A Croak And A Grunt In The Night

If Tellytrack were a human being, it would be suffering from multiple conditions of schizophrenia and bipolarity. The predictable unpredictability of the beast has been demonstrated in no uncertain terms in the past few weeks. Brilliant on Saturday with their determination to show us Ebony Flyer’s return, they have stumbled and spluttered their way through one glitch after the next in between.

Let’s give credit where it’s due. One gets the feeling that the entire refreshing awareness on the small screen on Saturday of Ebony Flyer’s highly anticipated seasonal debut in the Diana Stakes at Durbanville was one man’s doing. Shaheen Shaw was thankfully sitting in the cockpit on the afternoon shift and we got to see a helluva lot more of the local Gr3 race on a congested programme than we would ordinarily have. Fair enough, we still only saw the canter-down with a split screen showing some boring jackpot selections from another planet. But it was a great improvement on certain other bigger days.

There is a general consensus of opinion that Shaw’s broadcasting talents and knowledge  would be wasted pushing paper around in a fancy office like Ken Rutherford’s, but he really is one of the few people that appear to have the energy and interest to have punter’s best interests catered to and who also keeps the data room on its toes. A technically minded associate of mine who works in the broadcasting industry suggested though that it is not the studio presenter’s function to produce the show and to ensure integrity of the data and information that is being disseminated – somebody else is apparently paid for that. Really?

I also detected a sense of frustration which brought out the best in Nico Kritsiotis on the afternoon shift on Sunday. Slightly befuddled by a host of jockey replacements, and then questioning why certain apprentices in qualifying races were allowed to ride a 1600m but not a 1200m race at Greyville, he publicly lambasted the NHRA for their tardiness in taking the entire day to convey information to the studio. Well done Nico. It sounds like you are sick and tired of putting on a smile in the face of the bumbling incompetence.

Technically the channel is a myriad of nonsensical glitches from one day to the next. The latest symptom is the heavy breathing, humming, burping, laughing and coughing followed by answering a cell-phone on air while live in the studio. While the presenters have been doing all these things and no doubt more from day one, I guess the issue is a technical one as their ‘firewall’ of protection appears to have somehow disappeared.

They also showed the Raceday preview show of Kimberley last Monday, a few hours after the meeting had been run. While there may only be a half asleep Night Watchman on duty at Rivonia, surely there was one member of management who was watching from the comfort of home and who could have had the situation rectified? I don’t recall seeing or hearing an apology – and one wonders if they even know about.

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Chop And A Dop

They may have missed the great opportunity of National Braai Day a few weeks back but Gold Circle will be lighting the braai fires at Durbanville this Saturday! Braai meat and salads will be on sale for those of you venturing out to the country course . Visitors are also welcome to bring their own picnic hampers and enjoy a day out in the fresh air. As it is a licenced venue, alcohol may not be brought on course in any form, and may only be purchased there.

I know the J&B Met day had an age restriction of 18 but there is no mention of this aspect in the press release for this Saturday.

The focus is intended, one imagines, as a family fun day out and we hope that the tote outlets, local rags, radio stations – and even Tellytrack , will be advised to try and give it the marketing reach and coverage,   beyond the regulars and Gold Circle members.

It should be a great day out with the long-term weather forecast positive as we go to print.

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Back A Winner

Regulars will be pleased to note that the popular Winners Sports Bar and Betting World outlet in Main Road Parklands is open again after a revamp following a fire on the premises. Ebullient Manager and owner Max Concato says that he and his friendly staff are raring to go in their newly designed, spacious and airy premises. The well-stocked bar under the management of Max’s lovely daughter Sabrina, boasts wide-screen televisions and caters for all popular sporting interests. They will be offering a happy hour and being an honours student himself  amongst the punting ranks, Max is sensitive to and aware of the regular punter bugbears-  like miserable tote tellers, no betmark cards, closing too early and getting smoked out, even in the non-smoking area.

He has both the experienced staff and infra-structure to guarantee a pleasurable punting experience and the added benefit of plenty of free secure parking and a great atmosphere make this one of the best outlets in the Western Cape- and a great shop window for horseracing.

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Chip ‘n Sham

Chippy Taylor and Lunar Lee

The old story of giving a jockey a chance on a half decent horse was illustrated at Arlington on Friday when Chris ‘Chippy’ Taylor was seen at his best when driving Lunar Lee home to win the first leg of the jackpot for the Steenkamp-Sham partnership. He made the cheeky but extremely strong and powerful ‘Iron Man’ Wayne Agrella look like an apprentice on the second-placed Rosette and I noted that he rode the powerful finish with the whip in his left hand. Although a natural right-hander, he tells me that he does this as he has observed all the top jocks favouring the left.   He lists Felix Coetzee and Weichong Marwing as the ‘masters’ on this front.

Chippy has years of international riding experience but has been knocking hard on doors to secure regular decent rides with a competitive stable. He travels to PE every week and rides work for the Shams and  Charlie Roberts. He also picks up some of the Sham lighter weights as Sherman Brown rides at 54kgs plus. He says that he is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to ride the Sham horses in PE  on 11 November as Sherman is riding as a reserve in the Citizen International Jockeys’ Challenge. Marco Van Rensburg, another regular stable jockey , will probably also ride in Johannesburg on that night.

While Brown still has first call on all rides, Chippy says he will be grabbing the opportunity to show that he can ride the winners on the right horses and said that he was appreciative of the support of people like the Shams and Charlie Roberts.”One needs the support of the good people in this game!” he said.

We wish him well.

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