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Sun International unveiled as Met’s new title sponsor

By SuperUser Account


Phumelela Gaming and Kenilworth Racing are delighted to announce 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.”


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.


A Brief History of The Met

1797 – A fledgling horse race known as the Turf Club Purse is run on Green Point common and won by a five year old horse known as Zemman Shaw.

1800s – Seeking to impress the young ladies of the time, officers from the English Garrison at the Cape stage impromptu horse races in what is now known as the Green Point Common. A proper horse racetrack is eventually established in Green Point in the 1800s, at which the annual Metropolitan Handicap is held. So popular is the Metropolitan Handicap, that by the late 1800s, a decision is taken to move the event to a more suitable venue in Kenilworth.

1883 – The event’s forerunner, the Metropolitan Mile, is run for the first time in Kenilworth, where Sir Hercules becomes the first ever recorded winner of the race.

1960s – By the 1960s, the racing event is firmly established as one of the ‘Big Three’ horseracing events in South Africa.

1977 – Alcohol brand J&B begins its sponsorship of the race, changing the name to the J&B Met. The event offers a R40 000 prize to the winning horse and jockey, setting a record for prize money at the time.

1979 – Politician becomes the first horse ever to win the race twice, winning consecutively in 1978 and 1979.

1986 – The race is postponed for the first time due to an outbreak of equine flu.

2003 – An independent economic impact assessment, commissioned by the City of Cape Town, quantifies the race’s economic impact for the first time. The report shows that the event contributes R52 million to the Western Cape economy, and generates R14 million in fashion sales alone.

2004 – For only the second time in its 100+ year history, the race is postponed after an outbreak of African Horse Sickness.

2007 – By 2007, the prize money for the winning horse and jockey at the race was as high as R2 million.

2008 – The aptly-named Pocket Power and his jockey win the race for a second time, becoming only the second horse-and-jockey team to achieve this feat.

2009 – Pocket Power continues to break records, and takes home the prize money for the third year in a row, putting him ahead of the legendary Politician, who won the race twice.

2013 – An updated economic impact assessment shows that the race’s economic contribution to Cape Town and the wider region has grown to R68 million.

2015 – The race has grown to include 12 races on the day, with an average of 16 horses competing in each race.

2016 – Diego South Africa, the South African distributor of J&B, announces that they will no longer sponsor the race. Sun International in partnership with Circa and sponsored by Maison Mumm come together to take on the race, with the intention of returning the event to its glamorous roots. The race officially becomes known as The Sun Met, celebrated with Maison Mumm

About Sun International

The Sun International brand has a proud legacy in the gaming, hospitality and entertainment sector. Its superior hotels and resorts portfolio makes it a recognized premium brand. The Sun International Group has a diverse portfolio of assets including world class five star hotels, modern and well located casinos, and some of the world’s premier resorts. Our destinations offer experiential luxury, enduring quality and incredible adventure, supported by an authentic dedication to personal service.

Today, Sun International is Africa’s largest tourism, leisure and gaming group and operates or has an interest in a total of 18 resorts, luxury hotels and casinos. Our entry into Latin America began in Chile in 2008 and has been a success story for the Group, giving us the track record and confidence to look for more opportunities that offer gaming opportunities in the region.  Sun International’s Latin American portfolio (Monticello Grand Casino in Chile, the Ocean Club Casino in Panama and the Sun Nao Casino in Colombia) has now been merged with the casino and hotel portfolio of Chile-based leader in the gaming and entertainment industry, Dreams SA, making it the largest gaming company in Latin America with operations in Chile, Peru, Colombia and Panama.

Our real competitive advantage stems from the fact that we have a compelling and global competence in both the development and operation of casinos, hotels and resorts – and at the same time we are extremely comfortable operating in emerging markets.

Our approach has been to differentiate our hotels, resorts and casinos in architecture, service, experience, location and the mix of entertainment and activities. Creating lasting memories for our guests and customers is a core part of our DNA. We’ve created some the world’s most iconic hotels ranging from The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City to The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town. The creative architecture of these properties and the blending of their designs with their local environment make each property unique.

Sun International was the pioneer of gaming in southern Africa, having brought casinos to this part of the world in the late 1970s. The opening of Sun City set the standard for large-scale international events in South Africa, which continues today. Sun City is also home to the Nedbank Golf Challenge which has attracted the world’s best golfers for over two decades. From the hosting of Miss South Africa to World Heavyweight title fights, the Sun City Superbowl remains the preferred venue for international events and entertainment.

We place a strong emphasis on being responsible corporate citizens through our contributions and commitment to the economy, communities and the environment.

We are committed to the development of all our employees and we make sure that equal opportunities and economic empowerment form the backbone of our human resource practices.

About Maison Mumm

Mumm is part of Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët, the prestigious cognac and champagne business of Pernod Ricard, world’s co-leader in Spirits & Wines. With its distinguished heritage dating back to 1827, Mumm is the leading international champagne House in France and third worldwide*. Mumm Cordon Rouge, recognizable by its red ribbon — a symbol of excellence—is the perfect embodiment of the spirit of the House: it stands out through the freshness and intensity of its style, which successive generations of cellar masters have successfully maintained and handed down.

The local partnership sees Mumm bring a third major horseracing event to its global stable as the champagne brand has already a long track record of being the official champagne partner to the iconic races of the Melbourne Cup in Australia and the Kentucky Derby in the USA.

About Circa

South Africa’s leading turnkey event infrastructure, rental services and hospitality company, specialising in creating and implementing unforgettable events and hospitality experiences.

About Investec

Investec has a strong international history in the field of horse racing. For the past eight years the brand has been the lead sponsor of the Epsom Derby, the world’s greatest flat race held in Epsom, UK. Domestically Investec has an eight year history with the Met race day with the running of the R1-million Investec Cape Derby, a grade 1 race. 2016 saw this race being run in a stand-alone event. The brand is looking forward to having the race back in its usual berth with the Met from 2017.

About Klawervlei

The Klawervlei family bred the mighty filly Majorca, so it is with great pride that they sponsor this prestigious grade 1 race for fillies and mares. It is a privilege to partner the Metropolitan race day with Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS), Investec and specifically Sun International, who are bringing renewed energy and exhilaration to horse racing in the Cape.

About Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS)

The Met has established itself as one of South Africa’s three most prestigious races. CTS considers it a great honour to be hosting the races on such a prestigious day. This is the first year that CTS will be offering two races, a 1 200m sprint and a 1 600m race for qualifying horses. As announced last year, the CTS Million Dollar races will in the future have a permanent home in Cape Town and they consider their partnership with the Sun International Met Day the perfect showcase for those races. From 2019, the two CTS races will be valued at R5 million each, which equals the Sun Met.