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Happy Easter ...

The turf flat season is in sight

Monday, 25 March 2019

"Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it."

Jacques Prévert.

45_WH
Working on Warren Hill

It’s a bright morning but the breeze is up and it has been quite cool for the first two lots. We have a non-runner in the yard but all the riders are in and it has been a good normal Monday morning exercise with everything. All has gone well, they are looking pictures and all the riders report that they are very happy with how we have them at present. Just what I want for the start of the turf season this weekend.

47_WH
All moving well

There are two good headlines on the front of the Post today with a former chief of the BHA saying that the present incumbents should focus on the positives of our sport, which are many, and stop trying to placate those who have never liked racing. He is quite right in that comment. The other headline is Ruby Walsh telling us what went on in the weighing room before each days racing at the Cheltenham Festival. It reads as though they were treated like children. This, in my opinion, is not the right way to deal with the jockeys and more grown up thinking is needed in that department.

51_WH
Velvet Vision leading the way

There is a great big article today on the total attendance results at racetracks throughout 2018. The numbers keep going down and David Baxter, the author, is putting forward all his thoughts on what could be done. My thoughts are:

1. There is much too much racing and much too much low level racing, which is off-putting to everybody.

2. Going racing is very expensive, although under 18’s get in free which has never been trumpeted enough. They certainly don’t get in free at football matches.

3. There are so many more sports and things people can do at weekends that they need not travel miles, especially in bad weather, to see low level racing.

4. Most courses have pretty poor facilities for the normal racegoer and I cannot see current racecourse owners planning expensive improvement projects.

Italian and German racing has gone down the pan pretty quickly and although we are nowhere near that state of affairs, we need to keep our eyes on the ball and keep the product exciting and fresh. Money, as always, is key to all of this and as we have stated before, one certain bookmaker’s wages and bonuses was nearly treble what British racing gets from the levy. With quite a few of our big playing owners getting older, things will change dramatically over the next few years on that front. We are already seeing Sheikh Mohammed start to reduce his costs worldwide and before we know it there will be a big gulf in the ownership ranks. Historically there have always been people to step up and fill these gaps but we have never had the likes of the Maktoum family and Coolmore before, so what will happen in the long run is anybody’s guess.

56_Walking
Exercise over and starting the walk back to the yard