “what” type of leader is needed, but I don’t know “who” that person is. But I am 100% sure that NO-ONE currently in the industry is capable of doing the job. Every single “leader” in this industry from Gold Circle to Phumelela to Kenilworth Racing to the RA, NHA, RTT to MOD or any entity in the industry is tainted in some way. Every single “leader” stood by while the Jooste cabal ruined the industry, so what makes any of them credible now? Jooste money or Oppenheimer money, it will all go down the drain if the current people are considered to lead this revival.

    Rather go outside and start clean.

  55. imfourie says:

    James Goodman , been in the industry forever .

  56. lionel harold says:

    Graeme hawkens at the helm, Mary slack as the woman understudy male/f emale balance to the whole racing pakage. And there are many credable contestants with respect

  57. Pieta says:

    Mr Ed,
    Any chance Hollywood can put some betting up for us??

    Just hope they don’t price the boss up too short….seems a good bet.

  58. Rian says:

    Evening Pieta , he ticks a lot of boxes , not sure he will throw his name in the hat
    The strength of your troopie/ front line worker will show how good the Company leader is/ will be.
    See the Mayor hasn’t sent his selection in yet
    Neither William

  59. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hello Rian, I have been studying form on this one, and found a shrewdie. a Longshot that’ll even make William sit up and take note….

    I like a 66-1 outsider, Roy Moodley, based in KZN, a businessman with Govt links.

    Two flies with one hit. A person with business skills, owns and loves horses, bonus Govt will be more symptahetic towards our Sport.

    As per the Editors brief, no insults and I made sure shrewd isn’t meant negative – Shrewd is generally a compliment, meaning ” taking advantage of hidden opportunities ”

    Pieta, 6600/100 , my tipe bet

    And a juvenile in the new Season called

    Roy is the Boss

  60. Pieta says:

    Ja Rian, lets hope they do….maybe we can take some boxed exactas…?

  61. QBee says:

    Mary Slack And Jessica Jell…they know racing through and through…after all it is there money that is keeping racing alive…if it was not for them…there was no racing anymore for us…so i will definitly consider the pair

  62. Pieta says:

    Hi Cecil, jammer man…ek is Royed out……nie eers die “back end of quartets” vir my nie.

  63. LK says:

    Agree with Michael Jacobs again. Anyone with connections to racing cannot possibly do a good job.

  64. Art says:

    Johno Snaith.should be able to lead racing in RSA He is my choice .The current lot should all be retrenched or pensioned off.

  65. jai says:

    jono snaith the right man for the job he has what it takes

  66. Pops says:

    Cecil,your 66/1 will be drifting after Judge Zondo has a friendly chat with him

  67. Selwyn Marcus says:

    Mickey Goss should be a standout nomination.
    I can’t think of anyone in his division.If this was abetting race I doubt whether you’d get 6/10
    An articulate,incredibly bright and accomplished who has horses in his DNA.

  68. Sam says:

    If nobody currently in the industry managed to convince the authorities it means none of them deserve to take the helm. They should simply continue to help but in different capacity. The question is about decisive leadership ( see what Hong Kong Jockey Club did). think the Slack family would be one choice. However my choice for the CEO would be towards an independent person with a proven record , great connections and unbiased in his approach. And I know what he has achieved in also making sure that cash flow is king in racing.
    His name is Robert Mauvis.

  69. Jess K says:

    I’m with Michael Jacobs and Steve Reid here, no one tainted or associated with the previous cabal. These so-called leaders who stood idly by while the Jooste/DuPlessis/Wainstein gang destroyed racing should not be considered.
    I nominate advocate Brett Maselle.

  70. Marlon Sing says:

    Jessica slack she ticks all the boxes and I think it’s time they give a female an opportunity in a mostly make dominated game,besides she is a very honest Women,and surely she will run Phumelela 100%.

  71. Kenny says:

    Just look at Hollywoodbets and you have your man! Owen Heffer by a mile.

  72. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Morning Pops, I will not post again on Fri nights whilst Pineapple beer influenced ?

    Here is my nominee – Brendon ? 100% serious

  73. Titch says:

    For me its a No Brainer Jessica Jell and Mary Slack they absolutely tick all the boxes add James Goodman to the mix and it would be elevated to Dream Team status

  74. Patrick kalil says:

    Definitely Vee Moodley ,Graham Hawkins and Jessica Slack.. you also need guys like David Safi who has always been there for the punter. He actually gave the punters a site called formgrids and never one day changed a fee. Excellent work David!!! Then obviously you need me as all my ideas through the years where passed on and used in the industry.. only thing was no one ever said thank you!!! All that happened was I sat back and watched all these guys get promoted with my brilliant ideas..

