Friday, 12 December 2014


Yesterday I bumped into promoters of the tote PHUMELELA'S Nico Kritsiotis and Vee Moodley at Bedford Center, I chatted briefly to Nico about how empty the new VIP lounge is every day, what a waste, this led us to the exclusion incident on the opening night of the VIP lounge at the Bedford Center tote, I expressed to him as I stated in my article that not inviting us in on opening night was not a good thing for the promotion of the tote as we are all fair size spenders and Patrick in particular is a big spender, now on principle we won’t go there even though its tailor made for avid punters like us, we are always in and out of Bedford Center and have contributed to pools for many years.

Nico politely explained that the opening night was by invitation for betting world account holders only or racegoers with a turnover more than 60k per month, not buying that and having seen otherwise I responded that at the very least he could have excluded me if I by having a voice have become an “enemy” and invite the rest of my party in, after all they equate to turnover, Nico seems to have forgotten that he interviewed me on Telly Track or its equal some years back as one of the biggest and most successful horse betting players in SA, I also suggested that as an alternative he could have let the lovely eye candy ladies open and fill out the betting account forms for the guys who could have brought in their proof of address etc the next day and he would have won over lifetime tote supporters, I then stated that it was my opinion that if it was some big name racing people sitting there instead of us he would have bent over backwards to assist them and would have sprinted over to invite them in, but luckily this was not the case as he probably would have tripped over someone on his knees busy kissing big name butt.

At that point their other guest arrived and I left, as I walked away I could not help myself to wonder why they, who are paid to serve racing and promote the tote never took the opportunity to make amends in any way, they could have offered me a betting voucher or two, I hear they are handed out like candy to those in favour, why exclude me and my circle after all the trouble they went through to promote the tote and down bookmakers on Telly Track recently, was my money really different to everybody else's.

True to form after a (good) few whiskeys Patrick Kalil of Paddy K fame told us he got a message from Vee apologizing for the incident and a promise to make it up to him, maybe I should shut my mouth and get into line, then again maybe not, I wonder how long it will take for Clyde to phone and cancel their ad. will he also cite 'cant afford it' or is that line played out.

As it happened today we got an invite to a braai at bookmaker Mark Micheal’s betting shop in Meyersdal, what a difference, real VIP treatment, no one excluded, the totes loss is the bookmakers gain, just reminded me of all the reasons that bookmakers have such a huge customer base, friendly staff, racing educated, willing to go the extra mile for you the customer, with Mark and Johnny right there attending to your needs, giving stretches without you even asking, in general a very pleasant atmosphere, then I reflected on when Fransie Botha lost his first fight in Australia, bookmaker Lance Michael and some other bookmaking outfits refunded punters their full losing stake because they agreed that the public had been ripped off with the 10 round saga, now how on earth can the tote match that.

Monday, 1 December 2014


Does Brett have a point?,

Is he correct?

Should people running the game be accountable to the racing public and racing industry?

Extract from Bretts comment on Sportingpost article ....What does one do when the NHA can’t even get something so simple right? I suppose they will do one of the following:-
1. Try and spin an argument that they have acted correctly.
2. Sweep it under the carpet;
3. Not respond;
4. Try and discredit me.
5. Remove Larry Wainstein or have him withdraw without acknowledging the reasons


Read about comments made by the Sportingpost and others regarding the International Jockeys Challenge.

Some extracts from the article:

....Joey Ramsden described Turkish jockey Yasin Pilavcilar as “absolutely appalling” and the Sporting Post commented that “when the standards drop to the level of some of the ‘stars’ that rode at Turffontein and Kenilworth then it is time to call it a day.”...

....He pledged that, despite the criticism and the Sporting Post’s suggestion to call it a day, the series will continue...

....“I have a passion for this international series and, if people are going to criticize me, then so be it. I’ve just got to keep my chin up and go for it.”...


Another interesting Sportingpost article is titled Colour Me Purple.

Extracts from this article.....At the same time, there had been an objection from Adv Brett Maselle regarding the legitimacy of allowing jockeys to ride in silks representing their countries, rather than in owners’ colours. When he petitioned the NHA that it was breaking its own rules, the rules were simply amended to accommodate the wearing of ‘international’ silks (see rule 8.3.5). This was processed on 11 November 2011, the day of the first international fixture...

AND..... As the Protea emblem is a national asset and abuse is a punishable offence, the NHA acted correctly in preventing Protea colours being awarded. Unfortunately Mr Wainstein took a rather different view, appearing on Tellytrack to blame Adv Maselle and myself for the stuff up, rather than accepting that it was an organisational shortcoming on his behalf that had let down the jockeys, sponsors and the race going public.....

.....Was racing brought into disrepute? The NHA (of which Mr Wainstein is a director) seems to think not. I doubt it has done much to enhance our credibility however. Given the punishments meted out to folks for daring to question authority, how come our authorities are allowed so easily off the hook when they repeatedly get things wrong?...


