November 9, 2020 at 11:01 #1510169greenasgrassParticipant
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There’s an article in the racing post today by Lewis Porteous- sorry no link as I bought the paper copy and am not a digital subscriber.
The gist of it was an argument in favour of keeping or even increasing the low grade fixtures, to give the grassroots owners and trainers more of a chance to see their horses run and also to keep lower ability horses in the job they were bred for rather than joining the multitude trying- and sometimes failing- to find a new home as capacity for retired/retrained racehorses will always be limited.
I’m as much of a snob as anyone and don’t usually bet in low grade handicaps- mainly because I don’t have a clue about the horses involved- but I think he is right.November 9, 2020 at 12:57 #1510177
Agree completely with your closing paragraph.
I used to be a fully paid-up member of the “too much racing” club, but now see things from a different perspective. Trainers, jockeys, stable staff, racecourse employees, etc all need the opportunity to eke a living out of the sport; owners have the right to see their horses run, and they can’t all be Cheltenham or Ascot horses; needless to say, the horses themselves should be given opportunities.
What I do disagree with is the current structure of the fixture list- I’d bin “all weather” racing, for a start- but that’s a different matter.November 10, 2020 at 09:56 #1510255apracingParticipant
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” I’d bin “all weather” racing, for a start”
Why? There isn’t any way you could replace all those fixtures on the existing turf courses without destroying the racing surface.
So if you agree that low rated horses should be given opportunities, how is that to be achieved without Kempton, Wolverhampton etc?November 10, 2020 at 11:52 #1510264Ex RubyLightParticipant
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I don’t mind people earning a living, but too much low-grade racing isn’t good for the sport. The number of fixtures in the 90s was quite okay, you rarely felt to have missed something. Nowadays there are so many Group and also Sales Races all over the place. Surely not bad for the breeders, but there seems to be less quality, if you can find such a race every weekend.
The jumps schedule is a lot better, especially the build up to Boxing Day. One big feature race every Saturday plus lots of decent supporting and informative races almost every day. No need for them to be Pattern races. I also favour more meetings with horses coming from the PTP fields, like the one at Fairyhouse today. AW racing on 3-4 days of the week is more than enough. Don’t need it every day.November 10, 2020 at 12:07 #1510274Silver SpoonParticipant
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I agree with that last paragraph Ex-Ruby Light
Having said that, I don’t envy those who have to sort this to suit everyone.November 10, 2020 at 17:37 #1510298
Sorry, ap- I meant during the turf flat season. AW flat racing is fine during the winter.November 11, 2020 at 10:52 #1510357apracingParticipant
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The argument still applies even if we’re just talking about the turf flat season. There simply aren’t enough tracks to handle the number of fixtures required by a) the horse population and b) the deal with the bookies.
And that’s even with both tracks at Newmarket divided down the middle to provide two separate racing surfaces – and similar arrangements at Haydock and Nottingham where they have two tracks available for sprints.
The argument from Ruby that the number of fixtures in the early 90’s was okay, is true, but it was only OK for the number of horses in training in the early 90’s. We also had bigger maximum field sizes then, before safety limits were reduced and it was ruled that every runner must have a separate box in the racecourse stables. So fewer meetings in the 90’s provided more opportunities to race than the same number of meetings would now.November 12, 2020 at 17:59 #1510465Blackcountry KidParticipant
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so Gladiateur,you would ‘bin’ a/w racing during the summer?
Using the same logic ..how about NH fixtures,or those courses that race all year round flat & national hunt why should they be allowed a bigger slice of the cake?
Perhaps you can consider me bias as my local track is Dunstall Park but as pointed out all must be allowed to make a living however an ever increasing number of fixtures will have a detrimental effect on the overall structure and in my opinion,as I believe I’ve voiced previously,it’s just not possible to expect revenues to keep up with an expanding list of meetings.
Where does the answer lie?
I’m sure many different opinions can be voiced on solutions but I don’t believe it’s in an increasing fixture list but an expansion of handicaps because for me there are far too many conditions races which are open to and attract a relatively small percentage of the horse population that have a realistic chance of winning yet the prize money offered is huge.The book covering the life of Phil Bull,founder of Timeform,in which he expresses the view that breeders won’t stop trying to breed the best horses they can because prize monies have fallen I think is perfectly valid.
I also believe that generally speaking,although I don’t have figures to back this up,handicaps provide a bigger turnover in betting thus enhancing the revenue stream for racing.
Just a few thoughts for people to consider & reflect on!
good luck to allNovember 13, 2020 at 08:58 #1510512
So, what’s the solution? Do we accept that the number of horses bred for racing is going to continue to grow and, therefore, increase the number of fixtures to give them all a chance?