  75. Steve Reid says:

    I second Brendon – however you couldn’t afford him.

    No sane individual would take this poisonous chalice unless they were paid properly or were desperate for a job.

  76. Grim says:

    Are there any lineal offspring of Tony Proudlock or Wally Segal – (kind of visionaries needed today as opposed to continuity announcers etc.) that could be tracked down for this appointment?
    The following extracts from the Tony Proudlock papers below make a lot of sense to me (34years on).

    The marketing and promotion of racing – The Racing Museum
    Tony Proudlock for The SA Racehorse – June/July 1986
    Following the lead of its counterparts overseas, South African racing is starting to see the benefits of promotions and marketing. This the first of two articles stresses the need for a dynamic and on-going campaign to counteract falling attendances at racecourses and the sports’ negative public image. Tony Proudlock is Vice Chairman of Germiston Sporting Club, Chairman of the National Promotions and Marketing Sub-Committee and Chairman of the Transvaal Promotions and Marketing Sub-Committee
    One of the most significant trends during the last two years, has been the gradual realisation that like any other product racing needs a concerted and on-going promotions and marketing campaign. Simply stated, racing is very much part and parcel of the leisure market and therefore has to compete with all forms of entertainment for the leisure Rand.
    Historically South African racing’s brief flirtations with this concept – doubtless well intentioned – have been hopelessly inadequate.
    In terms of so-called adspend’ racing’s performance has been woeful. In 1983, for instance, the entertainments section of Adindex revealed the following expenditure:
    Ad. Spend R000s
    Print Radio Total
    Live shows 65 – 655
    Musicals 450 63 513
    Sports 137 – 137
    Thoroughbred Racing 37 8 45
    Kyalami/Motor Sport 297 40 337

