Should ‘idiots’ be allowed to comment on racing?

Me: “These owners, refusing to provide a product for others to make money on. Scandal.”

Response: “Always one idiot.”

Albeit an ‘idiot’ I’ve shown an interest in National Hunt racing for over four decades.  It would seem unlikely that an ‘idiot’ would be able to make any constructive suggestions concerning the lack of entries this autumn in National Hunt horse races?  Nevertheless, I’m going to have a go as the person who publicly called me an ‘idiot’ was a bookmaker, so I look on this personal comment as a compliment and not at all derogatory (instead, “Getting under another’s skin” comes to mind).

The ‘sport of kings’ has huge advantages, but you rarely hear about these.  It is liked and supported by some of the most influential and wealthiest people in the world.  It has a ‘broad church’ and over 98% of its congregation (customers) are willing to donate part of their ‘hard earned’ with few challenging expectations in return.  Racing’s covered in the main media every day, including two dedicated TV channels.  I could go on, but there is no point, because most industries would ‘die for’ what I’ve already outlined:  So, why are the NH race entries in such a mess?

Sport cannot be played without participants, so by definition, participants are the most important thing.  Providing participants in NH racing is very expensive.  This is no different to providing participants for professional football, rugby and basketball in Europe and the USA.

What’s different is that other interested parties within racing seem to think they are more important than the participants.  These interested parties, some of whom seem to do nothing but moan, feel their needs, including financial, come before the participants.  Let me be clear, without the horses and the people that buy them and pay for their upkeep, the rest have nothing.

The other massive difference is that the owners are expected to make their contributions with little chance of any sort of meaningful return.  Certainly, there is the dream and the fun, but there are many ways to dream and have fun that are much, much cheaper.  The amounts involved are not the same as buying a season ticket at West Ham, Aston Villa (I support one of them, I think) or Saracens.  If those running and basing their business model on racing do not realise this, the entries for NH racing are not going to improve.  viagra online canada paypal It’s possible to have a novice hurdler that wins four races (how many do that) and you may not cover the annual costs for the participant (horse).

Owners and racing’s customers contribute about 65-70% of racing’s income.  The latter have virtually no voice, the former have some, but based on the previous two paragraphs, not much.

Sure, if the ‘power balance’ in racing changes, so that owners take everything this will not work either, but at present racing’s ‘power balance’ seems to be dominated by those that would not have a business or a smaller business without owners paying for participants and customers watching racing on and off-course, or betting off-course.

More people would dream and become owners if the dreams were more realistic and with a greater chance of some financial return (not massive profits, just smaller losses).  You would then have a greater number of participants and a more vibrant sport: Everyone, yes everyone, would benefit.

For those making a living or a profit from horse racing,  genuinely;  good luck to you all, but if you do not give some thought to what is outlined here there will be less of you and who would be the ‘idiots’ then?


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