DURBANVILLE Racecourse has a true country feel about it, and that the track is situated in an affluent suburb of Cape Town doesn’t hurt. Last Saturday’s Matchem and Diana Stakes race meeting attracted a festive crowd and Phumelela’s Events and Sales Executive Clyde Basel explained how this was achieved.

He said: “We’ve staged the annual Potjiekos competition on this race day for a few years and it has been well supported, it gets better every year.

“We employed community advertising to reach the market, and having so many potjiekos lovers in one area helped. You don’t need massive budgets when your clients live around the racetrack.

“We got Bok Radio involved. They’re a very popular community radio station that broadcasts from Brackenfell to surrounding areas and have a nice reach. We also advertised in community newspapers.

“We received easy and effective reach via the Boer & Butcher, the most popular butchery in the Durbanville
area, most of the blokes buy their meat there. We also handed out leaflets at traffic lights, the old traditional way.

“As a combo, all these things worked. Families still enjoy a day out, some kids were still on school holidays so parents brought their blankets and picnic baskets to enjoy a day out, and the Potjiekos teams were there in full force.”

Also staged on course was, what has been named, the “Market On The Barn”, an array of curios and food stalls in the area behind the parade ring.

“This was well managed and well supported by the community,” said Basel. “The horses walked along the side of the market on their way to the track and this got the attention of the marketgoers every time. They stepped over to see, went to the parade ring and a number of them had a bet. Fostering a love for the horse and betting is ultimately what feeds racing.”

It was reported that the Owners and Trainers facility and the deck was also packed to capacity, something all of us in racing like to hear.

“We can’t stage an event like this every week, but we’d like to build on the popularity of this one. It’s a good race day and a social event at the right time of year. We’d like to secure a sponsor for the Matchem races for next year, I am pleased to say we’ve already had queries from potential sponsors after Saturday, it’s a good marketing opportunity,” Basel said.

A Beer Festival is planned for Turffontein on Rugby World Cup Day, 23 November. This happens also to be Charity Mile day. A big screen will be erected so that rugby fans can enjoy the action. The game starts at 11am and the feature-packed day-night race meeting will start at 1pm.

Those of us who love racing, have to make an effort at this crucial time to support these events to keep the momentum rolling. The organisers have to keep pushing with innovation in mind, and have their debriefs to eliminate errors and address complaints. Durbanville last Saturday was a drop in the ocean, but it shows that a bit of pointed planning and clever advertising does go a long way

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