    Motor racing, with far fewer meetings, outspent the racing industry by 7.5 times. The miniscule amount spent on advertising comes into even clearer focus when one considers that racing is the third largest industry in South Africa and in 1983 only spent R45 000 on promoting itself !!
    Racing revenues – with the possible exception of the Transvaal – are remaining relatively constant while costs are growing rapidly. There is no doubt that the future of the industry as a sport, employer and source of revenue to the Provinces and Government, depends on increasing levels of attendance at race tracks and participation in off-course betting. Marketing and promotions – with all they entail – remain the major options in redressing the balance.
    After a tentative start, racing clubs throughout the country are showing an increased awareness of the need to promote this wonderful sport of ours. Following a recommendation from the Witwatersrand Association of Racing Clubs in 1984, the National Association of Racing Clubs agreed to the establishment of a sub-committee to formulate and action various proposals in terms of market research, advertising and public relations.
    The National Promotions and Marketing sub-committee – consisting of race meetings stewards from all provinces – was born, and even more significantly, was voted a budget to undertake exploratory work.
    The sub-committee immediately embarked on a series of discussions with advertising agencies, public relations consultants and market research experts. The mission was to evolve a strategy to increase public participation in the sport at all levels.
    The major thrust of the campaign centred around the simple marketing premise of broadening the base. Increasing the audience would lead to more off-course punters, more racegoers and, at the far end of the extrapolation, more race horse owners.
    Market research carried out by the sub-committee and its advertising agents revealed some fascinating insights into the perceptions of both racegoers and non-racegoers.
    Discussion groups with infrequent racegoers clearly demonstrated that racing does not rate as a strong competitor for leisure time. Its positioning in terms of other sports was almost parallel to that of cricket. The image was one of a complicated, almost elitist sport lacking in excitement and requiring a great depth of knowledge before being fully enjoyed.
    Overall perception was one of racing being a predominantly betting sport in which trainers and jockeys were considered generally corrupt and racecourses were uncomfortable, seedy places abounding with disreputable characters. Very few of these interviewed were aware of the great strides that have been made in improving racecourse amenities or of the controls exercised by the Jockey Club and the racing clubs themselves.
    There was considerable confusion over bet types available. An overwhelming view was that ignorance of betting procedures would lead to serious embarrassment at the on-or off-course tote windows.
    In essence there was no impulsive “let’s go racing today” feeling amongst the general public. The only events that appeared to foster genuine excitement were vast sponsored days such as the Rothman’s July, the Sun International, the J&B Metropolitan, the Southern Sun Classic etc.
    With the assistance of all race-courses in South Africa, the National Promotions and Marketing Sub-committee then embarked on a comprehensive on-course market research programme that questioned several thousand racegoers countrywide.
    The results produced some extremely encouraging responses particularly in regard to the perceived honesty of racing. The majority of respondents believed that racing was as honest as any other business or sport.
    An alarming trend, however, was the revelation that racing is not attracting the under 30 age group on a regular basis. The vast majority of younger people present on course went racing less than 10 times a year.
    It was also evident that the younger age group had different betting preferences and needs to those of their elders. The under 30 group felt that the following were the most important factors involved in a day at the races:-
    1. The relaxing day in the open
    2. The “spectacle
    3. The quality of the fields
    4. The amenities
    5. The challenge of having a bet
    The national priority average for all punters, however, was:
    1. The challenge of having a bet
    2. The spectacle
    3. The relaxing day in the open
    4. The quality of the fields
    5. The amenities
    The on course survey underlined the fact that race courses must cater for a very diverse audience.
    Other pertinent points that emerged from the survey was the very large percentage of racegoers who preferred to bet on the tote rather than the 10 per cent who favoured bookmakers. It also demonstrated the popularity of the trifecta as well as waning interest in the place accumulator.
    Nearly 95 per cent of the respondents felt that racing was badly done by in terms of TV coverage and most of them relied heavily on the tipping services in the newspapers. While there was general satisfaction with the present race-card, many of those interviewed (64 per cent) felt that a tipping guide should be incorporated.
    Practically all those interviewed stressed the need for as much information regarding form etc, as possible. They were particularly keen to receive information on any race incidents directly after its running.
    Race course amenities such as seating, bars, restaurants, betting facilities, CCTV, toilets and parking emerged from the survey with considerable credit, the only black marks being the availability of transport and bookmakers’ facilities.
    Surprisingly 88 per cent of the sample felt that admission charges to the race course were fair.
    Shotgun Technique
    Any marketing campaign for racing has to adopt, unfortunately, a shotgun technique. Demographically, the target market is made up of adults of all race groups aged between 20 -49 resident in the major metropolitan areas and in the broad middle income group . There is a slight male bias.
    Until the racing industry as a whole – and here we have to include the clubs, the TABs, breeders, bookmakers, in fact all those who derive income from racing – is prepared to commit significant funds to a major campaign, promotional activities have to be handled with ingenuity.
    While the great dream must remain a co-ordinated advertising and public relations campaign carried out on a national and all industry basis, there is still a great deal that can be achieved using the limited resources now available.
    In the interim, the clubs’ marketing effort has been structured on a three-tier basis. Thus the National Promotions and Marketing Sub-Committee has responsibility for projects that can be undertaken on an all club basis such as market research, representations to the Jockey Club, the recently introduced National Racing Awards dinner and general policy matters such as the SABC Racing Liaison Committee. Most importantly, however, the national sub-committee serves as a “sounding board”. Much of its success has derived from the input of its various provincial members.
    The second tier is made up of Provincial committees which, particularly in Natal and the Transvaal, have become extremely active.
    The Transvaal committee, for instance, recently persuaded all the clubs in the Province, as well as certain outside parties, to contribute to an advertising and public relations programme centred on the Transvaal Summer Season. This limited three month campaign, despite the competition of an unexpected rugby tour, was hopefully, partly responsible for increased turnovers and consistently good attendance figures. Many other projects including the upgrading of the Transvaal race card, the publication of a “how to bet” brochure.
    The last link in the promotion and marketing chain is the course-specific activity. Today every club in the country has its own committee which deals with sponsors, in-house advertising and pro, brochures, newsletters, on-course competitions etc.
    The Philosophy
    The target market is made up of three straight-forward elements – the regular racegoer, the infrequent racegoer and the non-racegoer. To broaden the base of participation in the sport the American “step-up” principle should be adopted. Like most marketing strategies this is nothing more than common sense. The idea is to move the non-racegoer towards the infrequent and the infrequent into the core category. The regular racegoer, it follows, will be encouraged into the owning and breeding sector.
    Each of the target groups requires its own marketing strategy.
    Frequent Racegoers: (attendance of more than twice a month)
    • Intensify their interest in owning and breeding
    • Maintain or increase frequency of visits
    • Develop increased bonds between them and the clubs they visit
    Infrequent Racegoers: (once a month or less)
    • Increase frequency of visits to tracks
    • Develop a sense of event and occasion around their visits
    • Supply them with non-costly information on form and bet types.
    Non-Racegoers: (those who attend once a year or less)
    • Create a desire to visit or re-visit racecourses
    • Simply first and subsequent visits though “education”, transportation and overall entertainment concepts.
    • Increase awareness and desire to spend a day at the races among special interest groups – women’s clubs, golfers, bowlers, Rotary clubs etc.
    The important thing is to create what the advertising agencies refer to as a desired attitude especially in regard to the last two categories above.
    It should be along the following lines:-
    “I really enjoy a day at the races. It is fun-filled, exciting and different. Racing is very well run and organised. All in all the races provide a good atmosphere and vibe’, beautiful animals and the possibility of winning some money.”
    This feeling is epitomised in the raceclubs’ agreed creative property: “Come racing, you can bet on a great day”.
    It must be stressed that this desired attitude cannot be created by on-course gimmickery. Nothing must be allowed to detract from the elegance, tradition and spectacle that are racing’s biggest selling points.
    The desired attitude will only come about through a dynamic and constantly reviewed longterm

