Durban July had 30k viewers on YouTube


It is easy to criticise South African racing sometimes. Let’s be fair, some of the decisions made in this racing jurisdiction are atrocious. However, let’s give credit where it’s due, writes JOAO DA MATA.

I cannot be prouder of last Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July Day coverage. I have spoken to so many people over the last 18 months about using YouTube as the broadcasting medium and, lo and behold, my and other suggestions made it through to the hierarchy and the whole meeting on Saturday was streamed live with uninterrupted perfection! And free to boot.

Wow, could it be that there are indeed some folks there who are using their lateral minds? Yes, is the answer. At its peak on Saturday, I saw over 3000 viewers tuned to the VDJ Youtube broadcast (I must admit I never watched it all day). But hey, that would have been 3000 happy clients and this morning’s statistics show that over 33,000 views were registered in total.

The result of the July made me so happy as well. I didn’t tip the winner, my selection was badly interfered with at a crucial stage of the race and ran a gallant fourth. But the winner – another WOW! – what a fairytale for trainer Michelle Rix, her dad Harold Crawford and her owner Ashwin Reynolds, incidentally the first owner of colour in the Durban July’s 125-year history to win the race.

In my article written for the Sporting Post I predicted a stellar 4-year-old career for three-year-old Kommetdieding, but he is an advanced and talented thoroughbred and delivered like a very smart horse on Saturday.

The rest of the day was okay. The IRC’s Maiden Sikhulu ran a cracker in the BSA Sales Cup, beaten just two-and-a-half lengths by the G1 performer Bard Of Avon while GGs Dynasty, who had knocked on the pearly gates many times, made a remarkable comeback in the last. He was beaten just over three lengths into fifth in a Listed Race.

The IRC will be forever grateful to all the veterinarians, trainer Peter Muscutt, our own Laura and of course Mike de Haast for persevering with this horse. I recall a late-night conversation with Mike about the impending ‘vet’ bill and how the ‘easy way out’ was to put him down. But that is not the the IRC way and after months of struggle, rehab, blood sweat and tears, GG’s Dynasty is back. Well done all.

The sad part of the day was the loss of former Cape Derby winner Atyaab in the stayer’s race on the card and I felt so sad for our friends Suzette and Basie Viljoen, people whom we have known since the start and have raced with, and who loved this horse with a passion. My message to Suzette was simple. “My friends, this is the best, worst sport!”

That brings me to the mechanics of racing and how it can really be the best and the worst. Racing is not for the faint hearted. When 12 horses go to post and 1 horse wins, that’s the business we are in. Loss is the single sure factor for the majority in our sport.

Look at it like this: In Frankel’s career he won 14 races. Yet, I reckon Prince Khalid sent out near 200 runners that lost during that same period.

Back to YouTube and getting things right. It’s vital to get everything in place, and carried out with professionalism, especially but not limited to big race days. Top quality racing broadcasts enable us to share the moments that make memories with many. Saturday’s ‘July’ meeting was held with no crowds and no owners. Yet we, some of us far away in other parts of the world, felt fully included and that mattered.

The IRC has long had a philosophy that no matter where our horse/s run on the day, we will have the best time and that is the only way to look at racing. We compete, we contribute to the day and the sport, and we try our best always.

Finally, I leave you with the following. Last week Tuesday at a small UK racecourse called Brighton, a horse called Winnetka, sporting the IRC silks (essentially the SA flag), ran a gallant second after leading for almost the entire journey.

Winnetka is owned in the latest IRC Syndicate by many different people from all walks of life and across two hemispheres and multiple continents. We are the only real International Racing club. When you join us you have access to over 35 racehorses on three continents and we’re growing. Becoming a member is affordable and we do it in once-off payments that cover you for a year.

Check out this landing page and give us a call.

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