J&B Met Celebrates Thirty Years As South Africa's Premier Horse Race
The J&B Met, South Africa's most prestigious horse race celebrates its 30th anniversary on 27 January 2007. Cape Town's premier social event, which has become an integral income generator to both tourism and the fashion industry in the Western Cape, is now one of the longest running sponsorships in South African sport.
The event, Justerini and Brooks' largest international sponsorship, now boasts a R2 million stake, specifically increased for the 30th anniversary.
The J&B Met is far more than just another big event on the racing calendar. It is a link with the very beginnings of racing in South Africa, dating back to the early eighteen hundreds when "officers of the Army and Navy, the Gentlemen and respectable inhabitants of the Colony" became the founding members of the South African Turf Club.
In those early days, the best horseman saddled the best horses and rode against each other, to "impress the ladies of the town". Little has changed in that the J&B Met attracts sixteen of the best horses in the land over 2 000 meters and compete in front of record crowds of over 50 000 cheering spectators.
J&B Met day became a day of understated elegance and a day that Cape Town showcases its true colours. Over the years J&B introduced a fashion theme to the event, more of an assisting factor than anything else. The theme this year is Black, White and Bling.
The fashion highlight of the afternoon is J&B Most Elegant Couple competition. Due to its popularity and importance, it is now divided into two competitions, the semi finals on the new hospitality village stage and the finals on the main stage. Prizes on offer regularly include sought-after vacations to premier resorts and tens of thousands of Rands worth of fashion vouchers.
The event is responsible for pumping millions of Rands into the Cape Town fashion industry. A recent economic impact study estimated that R18 million was spent on outfits alone for this social event at a time when the fashion industry is at the change of seasons and in sale mode.
Over the years, new pre-promotions have been added. One of the more successful is J&B Met Shopping Center competition and the J&B Met Rail competition, which encourages both shopping centers and fashion boutiques specifically, to brand their venues with specially created J&B merchandise.
Media campaigns then direct the public to these outlets to view fashion at reasonable prices.
The Cape Town City and V&A Waterfront authorities brand the city with J&B Met flags, turning the city a sea of yellow for J&B Met Day.
The day itself has over the years become one of the major social events on the Cape Town calender. The white-tented hospitality village comprises South Africa's top companies who entertain over 5 000 "A list" guests in lavish style.
The picnic spots across the track, boast a waiting list from one year to the next. The grand stand and all its restaurants and dining rooms are booked by Turf Club members, leaving the lawns for thousands of students and groups to organize group picnics.
The land inside the Kenilworth Racecourse is home to at least 275 indigenous plant species, of which no less than 22 are registered as Red Data plant species - those that are internationally recognized as being threatened with extinction. This represents the highest number anywhere on the globe for an area of similar size.
So important is this land, that Gold Circle are in the process of declaring the sensitive 45 hectares in the center of the racecourse as one of Cape Town's newest Nature Reserves.
J&B also use the event to raise awareness about the environmental uniqueness of the Kenilworth Racecourse and to make sure that the right steps are taken to protect the sensitive vegetation during the event.
Tickets for the J&B Met are available through designated Gold Circle's totes around Cape Town and cost R120 each and include a race card and a betting voucher. Ticket enquires can be made by calling Kenilworth Race Course on (021) 7001600.