    The Marketing and Promotion of Racing – Part Two – The Racing Museum
    Tony Proudlock for SA Racehorse – August 1986
    One of racing’s top priorities must be to ensure that the sport is a strong contender for a share of the South African consumer’s disposable income. While marketing, advertising and promotions will bring more people to the racecourse, the whole industry has an important role to play in making racing “user friendly”. Tony Proudlock is Vice-Chairman of Germiston Sporting Club, Chairman of the Witwatersrand Association of Racing Clubs and Chairman of the National Promotions and Marketing Sub-Committee.
    After examining much of the market research carried out in South Africa, we looked at the need to shift the perception of racing away from its present rather dull and elitist image to create a new attitude, an attitude that racing is fun, elegant, exciting, and the final promise, presents the possibility of winning money.
    With the notable exception of soccer, all sports in South Africa are showing declines in attendance, and with the advent of better TV coverage a literal army of armchair sportsmen and women has been created. In order to get that huge potential audience out of its lounge and onto the racecourse we have to create a feeling of occasion around a race meeting.
    The public has to be assured that a day at the races will be one of comfort, convenience and, of course, enjoyment. Racing is probably the best positioned of any sport to provide just these three factors. In comparison with, say, rugby, boxing, motor racing and cricket, racing provides a far higher standard of facilities such as seating, catering, restaurants, bars, picnic areas, CCTV and parking. In short, the amenities at South Africa’s race courses are highly marketable. Once we have created a real desire to go racing, the sport should enjoy a good retention factor at varying levels of interest. Out of a hundred new racegoers, the probability is that several will be turned into infrequent racegoers (once a month or less) and a few into the core category (attendance of more than twice a month).
    Until the recent formation of the SABC Racing Liaison Committee – which comprises senior SABC executives and stewards from all provinces under the chairmanship of Patrick Kohler – TV coverage of racing left a great deal to be desired. Too often viewers joined the race as the last two horses were loaded into the stalls and were whisked away sometimes before the winning numbers went into the frame.
    Unless TV attempts to interest and inform the public about a sport I can simply trigger a negative attitude – “Why should we leave the comfort of our lounge to see that!”
    With this closer connection with the SABC, the racing clubs can justifiably expect a far more educated TV approach.
    The seven SABC regional radio stations have quickly grasped the commercial potential of racing. Present radio coverage is as follows:
    Radio Port Natal: Live commentary on all Natal races. Results.
    Radio Lotus: Results.
    Radio Jacaranda: Results.
    Radio Highveld: Commentary on all Transvaal races. Results.
    Radio Algoa: Commentary on all four Port Elizabeth jackpot legs. Results.
    Radio Good Hope: Coverage of J&B Metropolitan Stakes and Richelieu Guineas. Results.
    In addition to this, Radio South Africa provides a comprehensive racing service with previews, results and commentaries (normally two races every Saturday).

