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11/7/2003 edition

Cox Plate Admission
It's Over The Top

Moonee Valley Racing Club has announced that admission to this year's Cox Plate will increase to an $50 from an already ridiculously high $40. Think about it. $50 to attend a horse racing meeting where the main focus is betting.

What casino charges admission prices? What pokies venue charges admission prices?

It seems the marketing gurus have been called in to change our attitudes about paying an arm and a leg to attend a horse racing meeting.

It seems the marketing gurus are going to try and convince us we are going to an international event, and that it is cheap entertainment compared to other sporting events such as the AFL Australian Rules Football Grand Final.

It seems the marketing gurus have been called in to make us help pay for the huge increases in Cox Plate prizemoney as it competes with leading international races - prizemoney that is usually distributed to wealthy owners, wealthy trainers and wealthy jockeys.

Well the marketing gurus won't fool me. I will definitely not be going to the Cox Plate meeting this year. If I want to bet on horses I'm not going to be down $50 before I even start betting.

It wasn't that long ago that the Moonee Valley Racing Club proudly boasted that admission to the Cox Plate was no dearer than for any other race day at Moonee Valley. So it should be. No matter what you want to say, when it comes right down to it, the Cox Plate meeting is all about betting on horses. Take the betting away and who'd be interested?

That gets rid of the "entertainment" and "It's an event" arguments.

Fancy trying to convince us that the $50 admission compares favourably with the AFL Football Grand Final admission price of around $150. For entertainment I'll take the AFL Football Grand Final any day over a Cox Plate meeting.

The AFL Grand Final provides two hours of entertainment, not two minutes. There are also thousands of passionate supporters of the teams involved. Who are the thousands of passionate supporters of Northerly or Lonhro who follow the horses around the country, cheering the horses on, win or lose?

The Cox Plate is ultimately not about entertainment. It's all about gambling.

It's about time racing authorities realised that without betting there would be no interest whatsoever in their product. That's right. Without betting noone would care two hoots about what horses are racing and where they are racing. Racing cannot survive without betting. Racing cannot generate any interest without betting.

So you cannot compare racing and price racing like products that generate genuine interest in the product itself, like football of all codes and cricket, sports that are entertaining in themselves and do not rely upon betting to make people interested

So let's cut out all this nonsense about racing being great entertainment. Basically, Moonee Valley, you are charging punters $50 to enter your racetrack and have a bet with bookmakers. And of course you are relying on your marketing gurus to convince the once-a-year racegoers that they will be getting good value at $50 paying for world class entertainment.

Let's face it. Admission to horse racing meetings should be priced along the same lines as casinos - free.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Comment - Cox Plate admission is over the top
Betting myths - wet tracks
Betting myths - horses dropping back in distance
Betting favourites in small fields
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Money talks - Rosehill betting tips from the track
Money talks - Flemington betting tips from the track
Money talks - Sunshine Coast betting tips from the track
Money talks - Cheltenham betting tips from the track
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 4/7/2003
Punt to Win index

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