It’s a pity if the thinking is that because that, well, this is how it’s always been, so why change now is why racing in Western Australia continues to be the Rodney Dangerfield of racing in Oz- getting no respect and ignored by many “Eastsiders”, often, foolishly, as there are some very good things happening over there- and with even better things able to happen with that great word called Teamwork.
Like the Aussie music industry where few A&R people from Sydney and Melbourne rarely bother making that pilgrimage to Perth and check out some of the very good unsigned and untapped talent there, few who attempt to be seen as visionaries and saviours of the Australian racing industry, remain clueless about, for example, the recent Bunbury meeting.
The racing at Bunbury was excellent with some brilliant rides from visitors Dom Tourneur- this is one VERY underrated jockey finally starting to be noticed- and Noel Callow plus a great turnout- and enthusiasm- which showed a “pride of ownership” rarely seen in race tracks.
We are unabashed fans of WA racing and Perth as a place to visit- convenient to reach from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and other neighboring countries- a city with usually great weather, some great little clubs with very good ‘live’ music, nice people.
It’s a real pity that our old mate promoter Michael Chugg and his partners gave up on holding the OneMovement music conferences and music festival in the city.
We have no idea what made Chuggie and his Chugglets fold up their tents after only two years despite all the talk about Perth being all about location, location, location to a turnout from around the world which included the manager of Coldplay, songwriter Diane Warren, International concert promoters, executives from global brands etc.
One can only assume that OneMovement was not a financially viable product.
As with anything that needs to be “sold” to consumers and the media- and this includes racing in WA- one “can build it” but no one will come if the promotion and the marketing is ineffective.
Puhleeze don’t mention that daft idea called “relaxed racing”, an oxymoron, if there ever was one.
As for the marketing of OneMovement, it was, to put it kindly, piss poor and the lack of communications from some of the organizers- especially the old dear based in Swingabore- had much to do with the event going tits up and flaccid.
With some original thinking, it could have tied itself with horse racing like many brands are doing with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and, in return, getting the hardware- meaning venues- and a ready-made audience on a Wednesday night that averages 12,000.
Like the organizers of OneMovement, no matter how much it thinks it’s doing, the promotion and marketing of racing in WA is just not good enough.
When well-known racing executives and many in the racing media mention how they didn’t even know about the Bunbury meeting and ask if jockey William Pike, who’s riding with so much fire he has to be doused after every race he wins, has “retired”, well whatever “marketing” and promotions being done is just not working.
ItIt reminds us of the movie title, What If They Gave A War And No One Came.
Sure, we hear the same old excuse trotted out from “Eastsiders” about how a destination like Perth is “too far away” and how after the weekend races in Sydney and Melbourne “everyone is knackered”.
Dig deeper and one hears that the REAL reason for ignoring racing from WA is that few know about the riders, the horses, the trainers, the tracks and everything else- more proof positive that, somewhere along the line, marketing of the sport outside of WA needs a major- and immediate- Joan Rivers-type facelift.
However, when someone living in Perth mentioned, “Maybe we don’t WANT many finding out about what we have here?” well, what can one say other than, we hope not.
Racing in Perth, apart from being so underrated and sadly ignored, has one of THE best, if not THE best race-caller in the world in Darren McCauley- not only blessed with almost Richard Burtonesque dulcet tones- but someone who is equal parts caller-raconteur-humorist- and a touch of the old Stewie Shentons, to us, the greatest race-caller of all time.
Anyone who thinks radio racing shows are tedious, formulaic, samey-same affairs where many are gagged and need to play the Corporate game while stranded on the Ship Of Fools, should tune into TAB Radio’s Big The Breakfast show- our favorite racing show and station- and listen to the preview of Saturday’s racing.
The team of McCaulay, Wes Cameron and Ian Lenton is racing’s version of The Office- serious, irreverent, extremely humorous and such a welcome relief from the drone-like rumblings on racing stations like RSN.
Thinking about it, Perth- and racing in WA- should be looking to a city like Hong Kong for tourism and with horse racing being a magnet.
Singapore and- uh oh- Malaysia- are on board, but with the no time difference between the two cities, commingling finally happening, the HKJC having more and more simultaneous broadcasts, surely it’s time those running racing in WA- and heading up tourism-wake up, smell the dim sum and be seen and heard?
Going through George Costanza-type shrinkage and feeling inadequate is not exactly great leadership or batting for the home side.
As the home of the great Damien Oliver, young gun Damien Lane now riding so well in Melbourne, having given Australia so many champion horses plus a great fan of Perth racing in champion Hong Kong jockey Douglas Whyte who rode there last year during Perth Cup Day, there are all the ingredients for marketing success and, really, no excuses why the city- and State- should not be marketed effectively or continue to be ignored and seen as the Rodney Dangerfield of anything.
The potential is there for anyone with even a lobotomy to see.
But often, it’s those so close to the product who can’t or refuse to see the forest for the trees that hold everything back through short-sightedness and parochial corporate navel gazing.