    Added to this is the superb coverage given to racing by newspapers nationwide.
    There is no doubt that racing, through the media, is receiving massive coverage. The awareness that is created has now got to be turned into active participation at all levels.
    The proliferation of off-course betting facilities and the rapidly growing telebetting service are making it easier for everyone to participate on a betting level. In terms of increasing turnovers this trend must be wholeheartedly welcomed by the industry but in terms of the sport we must be extremely careful that racing is never allowed to become purely a numbers game.
    Major changes are occurring in South Africa and it is possible that State lotteries could be introduced. By the same token it is not inconceivable that casinos might be legalised. From being the only legal form of gambling in South Africa, racing might quite quickly have one or even two very real competitors. Thus it is important that the sport and entertainment value of racing are emphasised rather than purely the betting angle.
    It is generally true to say that the more involved the racegoer becomes in the sport the more his enjoyment is heightened. The intricacies of the sport, the study of form, breeding, handicapping, conditions, weights, etc, make it all the more fascinating. The hundreds of variables seen against a background of the many bet types now available make a day at the races a true challenge to the racegoer. It is this aspect that must be accentuated.
    Attracting new patrons to the racecourse is simply a matter of concerted advertising and marketing. In launching a new soft drink, for instance, large amounts of money spent on advertising will induce many consumers to try the new product. No amount of money, however, will convince them that they like the taste or that they will go on buying the new drink.
    While this is a gross over-simplification of the problem, it does underline the fact that once, by spending a lot of money, we have the new racegoer on course for the first time the product must be able to stand on its own.
    Racing is going to have to become user friendly. The first visit to a race course is critical. Any bad experience such as rude staff, bad food, queues, uncertainty at the tote window etc will nullify all the work and money it has taken to get the prospect there.
    This user friendly approach should, in fact, play an important role at all levels of racing and it is here where all elements of racing should interact.
    Like the first day at the races, the purchase of the first horse is critical. Once again any bad experience at this stage can result in the permanent loss to the industry of a potential long-term owner and buyer. Here the Jockey Club, the TBA and, most importantly, trainers must bear the brunt of the responsibility.
    The Jockey Club must ensure that the ranting of colours to a worthy candidate is as hassle-free as possible.
    The TBA, too, have an important role in informing the potential buyer as well as making the act of purchasing a horse simple and pleasurable.
    But the major onus is on the trainers. Literally hundreds of potential owners have been lost to racing because of an unfortunate first-time experience with a trainer.
    Like other professionals, trainers should be bound by their own code of ethics. The prospective owner should be told right at the outset exactly where he stands with his trainer. He should know, for instance, what the training fees are, what extras can be expected, what presents are the norm for the stable and when he can see his horse.
    It is up to the trainer to guide the new owner at all stages. And communication is the trainer’s most important tool in doing this. A twice-monthly phone call to each patron advising him of his horse’s fitness, work performance, etc, should be the absolute minimum. This approach can be augmented by a written report which can be sent out with the account at the end of the month. Trainers should not lose sight of their public relations activity and should encourage regular patron’s days at the stables where the accent is purely social and the conversation nothing but racing. In this way the new owner’s first horse might not turn out to be a champion but he, nevertheless will have enjoyed the experience.
    The race clubs too have an important duty in the communications areas. As much information as possible should be conveyed to the public both on race days, in terms of scratchings, jockey changes, stipes’ reports etc, and even on non-race days when public seminars could be held on such subjects as handicapping, objection procedures, etc.
    In fact all bodies in racing should strive to be as open with the public as possible. Silence is practically always viewed with suspicion.
    A great deal of discussion has taken place on so-called on-course gimmickry with special reference to give-aways. Give-aways can be a double edged sword as discovered by Meadowlands in the USA. The track – which normally attracts between 11 000 and 12 000 – announced that everyone going through the turnstiles would be given a free sports watch. The promotion attracted a total of 30 000 – the second largest attendance in the history of Meadowlands. However, this vast influx of people had little or no effect on turnover. Per capita spending that night was reduced to half.
    Another promotion by Meadowlands, however, had the desired effect. On six consecutive Tuesday nights they gave away jockey collector plates honouring six nationally known riders. The lowest attendance on the six nights was 14 000 while on the night they gave away the Angel Cordero (a hero in New York) plate17 000 people turned out. The trick was that, despite increased attendance, the per capita spending did not drop. The people who were tempted by the give-away were intrinsically interested in racing.
    As revealed in South Africa’s market research, one of the major areas of concern is that racing is not attracting younger people. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that in most racing centres the minimum legal admission age is 18. By this age most young people have already developed leisure habits.
    This problem also means that families are not attracted to racing. It is to be hoped, as a start that various Provincial authorities can be persuaded to de-licence specific areas on racecourses which could be used as picnic areas especially to attract families with young children.
    Young people can be wooed to the racecourse by a concerted advertising campaign on pop music stations and also by linking up with University and College rag days. Featuring on-course discos has been tried with some success at Greyville and there is little doubt that tailoring sections of the racecourse to the lifestyle of the young can imbue them with a feeling that racing is fun. Once again, though, it is important to follow this up by giving them a greater depth of knowledge of the sport. Tours to training centres and even stud farms should be regular events as should pre-race get-togethers at which an “expert” will go through the day’s card.
    The racing press give truly superb coverage, but it is also vital to accentuate the glamour, excitement and personalities of the sport through the consumer pages of newspapers as well as magazines.
    The value of sponsorship in racing is misguidedly thought to be purely the cash advantage. In real terms sponsors provide a minute percentage of total racing stakes in this country. Their most important contribution lies in the new racegoers they attract as well as the glitter and “hype” they bring to the racecourse. Sponsors with retails outlets can add enormously to the gate of their race meeting by organising in-store promotions and competitions as well as client VIP facilities. Race clubs should ensure that sponsors are given every opportunity to get the maximum possible mileage from their race day. And it is amazing when one considers the very broad spectrum of needs that various sponsors may have: from the brass bands, tent villages, pop groups, costume days, Ladies’ days to subdued elegance. The range, in fact, is from hard sell to the very softest. At Gosforth Park, for instance we had a feature race sponsor who used the event principally to entertain 300 or 400 of his most important clients. The importance of press and TV coverage was purely secondary to the public relations function.
    Without compromising itself, racing will have to become acutely aware of the importance of sponsorship. Due to the totally non-racial nature of the sport, I am confident that, despite the tough economic climate, we are going to attract more and more sponsors. It is vital that they get their moneys’ worth.
    The marketing of racing in South Africa is still in its infancy. If nothing else, all the preliminary work done in this area has convinced practically all sectors of the industry that advertising and promotion is one of the most important priorities.
    When asked to give a paper on the subject to the University of Arizona’s Symposium on Racing in 1984, Wally Segal, Chief Executive at Gosforth park, quoted Al Smith – a leading Australian racing official and Deputy Director of TAB New South Wales who said: “Unless the tracks market and promote their activities, racing in Australia will be dead by the turn of the century”.
    Perhaps that sums up the challenge that is facing South African racing.

