PHUMELELA Gaming and Kenilworth Racing have announced that luxury hospitality, gaming and entertainment group Sun International is the new title sponsor of the Met, which henceforth will be run as the Sun Met and will carry South African record prize money of R5 million.
Sun International’s sponsorship of the famous race, which was first run in 1883 and is South Africa’s oldest major horseracing event, and the doubling of the prize money were announced at a glittering function in Cape Town on Wednesday.
International champagne brand Maison Mumm will partner Sun International in sponsoring Cape Town’s premier horseracing and social event.
Sun International also has a hospitality and infrastructure partner for the event in Circa, a specialist hospitality company that will bring its usual exclusive, high-quality flair to the raceday.
Sun International was quick to take up the reins as the title sponsor of the Met when the local distributor of J&B announced that the brand would be ending its 39-year association with the race.
“Given the gaming and social history of the Met, the synergy between our two premium entertainment and hospitality brands was immediately clear. We are therefore delighted and honoured to be associated with this prestigious event,” said Sun International Chief Operating Officer Rob Collins.
“The Sun Met represents the oldest and grandest event on the South African entertainment calendar. What we can promise is that we will bring elegance, sophistication, glamour and excitement to the event, and there will be so much more that racegoers can now look forward to.”
For well over 30 years Sun International has provided South Africans with big, bold and efficiently organised entertainment events. The company is respected for its ability to host large-scale events that have both a national and international following, such as the Nedbank Golf Challenge and Miss South Africa.
Maison Mumm will add its own touch of glamour and elegance to the Sun Met and Brand Manager Etienne Cassuto said: “Maison Mumm prides itself on a long history of celebrating daring achievements and accompanying champions in their success. We could not have asked for a better partner than Sun International in bringing to life the most exciting race day on the continent. Our long-term partnership will see the brand push the limits of innovation.”
Rob Scott, speaking on behalf of Kenilworth Racing and Phumelela, which manages Western Cape horseracing on behalf of Kenilworth Racing, Rob Scott said: “We are so pleased to be associated with a brand of the stature of Sun International. The coming years will see the Sun Met become an iconic event in South Africa. We look forward to the last weekend in January to start the journey to making the Sun Met SA’s greatest race.”
Scott is CEO of South African horseracing’s exclusive television channel Tellytrack and heads up Phumelela’s media, marketing and sales division.
The Sun Met, celebrated with Maison Mumm, will be Africa’s richest horseracing day. With a stake of R5 million, the Sun Met is now the richest race open to all horses on the continent.
Other major race sponsors on the day will include Investec, Klawervlei Stud and Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS).
“Investec, CTS and Klawervlei have a strong relationship and a rich global history in racing. The Sun Met provides the perfect home for our races. Being in the company of such internationally recognised and respected brands is exciting and the event is set to establish a new level of entertainment on the South African calendar”, said Adjunct Professor Raymond van Niekerk, sponsorship adviser to Investec, CTS and Klawervlei.
For the Western Cape, the Sun Met is a highlight on Cape Town’s entertainment calendar, as well as an economic boost for city. Last year, the city announced that the Met draws over 22,000 visitors, generating approximately R60 million.
Headline photo: Celebrations at launch of ‘Sun Met’.