Monday, 24 November 2014


Last night saw the opening of the revamped Betting World bookmaker and tote facility at Bedford Center in Bedfordview and the experience blew my mind, but not the way it should have, there was plenty of eye candy hired for the boys and I couldn't help but think of Robyn Louws recent Sporting Post article, soon I wished I had brought my jacket because of the temperature drop and felt sorry for the girls wearing the short skirts.

However even with the pretty girls present there was a poor turnout and the bizarre events that followed served to highlight for me how things have changed in racing, better for some and not so good for racing.

My group of five that headed to the tote to see Nico Kritsiotis and the newly built VIP lounge consisted of Patrick Kalil a well known high roller and racehorse Owner, Jaque Hugo a racehorse owner and avid punter, Frank Aglotti qualified Farrier and one time assistant trainer to his father who trained the unlucky runner up in the Durban July Anytime Baby, Buckly Pretorius an ex boxer who fought the great sporting legend Brian Mitchell twice as an amateur and is now a sport betting fanatic and then myself who founded the South African Racegoers Association in the eighties then became South Africa's biggest horse player in the nineties and as well as the innovator and founder of, so collectively we are the type of players racing needs, hardened gamblers, we and others like us are exactly who the VIP lounge managers and racing administrators in general should be targeting and trying to keep in racing.  
When we arrived at the tote there was a small handful of invited guests sitting around in the general area waiting for the VIP lounge to open officially, seated amongst them was the RA's Larry Wainstein, and champion punter Mike Rafel.

I lead my group into the VIP lounge to have a quick look, it was nicely done out, Nico was the proud host and looked happy wearing a Betting World shirt, he greeted us warmly and kindly allowed us two minutes to look around before letting us know that the VIP lounge has entry restrictions and is only for Betting world account holders or players with a turnover of 60k per month, as I am not a Betting World account holder and had no way of showing my monthly turnover we promptly retreated and sat in the general area at a already half filled table where a few seats appeared open, we were soon chased away by a very upset tote frequenter who pointed out his half finished packet of peanuts left on the table which he said was his marker, we then tried our luck in the smoking section but had to leave as it was too much smoke for us non smokers, lucky for us the VIP area opened and the groups vacated tables in the unrestricted area so we quickly sat down and remained there for the duration of the night, this is the longest time I have spent in a tote in the last 20 years, normally 15 minutes is what I do at a time.

Not once did the racing ambassadors present think it might be a good marketing move for racing to invite us inside the VIP lounge to help fill the space, yes I know it does not make a difference one way or the other to them but it does to racing.

The problem with salaried men has always been complacency and unfortunately the main focus falls on the jobs perks rather than the games objectives.

At one stage during the night Buckly asked the security guard to go inside the VIP lounge and call Larry Wainstein because he wanted to ask Larry for a betting voucher, shortly thereafter Larry's brother Ricky arrived at our table and said "Sorry boys i cant help you guys, its not what you know in this game that counts but who you know" and he disappeared back into the VIP area quicker than he appeared.

Buckly commented at various times about us moving inside the VIP lounge based on the fact that there were plenty of VIP badges laying unclaimed at the reception area and that someone clearly had made a miscalculation as to how many people would attend, however the rest of us were not prepared to Gate crash.

Buckly was soon proved correct when at about race six Nico wandered out of the VIP area to our table and asked if we would like something to eat as there was plenty food left. Soon lots of hot food was brought out to the unrestricted area and it was very well appreciated by the general tote population, Patrick and Frank had counted one very hungry tote visitor having eight helpings.

Well done boys long may the gravy train continue, but don't you think since you live off the game that you should still keep racing's needs somewhere in the back of your minds. you missed out on the perfect opportunity to fulfil one of racing's main objectives and by you not having the common courtesy to invite us into "YOUR" VIP lounge you also missed a great chance to get some good racing press coverage on which by the way has a database of five thousand ardent racing fans, you must have forgotten that Formgrids accompanied Racing South Africa to the world racing conference in Hong Kong earlier this year and shared the stand with Racing SA representing our countries racing, also you must have forgotten that we have over a thousand race players on Formgrids every day from all over the world, egg on your face not ours, we do our bit and more for the game, but your oversight and delight has not done the positions you hold in the game proud, you are right there is no one we can complain to except perhaps our five thousand strong database.

Robyn Louws recent Sporting Post article

Interesting Sportingpost Article by Leon Smuts from Scoreline Wagering Enterprises (Pty) Ltd.

Are Operators Missing The Point?

Monday, 17 November 2014


Why on earth would the Racing Association, a body structured to do good for the industry, send a representative to make an offer to buy ?, ...because they saw the value it contributes to the industry.

The buyout was rejected

So because the RA can't own Formgrids does this lessen the value and good Formgrids brings to the game.