  77. Paul says:

    Robin Bruss

  78. Andrew says:

    Tony RIVALLAND for me – he’s never changed as a person and I’ve known him for years.- he’s not arrogant or self centered – doesn’t think he’s better than anybody else and has racing’s best interests at heart – he will always explain why he’s made a decision – not like most of these leaders that we have had.

  79. Grant Maroun says:

    Agree Andrew not scared to speak up and to do what’s best for racing. Most of the other people mentioned have been compromised

  80. Dee Gee says:

    Owen Heffer ceo Super Clever Marketing fundi
    Tony Riverland coo Meticulous Wise Horseman
    Anthony Delpech racing manager great horseman

  81. Pieta says:

    Dee Gee, great choice….these gentlemen will never let the side down.?

  82. Marcus Nel says:

    Peter Gibson
    Racing is in his blood and excellent communication skills

  83. Clinton says:

    Ok, I have waited long enough for Mr Frankie Zackey to comment here.

    Mr Editor, I nominate Mr David S ?

    Mr Frankie must have been torn between David and Mr Clyde Basel …

  84. Singing boy says:

    Tony Rivalland. Smart, humble, pro active and very focussed. Also trained Senor Santa ?

  85. Donald says:

    Singing Boy , Senor Santa was trained by Mr. Willie Peters and not Tony and your namesake Singing Boy was trained by Mr. Herman Brown ( snr. ) ?

  86. Racing Fever says:

    Mr Heffer.
    Passionate about the Game and has the receipe to Succeed

  87. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    MR Ed you have to tell me how long it’s going to take for you to let me post breaking news ? The 1st time I tried you ignored me because you knew I was right and you ’ve downplayed the exit of the two bad apples as best as you could..
    Now can I make the next announcement or are you going to hold onto this one as well because you worried I’m getting the news before you ?

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Frankie
      We love breaking news, and are playing nothing down. But have to exercise responsibilitY and fair play to the individuals involved – no matter what anybody may feel about any particular party.
      There is so much speculation and half baked news doing the rounds – the SENS announcement was our cue to report on John Stuart’s departure.
      Trust you appreciate our position – just as we value and appreciate all your contributions to the debate within the bounds outlined.

  88. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Clinton why hide the surname ? anyway not serious ,,what is serious is that I get all the 8/10 that’s available immediately before the betting hardens to 1/5… oh crap the 8/10 is gone,,oh well ill scoop all the 7/10 6/10 and 5/10 up quickly

    1. Editor says:

      Frankie..that’s buying money! 🙂

  89. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Mr Ed i just like adding a bit spice to every topic,, I’m sure you’ve worked that out by now…and pls believe me it’s not about any inside info,, it was a no brainer to who was next to rock and roller Mr Ed,,the 2 top guns finally ran out of bullets

    1. Editor says:

      We enjoy the spice, Frankie!

