The first thing that strikes you about the Mascom National Derby rooster is the list of bewitching names that have been given to the horses taking part in the race ÔÇô Writes SUNDAY STANDARD REPORTER
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but would a horse without a striking first name be as likely to savor the smell of success in the Mascom National Derby?
Owners of horses that competed in the event that was billed for yesterday (Saturday) morning did not take any chances.
What pops into your mind when you see or hear the word Kamanakao? Is it instant name recognition of the Ngamiland tribe that has been on newspaper headlines for the past five years?
What about Emang Basadi? Local women have been rallying around the name and most Batswana still refer to women rights activists as Emang Basadi.
How about Classic? Does an image of a winner speeding out of the gate always one step ahead of a hapless competitor surface?
What is in a name? It is everything when it comes to marketing and luring cellphone owners to reach for their handsets and SMS a bet for your horse.
Switched on marketers are constantly seeking ways to keep their products innovative and available to the angling consumer under a bewitching title.
Dinte Morula from Maun named his Tswana breed nimble footed horse “Emang Basadi” after the local woman’s rights organization. “She is faster than lightning and has left a lot of his male competitors sniffing dust on her wake. I named her Emang Basadi hoping that she would inspire local women to emulate her and beat their men folk.”
Emang Basadi has a number of first prize wins under her belt and was strongly tipped to win the Tswana breed contest of the Mascom National Derby.
She is, however, facing a strong challenge from her younger male sibling who goes by the equally bewitching name of “Challenge.”
This is the first time that Challenge will be taking to the race course, but Morula, his proud owner, says with such a pedigree, she is only expecting the best from his horse. “I am dropping down a challenge to anyone who dares take it up, hence the name.”
Another name on the Tswana category rooster is Kamanakao, named after an Ngamiland tribe that has been fighting for recognition. Its owner, Moanaro, gave it the name because the horse with legs of lightning “has got issues”. No one, however, was prepared to shed light on the issues.
One of the biggest attractions in the cross breed category is Classic, a hybrid between a thoroughbred and a pony. Classic, who is dwarfed by all his competitors, however, can match any name in the category ÔÇô stride for stride. His owner,
Roland Puss Wright, from Maun, is convinced that smart money will bet on the nimble footed midget who has eight first prize wins to her name. “If you want to know why I named him Classic, just look up the name in the dictionary. The first dictionary meaning of classic is “deserving to be accepted as one of the best or most important of its kind.”
Other names on the rooster are: Chairman, Forklift, Red Bull, Red Heart, Speed Limit, Respect (did not race due to ill health), Reckless, Speed Fire, AIDS, Jealous Coat e.t.c
The race, organized by Mascom and the Nhabe Horse Race Company, was held at the Tlokweng VDC Stadium, near the main Tlokweng shops.
Usually organized by the Nhabe Horse Race Company, horse races have been held in the Maun and Ghanzi areas in the past and have gained popularity. Mascom has been involved in these races on a small scale.
However in this case, the mobile operator was the main sponsor. It is the first time in recent times that horse races have been held in the Gaborone area.
The decision to sponsor the races to this magnitude and to bring them to Gaborone was born from a desire to help the horse owners and Nhabe Horse Race Company present an event for this region of the country.
“The Mascom National Derby gives Mascom the opportunity to bring a new and exciting avenue of entertainment to the public. It also gives Batswana horse owners and jockeys the opportunity to develop the standards of horse racing by competing against one another and winning prizes when they perform well,” said Mascom Chief Marketing Officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni.
“The public gets to watch live horses racing and the day will be filled with musical entertainment and draws for various prizes. In addition, Mascom subscribers have the opportunity to join in the fun by predicting which horse will win which race.
As they vote they will be winning free airtime and they will also stand a chance to win cash prizes on the day if the horse they thought would win, actually does win”, she said.
The way the races will work is simple; three different horse breeds will be competing on the day; Tswana breed, Cross breed and thorough breed. To select which horses will complete in the finals of each category, the horses of each breed will compete in heat races.
The fastest horses from each heat will be the ones that compete in final races for each breed category. The names of the horses that will be competing per category are publicized in local media. Mascom customers have the opportunity to predict a winner in any of the breed categories; each category has a corresponding sms number:
Tswana Breed is 14477; Cross Breed is 14488 and Thoroughbred is 14499. When predicting a winner, a customer has to send an sms to the relevant sms code, stating which race they are predicting for and the name of the horse that they think will win (ie. if one wants to predict a winner for the first heat of the Tswana breed horses, they sms TswanaH1 and the name of the horse they want to choose to 14477).
By predicting, they may get free airtime and if the horse they choose wins that particular race they stand a chance to win phones and cash.
“Horse racing has the potential to grow and become a big sporting event. We hope it does because we want to do more such races in the future. It is our opportunity to support local entertainment and sport,” said Makhwade-Seboni.
Mascom National Derby associated sponsors and partners are Mmegi, Sunday Standard, The Voice, Ngami Times, Lesedi Motors, Cresta President Hotel, Mobitel, Sony-Ericcson, MRI, and First National Bank Botswana.