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Dave Scott

Dave Scott speaks about horseracing, happy days and, well, more horseracing!

Dave scott

Another tough day in Africa

South Africa’s biggest horseracing chat forum is run by an irrepressible and colourful Scotsman who divides his waking hours with another time consuming passion. Besides the African Betting Clan forum, Dave Scott also operates the aptly named Hangover Sports Bar in Pretoria. While he proudly admits that he is treated ‘like a king’ by Gold Circle, he feels that politics and power struggles continue to plague the sport of kings in this country.

What is your name and do you have any nicknames?

Dave Scott, aka Scotia. And possibly a few others!

When and where were you born and please tell us about your upbringing.

I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1951

It was not always easy in those days with the milk run, the paper run, serving an apprenticeship, working as a cocktail barman at night and then also working in a bookmaker at weekend.

If you try and tell the kids these days they just won’t believe you.

Sort of a bit like the Yorkshireman on Monty Python!

What line of business were you involved in during your working career?

I was in electronics and was an engineer. I went on to run the plant for Grinaker Electronics ( Grinel) for 20 years.

Then I moved on to become a GM of a company supplying wiring harnesses to the motor industry and then a manufacturing and HR Consultant to mainly the motor industry.

I now have a pub, the Hangover Sports Bar, which is located in Pretoria

Dave and Sue on that happy day so long ago

Dave and Sue on that happy day so long ago

Tell us about your family

I have been married to a lovely lass, Sue, for over 40 years now and have 2 magic kids.

Kelly is 33 and Lee is 26 and they both live in Jo’burg. Probably because Dad lives in Pretoria and he is a bit over the top for most families!

Why settle in SA?

I was offered a job in Australia but we felt it was a bit far away. Plus the SA government paid our flights. It was very difficult at first but we have grown to love SA.

How and when was your interest in horseracing nurtured?

I worked for a bookie and my granny used me to place bets with a bucket shop.

I would say that Lucky Jim was my first big horse but Greyhound and Mill Reef played their part in getting me hooked.

Where is the ABC going in the next five years?

We are going to hang in and also have a few upgrades planned. It is still going from strength to strength.

Is the ABC a hobby or a financially viable business?

It’s a hobby, much the same as the Formgrids situation for David and the ABC income from banners basically covers the wages and the overheads.

Tell us about how it all started

We copied the concept from Betfair as we believed a forum was needed for the SA punting market. It has certainly taken off!

What is your single worst experience on the ABC?

We have had a few bad experiences over the years mostly caused by bitter people using the platform for personal attacks and leading to many lengthy and threatening phone calls and mails. But I feel that we have made great strides in eradicating this.

Do you feel the ABC has a role to play in the broader picture of SA racing?

Most definitely! It incorporates a vast encyclopedia of racing knowledge from a very mature and diverse client base.

Dave and Deez Dayanand

Dave and Deez Dayanand

ABC detractors often refer to the ‘phantom posters’ as being the reason they won’t interact on the forum. Is this a valid excuse and have you ever considered enforcing true identity?

Interestingly, this is just one of the aspects we are currently looking at implementing. It is intended that soon all new members will be asked to provide ABC with proof of Identity or register using their real names. If they choose not to, they will be able to read only and not participate.

Long term members can continue to use aliases as normal ( we know who 90% of our members are anyway) but members that hardly post and have not earned ‘trust points’ might be asked for contact details or to re-register.

Is the ABC a free-for-all or is there a line drawn on censorship?

We have a definite draw –the-line attitude but can assure you it is not easy to manage at times as everyone is an expert on how the site should be run.

But make no mistake, we make the call, right or wrong.

Who on earth is Hibernia on ABC?

He is Robert Brogan and is the man who basically runs the site. He has had a long hard fight against cancer so this is just another challenge for big Bob and I hope one day to bring him to SA and take to the tracks.

Are you a big gambler by nature?

Unfortunately yes. But I have cut back over the last few years.

Do you own any racehorses?

My last two were injured in the last month.

Miss Diana has gone to stud and Budweiser Boy has retired to a good home. But we are always keeping an eye out for any well priced champions.

What happened to the ABC Syndicate of owners?

We are still here and have the colours registered and in place. It is lots of admin but really worth it when we had a winner.

Proud Dad and his beautiful daughter

Proud Dad and his beautiful daughter

Who is your favourite trainer and jockey?

The Shams gave us a great time and experience of racehorse ownership in Port Elizabeth, crowned with superb feedback.

Piere Strydom and Anton Marcus are superb jockeys but Lester Piggott was the king.

What is the best centre to race at in this country?

The Shams have changed our perceptions and I now enjoy PE. But the hospitality in Durban is always great and the facilities at the big T are world-class. So each has its own merits.

The Racing Association has its detractors and supporters. Where does Dave Scott stand?

I did try hard to open communications but the ABC is not really recognized. I also put plenty of effort and time into photographs and news to promote the RA Awards etc.

But our door remains open and maybe we should revisit a better relationship as we are all in this to promote horseracing.

The NHA polices the sport. Are they good cops or bad cops?

I could write a book from the forum extracts over the years and they really should start and look at more consistency in decisions.

South African horseracing is in good hands. True or false?

Mmmm. I find that the horse-lovers are in PE and Durban and the number crunchers are here in Jo’burg .

I would like to see a happy medium with them all working together as there is far too much politics and power struggles at play.

With Dave Mollett plotting racing's future

With Dave Mollett plotting racing’s future

What do you feel about the Tellytrack-Bookies squabble?

Absolutely disgusted. I have voiced my opinion and it has patently backfired on Tellytrack with their international on/off fiasco.

There has been a positive for ABC though through the streaming links to world class viewing via the site.

Do export protocols make any sense to you and have we done enough to resolve the issues?

Also a shocking state of affairs. It is very unfair and we have proven time and again that we have world class horses at an unfair advantage.  If we could resolve it, SA horseracing would get the injection it badly needs (and bloody deserves!) on the world stage

Do you personally enjoy media accreditation at SA racecourses and how are you treated?

I am treated like a king by Gold Circle and it’s much appreciated

What is your favourite major race and what makes it better than all the rest?

I remain a lover of UK racing and the jumps. Cheltenham, King George at Ascot and then Kempton were probably my best experiences as a guest of Betfair.

Locally, I believe there is little to choose between the July and the Met.

What is your favourite July memory and have you ever backed a winner?

I have backed many July winners, strangely! Those range from Flaming Rock to Igugu, who individually were my biggest winners. But when I was a bookie, there was an objection and they changed the result to Space Walk, which was my biggest ever swing in fortune!

Are you going to the July next week and please tip us a Durban July trifecta straight line?

I will be there but have not made my final selection yet. But I will be posting it next week and will be having a few bigger bets on other races on the big day.

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