where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2022-01-06 08:44:49  
Sad Nature of How Racing is Presented

The ongoing battle to get or train proper presenters on television for South African Horseracing seems to be a never ending issue.

The problem seems to get worse than better as the years go on and the decay of the quality is evident. There isn't a centre in the country that can boast a polished group of presenters who could hold their own on the international stage and they generally look pretty average when they are featured on channels overseas that take our pre race analysis, like Australia's Sky.

Instead of picking out names of the poor base that is set, the better option would be to try to find a solution. The only presenter worth her salt was the hard working Nadine Rapson from Port Elizabeth who combined hard work and dedication with an excellent presentation style pre and post race that is meaningful and accurate. She was let go recently due to her stance on vaccinations.

Presenters aren't always on show for their ability to tip winners, but to present the facts so that punters can decide what to bet on. The combination of presention content and presentation style is also important in order to attract an audience that aren't punters but may be fans of the sport as one would be a fan of the rugby, soccer or cricket.

The key to the package is just that. Have a method and philosophy with the ability to connect with audience, quit worrying about ones ego regarding tipping and focus on delivery to connect.

It also helps to have young and colourful characters. These could be both representation from all population sectors and colourful style of presenting in the mould of Dave Mollet or the tones of the smooth sounding, Rouvaun Smit.

South Africa does not have one black presenter on course and only one in studio. Two of the three Indian presenters available to Kzn Racing are still learning the ropes and have a long way to go to make it. No female presenters of colour, no presenters under 30 of any experience or knowledge are on show.

Sadly, most of any new recruits are learning on the job, without much training, and it isn't the end product that South African racing needs to portray on the international and national stage.

Of the numbers and statistics of our presenters nearly all are above 40 with the majority of those being above 50.

Cape Racing, who sell the vision of attracting a young and vibrant new breed of fans, has no regular on course presenter under 50. No persons of colour bar the one commentator either and just one female.

Joburg presenters are similiar. There are no persons of colour on their books and all bar one is under the 50 year mark.

Kzn is trying to diversify with the 2 Indian lads seemingly under or around thr 30 mark but with little to no experience. Others are all over 40. No female presenters or black presenters are on their books. Presenter Guru and ex top class SABC presenter Martin Locke was recently in Kzn to train both presenters and apprentice jockeys in media delivery amongst other things. This is a great move forward.

The essence of the issue is that if racing is trying to sell itself to a diverse and younger audience it's face needs to portray that. The obvious issue of economics comes into play and very good presenters cannot be paid top dollar as there simply isn't the spare cash available. There needs to be a change in tact from the operators to employ a better quality of presenter or invest in that area. Some inroads have been made but surely there must be a date set or timeline created to bring onboard the correct staff.

This will go a long way to attracting the correct mix at the races and involve a younger audience. People go where they see their own and are attracted to something that is vibrant and colourful. At the moment it is all too drab.

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