I know how theories, conspiracy and other, abound in racing circles, but I feel compelled to also express my concern re Racing in Cape Town (SP mailbag issue 1663), and hope by doing so to encourage some ‘official’ response and clarity.
Some of the opinions being discussed at the Cape tracks these days remind one of the fears around the change of government in the 90’s, when hoarding of tinned food was being recommended. But I have to agree that it does feel as though there is a deliberate and orchestrated campaign to minimise the importance of Cape racing, and to understate the role that the WCape plays in the racing economy.
We’re all aware that ‘it’s about turnover’, and that the region which has the highest turnover dictates – though that is something that ought to be challenged too. Does quality of horseflesh and horsemen, occasion, tradition, weather and racing surface count for nothing? But that’s another matter.
What is disturbing is that facts and figures can get manipulated and skewed to the extent that they reflect what they are desired to reflect. For eg. what region does on-line tote betting get credited to, or cell phone calls to Telebets? The fact that the Cape seldom has stand-alone meetings? The amount of time allocated to a preview of Cape racing vs time spent on KZN or Gauteng racing (well I suppose it’s the turnover story again, as Gauteng certainly gets far more promotion on TTrack than the other centres). The Sunday morning Under Starters Orders show had interviews of KZN trainers, the Cape none. Not even a phone call to a trainer. Even the fact that Cape and KZN shared the Sunday, after the Vaal 2-day (both stand-alone) racemeetings. Why would Gold Circle stage both their meetings on the same day? They could have raced Greyville on Sat night – it makes no sense!
A Quartet carry-forward went to the last race at Greyville on Sunday (as well as a Trifecta and Exacta), a maiden plate, yet the Cape had a MR 79 event – who decides that, and why do we seemingly have no Cape representative championing our cause?
All this perpetuates and in fact exacerbates the ‘lower turnover’ situation. And the nett effect of lower turnover is lower stakes, the implications of which I need not go into.
Add to this the messy ‘musical chairs’ being played at Gold Circle board level, and the slap in the face of the WCape when it was revealed that (reportedly) in the fine print of the merger agreement between KZN and the Cape, only a member of the KZN ‘chapter’ can hold the position of Chairperson – did no-one realise that before appointing a very eminent individual who hails from the Cape to the position? Imagine the glee when examining the document under a magnifying glass and discovering the clause – the whole affair is just damn embarrassing!
As to what would be gained by whom if WCape racing was brought to its knees – who knows? I suspect it’s power. And control. Of the whole entire bang-shoot. Weaken, divide, conquer, and rule.
A thought just struck me – if all Cape horseracing players only punted on WCape racemeetings, would that improve our stats, and give us a bigger say in the racing industry? That’s a bit like bussing persons into a region in order to bolster the votes – we couldn’t possibly do that!
The silence from our elected leaders is in itself disturbing – we require reassuring, and leadership!
Another despairing Owner – via email