Racing’s Bermuda Triangle

Fairview 5 August

Crowded House. Racing is a popular sport.

The meeting scheduled for Fairview racecourse on Friday 5 August has been abandoned due to unsafe underfoot conditions as a result of the inclement prevailing weather. We think so , anyway. Not exactly breaking news that, but as a punter surfing the operator and tote websites, you would find absolutely no reference or explanation for the vanishing of the Eastern Cape meeting.

Communication meltdown or patent lack of customer empathy? It is difficult to fathom out why simple processes are not put into place by the racing and totalisator operators to ensure that relevant information is conveyed quickly and concisely to whoever needs to know it. It’s called customer service. It’s called being professional. It’s called winning the confidence of the customer. You know, that  guy that funds the stakes. That  pays the salaries. That keeps the wheels turning. Yes, him.

Let’s just look at an example of an office or home bound  punter who intends popping out at noon during his lunch-break to put his Fairview Place Accumulator on. He is looking forward to it as the fields are well patronised and the prospects of a healthy payout  look strong. A quick visit to the Tabgold website at around 11h00 would have shown that the going was posted as ‘good to soft’ and that,amongst other changes , jockey Felix Coetzee was not riding. So he records  his card changes and selections and walks down to the tote.

But his entrance is shattered by a glum graveyard of a few sad faces. ‘It’s off’ is the general comment. Oh, really? The power  or Fairview? There’s a cursory Tellytrack slide. At least somebody told them. Acceptance and resignation kicks in.

Marketing? The big days happen - it's the ordinary meetings that are dead.

Not so strangely, there is no marketing or encouragement anywhere to try a Brighton PA as the day’s only alternative option. There is no communication or attraction at all. There are Betting Sheets for sale though. They obviously don’t need the betting turnover. So he returns to the office.

This is where it gets interesting. He is back on to the Tabgold website. Fairview as a venue no longer exists. Last Sunday’s Canon Gold Cup result is still there. No mention of Fairview though. They’ve done it before but surely they haven’t sold another racetrack? So quick? Maybe it was a cash deal. No bond required by the purchaser.  But couldn’t they at least have given us notice?

The thoughts flash through his mind. Lets go on to the Saftote site. Maybe there is some news there. Nothing.  Something about Mr Black Tom and Anton Marcus on the home page. Don’t be stupid – obviously it’s right here. Let’s click on ‘News’. The top story screams out – ‘Phumelela have bought a new starting stall gate for Fairview’. Now he is very confused. He checks the calendar. It’s 5 August, not 1 April. What’s going on?

Customers. Who looks after them?

As a final resort he goes on to the Gold Circle website. ‘NHRA lays down the law’ shouts the first article he sees. That’s good. At least somebody is doing something. But the article speaks of regulatory double standards and says that jockeys can cheat and waste punters money in minor races, they just mustn’t do it in features. Because then the NHRA are going to get really pissed off. But there is still nothing about Fairview and the meeting that once was.

Oddly enough had punters skipped the service websites and gone directly to the scotfreeracingwebsite, they would have been informed at 10h21 already. Besides ‘Titch’ posting and kindly informing us, there was additional information from ‘Sham Racing’ about Arlington and Fairview and the weather conditions.

It’s a sad shame when the customer has to resort to the much maligned ‘renegade forums’ to source his absolutely basic information and to find out what is going on. But until the operators get their act together and get with the 21st century way of communication, then we can only thank heavens for the existence of the scotfreeracingwebsite and the African Betting Clan

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