Is it about ownership of Formgrids

The RA was NOT established as a profit seeking business enterprise, rather it was structured as a body to do good for the horseracing industry, it's role is to to look after the owners AS WELL AS TO SUPPORT and HELP DEVELOP all sectors of the game, this is stated in it's own MISSION STATEMENT, so why does it not assist and support

Formgrids is the exact project type that the RA has a mandate to assist and promote.
Why the non assistance and silence, is it personal?

The RA is not a profit making business, it was not set up for making of money for individuals or shareholders, it was established to do good in racing

Formgrids showcases and supports the sport of horseracing in South Africa.

Monday, 10 November 2014


For 10 long years a small team has sacrificed much to keep Formgrids going for the benefit of the South African racing sport/ industry, its driven by myself the founder and funder of Formgrids, we have kept it going without charging the user and without much help from within the industry.
Formgrids is extensively used by many different sectors of role players, Professionals which include Jockeys, Trainers, Owners, Breeders, and Punters for various reasons, this cannot be disputed, why then is there no back up, support or development aid coming from within the industry.

The industry role players are more than well paid and have an obligation to the rest of the industry and to racing itself, which is to build and develop the industry, there is instruction and provision allocated in certain structures for the development of racing, That Formgrids qualifies for assistance cannot be disputed, although unbelievably this is disputed by role players who have failed to help in anyway a work in progress that so well promotes and showcases South African horseracing.

Formgrids does more promoting of racing around the globe than thousands of overpaid executives could ever do, it is and has for many years been achieving objectives important to the South African horseracing industry so why don’t we get support. A quick glance at the Formgrids stats from Google can show even the most stubborn antagonist just how important this tool has become to the sport/industry since its conception in South Africa about 10 years ago. If the stats do not convince you of Formgrids importance to the game then a quick glance at the names and comments on the testimonial page will slam the point home.

Why do racings trustees refuse to help Formgrids, the funds don’t come out of their own pockets, its funds belonging to the racing industry generated from some of the very people that use Formgrids daily, this money should be used to assist projects like Formgrids which has proved itself beyond question, is it because I formed the South African Racegoers Association many years ago and publicly criticised the Jockey Club regarding slack control of the industry, or is it because of the conjecture and speculation and misunderstanding of how I managed to pull off so many betting coups which upset certain people, or is it because I was the spokesperson on track at Gosforth Park when punters invaded the track and stopped racing after the Flaming Gun incident that embarrassed the industry, I ask this because clearly this lack of assisting a real racing tool is aimed at me personally and not at Formgrids, because you cannot dispute the good Formgrids does for the industry.

The industry has many theme race-days and a fortune is spent on the marketing and promotion of such events, "if we get ONE new racegoer/owner it is all worth it" is what is said almost desperately by the organizers of these events, and they are applauded, bravo, someone is doing something to help rebuild the flagging industry. the term "The game needs young blood" is on every ones lips, much money and effort is rightfully spent on finding and keeping new owners/racegoers, both are important and play a part in keeping the game alive, the two go hand in hand, so why overlook a proper racing tool which caters for your direct market. It makes no sense.

A while ago the Racing Association offered to buy Formgrids outright for a tidy sum of money, the offer was refused, the offer alone is an admittance of the recognition of Formgrids worth to the industry, yet still we get no assistance or even pointed in the right direction where help can be gained, is this attitude good for racing, surely if you recognize its worth to the game but you cant own it you should still assist it for the good of the game, this does not make much sense especially when the mission statement of the RA is:

"To protect and support the interests of the sport of horseracing in general and, in particular, the interests of the owners by working through the racing association board of directors and management to ensure that every aspect of the racing industry realizes its greatest potential".
The welfare and well being of racing falls on EVERYBODY, all participants, yes, that means YOU, even if all the cream goes to shareholders pockets via the corporate Phumelela, we all know how they have benefited by selling off racing's irreplaceable assets, we accept there will always be takeout merchants in any industry, but racing has to be kept alive and healthy for the sake of future generations and for the hundreds of thousands of everyday South Africans that earn a living out of the sport. It doesn't suit racing to be fed just enough to be keep it alive in order for it to be bled for shareholders profits, racing MUST be nursed back to health, it is the responsibility of every one that has a love for the game to pitch in and help the sport until one day when maybe a new structure can be put in place where Phumelela will become just a gaming company and a new company is formed to market and develop racing.

Formgrids was always meant to be a free service for all users, the thought process being if you give the player the best possible racing information to asses a race he will spent his gambling rand on horseracing rather than on other forms of gaming, more turnover means more takeout which funds the industry and the stakes pot, we have turned down many good offers from bookmakers who have wanted and still want to advertise on our site, we have supported the tote and therefore the stakes pot, we do this to our own detriment, we will continue to keep some aspects of Formgrids free but may have to charge if no help is forthcoming from the industry.

We thank Gold Circle for its contribution to helping towards covering some of the running costs also TBA, CTSand all our other advertisers who have supported Formgrids.

No one is saying that Formgrids can cure all the ills of racing but neither can one can deny its positive role in uplifting the sport/industry.