  90. Clinton says:

    Clinton Pillay.

    Aah, knew it, spicy stories… So Mr Frankie bullsh*ts a little bit ?

    1. Editor says:

      Frankie’s a legend here, Clinton

  91. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Right boys it’s race time… I think there have been about 100 comments on this topic,, I’ve taken all the 7/10 6/10 and just scooped the last bit at 5/10 anyway I did leave the 4/10 for the boys,,hold on…oh my word someone has just taken the 4/10…Gentleman it’s money for jam take the 3/10 (excuse the pun for those who have been put out of work because of the two rotten apples).
    Here’s my take on it …. ready ???
    A) No member of the task team will head up the new racing company. Let’s call it RFTP (racing for the people)
    B) The task team will be the new board only
    C) They will appoint it’s executive team as they wish with Mrs Slacks approval or let’s call it Oppenheimer stamp of approval
    D) Sorry to crush egos but this game lives on two things,,egos and snakes,, and neither of them will be in charge of the new business as ceo
    E) Which rules out a Cape Town person or a Durban based person…
    Cape Town has enough billionaires to appoint whoever they want and do whatever they like with their racing…
    Durban has Owen who has plenty plenty cash to keep Durban alive but I don’t think Oppenheimer will not appoint anyone from those provinces because they have their own financial support and don’t need her… I say each for their own… All of a sudden everyone wants to be Oppenheimers best friend yet they train for billionaires and their billionaires can’t help their own province…
    F) The new company will have the very best board which will be the current task team,, the very best ceo and the very best exec team and I’m not at liberty to say another word other than 99% of the people mentioned above are not even in the race,, unless they put up their own money in their own province and make their own decisions…
    Cheers boys,, I’ll keep you posted,, soon,, very soon..Pls boys go take the 3/10 or the 1/3 and even the 1-4 if need be… The new Boy will definitely be JHB based… That’s my view boys,,they about to shorten the betting again,, I belive truck loads of cash has just arrived for the JHB base Boy

  92. Anand Chetty says:

    Senor Santa was initially trained by Tony Rivalland and ridden by Ronald Singh

  93. Titch says:

    @Donald.. Senor Santa did start his career with Willie Peters but moved to Tony and finished his racing under his care…

  94. Anand Chetty says:

    The person I nominate is someone none of you heard of
    An accountant by profession in private practice
    An indepth knowledge of racing that will put many of us to shame, knowledge of breeding, of ALL international racing methodology, understands the various race types in depth, has views contrary to racing operators eg. He believes the July should be weight for age, numerous out of the box ideas. Ardent form studier, believes punters are given paucity of relevant information for international racing.
    Unimpressed with the old guard not making way for the new.
    Was in Top 10 in matric year, was Headhunted by mackinsey and company when they opened first office in joburg, was auditor at Deloitte, was internal auditor Eskom, financial manager for Tiger brands, financial manager SABC, financial manager Urban Brew, etc. Etc.
    Never was at forefront of racing, he quite frankly wasn’t prepared to work with people who were unprepared to adapt to change.
    Angath Singh.
    If racing is going to change post covid19, new blood who have a passion for the game, proven managerial skill, out of the book thinking… This is the type of person racing needs.
    The least the authorities can do, is a racing indaba, where people with special skills can be invited to participate.
    I have been a former owner in the eighties, with Paul Lafferty, Jean Heming and Tony Rivalland.
    I am passionate about the game, made numerous suggestions in the past, but alas, nobody listens to the little man

  95. Peter Pearse says:

    Peter Gibson.passionate,knowledgeable,objective and an outstanding communicator.

  96. Donald says:

    Anand thank you for that correction in respect of Tony being the trainer of Senor Santa although Tich has it the other way around but let us not stray to far from the topic.

    May I comment on your selection who I admit I do not know but if he thinks that the July Handicap should be weight for age as stated by yourself then I say quite bluntly he certainly will not have my support and in fact I would go as far as to say he would be meddling in something that is not broken.

    The July Handicap already now has compressed weights. I wish we could go back to the days of proper handicap horse racing which was fearless. Compare the weight that Sea Cottage carried against Jollify in , 67 which was a chasm in difference and the result of that race was a DEAD HEAT !

