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Deez Dayanand

Deez Dyanand is truly passionate about the racing game.  Ever since he started presenting in 2000 his love and enthusiasm for racing has been obvious to all. It is a joy to see him interviewing the winners after a race as his pleasure for them makes it good for all. He will soon be joining Peter Gibson at Racing South Africa but, luckily, will still be doing his normal presenting job in KZN.

What is your name and age? Deez Dayanand. 39 years young.

Where do you live? Capital of KZN, a stones throw away from the Scottsville Racecourse.

Tell us about your family? I am married to Dr. Soraya Naidoo. Mother-in-law Soundhree lives with us. My mum Meera also resides in PMB. I have a younger sister Ashy and brother Prashant.

How did your love of horse racing come about? My late dad loved the horses, as kids we always played the July. I fondly remember choosing the likes of Lightning Shot, Politician, Over The Air, Gondolier etc… I studied at M.L. Sultan, across the road, Greyville!

Before you became involved in the racing game were you involved in any other businesses? I had many jobs; from being a bar-man in central London, Covent Garden, to working for one of the largest aluminium industries in SA.

Was there any particular personality who influenced you to make racing your full time business? My wife. At home Tellytrack is on 24/7; when she heard this advert come on for a presenter on the channel, she insisted I apply.

When did you start full time interviewing on the racecourse? 2000.

Did you find interviewing trainers, jockeys and owners stressful to start with? I did not know a soul in the racing game. The very same people I idolised I now had to interview. I was given training but nothing can prepare you enough for LIVE television. I was sweating up, very green and in desperate need of the experience.

How easy, or difficult, do you find it to ask difficult or slightly embarrassing questions? At first everything was so new to me and gradually getting to know the personalities, more time in front of the camera, you grow confident and these days I’m more relaxed and at ease with the job.

How much influence have your peers in the racing presenting world had on you or have you tried to do it in your own way? Every presenter has got his/her own style. The gentleman to blame for me being on Tellytrack is Martin Locke. He did the auditions, training of a few potential people for the job and eventually chose me. Thank you Martin Locke for believing in me and changing my life.

What is, for you, the most difficult part of being an on course presenter? Beside tipping winners…. everything else usually runs smoothly.

What is the most embarrassing moment you have had as a presenter to date? I was working at Scottsville; fancied a horse strongly – Promise Keeper 10/1 – trained by Noleen Peech. I went on air, spoke endlessly about the horse – tipped it with confidence, only to find out it had been scratched earlier on in the day. There was not a hole big enough on course. Thankfully these days there is a little studio on course with a monitor, presenters now wear an ear piece and we are given regular up dates with regards to the changes during a race-meeting.

Have you had any nasty experience in racing? Never… from inception the racing community have been supportive and constructive criticism is always welcome.

If you think a horse has not been ridden very well are you willing to say so to the jockey or do you spare him having to answer a question like that? I’m no expert on race riding but if a fancied horse runs poorly, I would get a comment from the stipes and would forward this information to the viewers. If the owner / trainer / jockey of that fancied horse has a winner later on in the meeting, I would then ask them for a comment.

You do the Tellytrack interviews for KZN meetings. How enjoyable do you find going to the training tracks and talking to trainers about the chances of their horses? I LOVE IT. Thursday morning is my favourite time of the week. It’s just unfortunate that more trainers from the different training centres can’t be interviewed. I would if it were possible.

Do you think trainers are generally telling you exactly what they feel or do some still, middle you, as the expression goes? Yes. they are transparent and have nothing to hide; why else would they come on the show?

You are known to have a bet or two. How much does going to the tracks and speaking to trainers and jockeys help you personally when punting? Just like all who watch the show, their comments are a good guide for horses coming off a rest, trying the distance for the first time, how they’re doing with regards to fitness / well being; if there was an excuse for a disappointing last run etc… It helps when making your final selections.

In all honesty do you make a profit from punting? Let’s say… I try as much as possible to play with my winnings. The bigger you win/lose should NEVER be the bigger you play… that’s a recipe for disaster!

Do you know anyone who makes a living from punting and, if so, what sort of bets does he take? Many…we all have met them…you know those guys that NEVER EVER lose and their Ferrari is ALWAYS parked at home!

Which is the best horse you have seen in South Africa? Horse Chestnut.

With the summer season in full swing which horse, or horses, do you think will pay to follow? Gibraltar Blue, Ebony Flyer, What A Winter and I still have a soft spot for Pocket Power.

Which is your favorite horse at the moment? Gibraltar Blue.

Do you ever get nervous before interviewing a very important personality? No…the only time you get nervous is when technically there is complete loss of communication with the producer.




For you personally what has been the most exciting moment of the past year or two? There have been a few.-.working for SABC for VDJ is always exciting. Making the Equus wards movie with Ceicil Mthembu,David Mollet and Clyde Basel was lots of fun.Visiting Newmarket(UK) was an enlightening experience and from the 01/12/10 a new chapter in my career begins working for Racing South Africa.



Are you only involved in racing? No..I am the manager of The Mattress King(PMB)…I’v had a fantastic 18 months with the company but it all ends at the end of November. My passion is for horse-racing and when the opportunity came about to join Racing South Africa it was an ideal career move for me. I start on the first of December.



You have become close up and personal with some of the big names in South African racing. Have any of these personalities had a really big influence on you in racing and in your daily life?  Through racing I have been fortunate to meet many KIND people and it will be wrong for me to only single out a few …there are far too many to mention and I thank them all.





Are all of your family as interested in racing as you are? When I’m around them they have NO choice.



Which is your favourite course in SA? We are blessed in KZN: Greyville…night racing in Durban is spectacular and it’s the home of the July, Clairwood…the Garden Course, Scottsville…with the casino, unique.


In racing,which is the best time of the year for you? SA- KZN Winter Season…it’s the BEST SA horses competing at the highest level,the perfect way to bring down the curtain for the season.

INT-Dubai Racing Carnival…following  the success of our trainers/horses during the carnival leading up to the World Cup meeting.


What is your preferred way to celebrate a big win? It used to be a night of partying but these days i’m far more conservative…



If ever you have some time to have a short holiday where do you like to spend it? At our apartment in north beach Durban…it’s a home away from home.



What do you enjoy most about being a presenter?  Meeting, chatting and sharing views with people that have passion for horse-racing.


If you have to name the most important lesson you have learnt about racing what would you say that is? ALWAYS check your betting ticket and with tele-bet listen to the operator carefully when she/he calls your bet  back… this was an expensive lesson to learn.






Apart from racing what else are you really passionate about?  Golf.


How do spend your free time if you have any? On the golf course. Watch a bit of sport/movies and relax at home with the family….more often than not channel 232 is a MUST.




Are most of your friends connected to racing? ALL my friends….if they were not then it would be me to blame for NOT convincing and converting them to the SPORT OF KINGS.



What is your philosophy on the racing game? Why hope, wish and wait for that white ball to fall on your favourite number when you can make a calculated selection for your wager.




From what you have observed of racing do you think the game is straight? Yes, rough results are expected and fancied horses will get beat. It is the nature of this very competive game.



If you had one piece of advice for your fellow associates in the racing world what would it be? AVANTI!

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