    We have far to much W.F.A. / CONDITIONS racing in S.A. as it is in our Group 1 ,s and other high profile races.

    Jay , if you read this please can you compare the weights of Sea Cottage / Jollify in ,67 to what they would have been allocated under the weighting conditions that exist for the July Handicap these days , it would make for an interesting comparison ?

    Maybe Anands selection if he becomes C.E.O. can then get the result of the , 67 July altered as Sea Cottage gave Jollify to much weight on the day !

  97. Jay August says:

    Donald/Anand, I am not sure what exactly changing the July to a WFA race would achieve. Perhaps if the person making such a suggestion were to share their vision we could debate it properly.

    Frankly reading through all these posts leaves be very bemused. If people have such great ideas and have an intimate knowledge of all things horse racing then where is the written evidence of such? I have an intimate distrust of anyone who cannot put their thoughts on paper in a cogent way and stand some inspection from the “mob” in public.

    Whoever “leads” SA racing, and I use lead as loosely as possible given my earlier comment, should have the main attribute of being able to listen to all opinions and mediate those that are in the best interests of racing after some introspection.

    What we don’t need are dictatorial know-it-alls who think they have the solution to all our problems and who push through changes and solutions which have not stood any challenge or inspection. Many of the people who are mentioned above are such people and have shown quite clearly over the last twenty years that they think that they are above average when it comes to making or contributing to (wrong) decisions.

    Anybody who has been around horse racing in any official capacity over the last twenty years and was not able to influence the people who made the many bad decisions which led us to this point, has little credibility and they most likely will fall prey to the same in future.

    Donald – I’ll not answer the question of the July weight scale here as it is too large a subject to tackle in a comment section. There is some nuance to the answer which cannot be made in a few lines of comment. You can already see how the weight compression plays out by simply extrapolating the sufference many horses run under in the current format.

  98. Anand Chetty says:

    Donald, you shot down a view without asking why he thought that. Again my point, this man will not be receptive working in an industry which refuses to listen and debate new ideas.
    Sea Cottage carried 58k Jollify 46. Sea cottage nearly lost. Did you question why the weights were compressed?
    Are you aware Horse Chestnut did not line up because Mike de Kock believed weight could stop trains.
    Do you honestly believe we have everything right in this industry.
    Have an indaba after lockdown, keep an open mind, listen to new input.
    You will be surprised. And btw Angath and I dont agree on everything regarding racing, but he has phenomenal ideas, the brilliance and the management skill to boot.
    But I personally have made suggestions many years before the casinos and Owen Hefer arrived, to racing authorities, which were never implemented, but the casinos and Owen did, independently, because they were simple common sense ideas. That’s why the casinos and Hollywood bets have a massive database of patrons, the racing industry with over 60 years headstart, does not.
    As you may gather, I’ve followed racing since Sea Cottage was shot.
    I, and countless others feel the old guard need to bow out gracefully and allow younger , passionate individuals to step in

  99. Pops says:

    Frankie,thanks for your inside info.Made good money.But have problem with friendly bookie.Needs to know how bets were laid at 2 am.
    Frankie,if the The task team will be the new board only.Will they remain the RA board members?
    Who will be owners of new company you mention?Will phumelela not exist?
    And what happens to the shares RA members in good standing(suppose all task team members) bought at bargain price not too long ago?
    Will these task team members not want that money back with interest?
    About those bets.Have just been reminded that bedtime has always been latest 11 pm.

  100. Anand Chetty says:

    I see my posts disappeared

    1. Editor says:

      Not our side, Anand

  101. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Pops it’s matter of making a call beit 3am 4am or 1pm…I suggest you change your Cirlce of friends/bookmakers…what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…remember that saying ???

  102. Rian says:

    We going to need some input from the guys running Dundee, they doing something right
    Even by painting the number on horses ass
    Get the kids involved in the gymkanas and you will see change

  103. Cecil Pienaar says:

    I love all these posts and stories, what will we do without SP and it’s interesting articles

    The wearing of masks law must be godsend for some, especially some Bookies…. ? ?

    Mr Editor, when do you plan your shortlist for this one, so we can vote ?

    Good Day All

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Cecil – we will wrap it by tomorrow
      The spread is a tad more diverse than anticipated – a few more names than we expected. Including a government minister.
      So will shortlist then.
      Thanks for your kind comments.

  104. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Take any price guy’s that a JHB Based person will get the Job…stop guessing… Mrs Slack and her cracking looking daughter Jessica will make the right call that’s for sure…and the winner is ???

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