Forget affordable housing; let’s build an all-weather track on every undeveloped plot of land in the country.November 13, 2020 at 13:01 #1510524Marginal ValueParticipant
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Relating to flat racing only.
“however an ever increasing number of fixtures will have a detrimental effect on the overall structure and in my opinion,as I believe I’ve voiced previously,it’s just not possible to expect revenues to keep up with an expanding list of meetings.”
Horses in training in the UK and Ireland, 2020 racehorse population is 6.6% up on ten years ago, 17% up on twenty years ago, and 40% up on forty years ago.
Owners keep on spending more and more on buying horses and having them trained, so why is it not possible to expect revenues to keep up? Of the money put into racing, owners contribute about 75%; punters, spectators, sponsors, broadcasters and the like put in the rest. Many other categories of people involved in racing take money out: regulators, administrators, trainers, jockeys, vets, blacksmiths, shareholders of racecourses, stable staff, breeders, bookmakers, etc. It pays to be aware of where the source money comes from in any enterprise
“So, what’s the solution? Do we accept that the number of horses bred for racing is going to continue to grow and, therefore, increase the number of fixtures to give them all a chance? Forget affordable housing; let’s build an all-weather track on every undeveloped plot of land in the country.”
Over the last half-century should we not have built more roads because people bought more cars because they wanted to join in the freedom of, and the clamour for, independent transport? It is in human nature that if some people want to spend their money on a legitimate product, we should allow other people to seize the oppurtunity to supply it. I do not think Racing can go around to the racehorse owners and say, “Give us more of your money; we could use it to have enough racing to meet your needs, but we have decided we should give it to a consortium of Housing Associations instead.” I think that only Governments can get away with taking people’s money and letting them have no say in where it will be spent.
In theory , more handicaps should be a good thing. What could be neater than allotting weights to horses in relation to their ability, to give them all the same chance of winning. However, lots of theories that have humans involved do not work in practice. According to both punters and bookmakers handicapping does not work, else we would have eleven-runner handicaps with the SP of all horses clustered between 8-1 and 12-1, or 21-runner handicaps with an SP range between 18-1 and 22-1 and we all know that has never happened in racing history and never will. Handicaps depend only on which trainer has done the better job over the last twelve months with his/her runner today.
As for all weather racing, I think many more racecourses should go down the Newcastle route, to provide a full circuit and chute of a consistent, reliable and safe surface. All weather tracks probably probably provide more “fairness” in horse racing than do handicaps. With one eye on the future, we must still recognise what the past has gifted us, so we should keep the turf courses that provide unique features, such as gradients. The rest should be re-born with synthetic surfaces.November 14, 2020 at 16:46 #1510711GingertipsterParticipant
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Prize money isn’t good for owners. Not much chance of getting their money back judged by the average price of each grade of racehorse, training fees and other expenses. I wish their chances of profit was greater. If able to click my fingers to increase their prize money I would. However,is there not an argument to say the reason there’s little chance of profit is because they’ve paid far too much for the horse in the first place? Argument that prize money is too low is imo a false one anyway – because the vast majority are in the sport for far more than just prize money and therefore all the other reasons for owning horses obviously pushes sale prices up significantly from what it would be if only taking prize money in to account. Horses are bought and raced in a free market.
Horses are bred in a free market too. Again, the argument there should be more poor quality racing to support the breeders is imo a false one. The more poor quality racing there is the more poor horses will be bred. Also – if races are put on for an even lower grade of horse then the safety net for breeding goes down too. Creating a massive risk of encouraging breeding from even poorer mares, resulting in even poorer racehorses.
We should be trying to increase the quality of racing in this country, not reduce it.
Phil Bull was writing in another era when there was little competition from overseas. Yes, it is true that breeders will continue to breed the best horses they can, but the very best racehorses wont necessarily run in England. Downgrading of English racing will not happen overnight. “Prestige” of winning English group 1’s currently keeps us in the race, but can only take us so far. If English prize money at the top level is (over a long period) significantly worse than in France, Ireland, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and USA… then it’ll lead to gradually increasing the number of very best horses being bought both to race overseas and/or our best horses trained here making the trip to race and/or stand abroad… Number of top class animals racing in England reduces and therefore the prestige of winning our races reduces. Without prestige the quality of our racing will deteriorate at a much faster rate. Poorer grade of animal winning our top races means a poorer grade of English stallion. Therefore although British breeders will breed the “best horses they can”, those racehorses won’t be as good as they once were.
Unfortunately We need to maintain prize money at the very top to maintain quality.value is everythingNovember 14, 2020 at 21:13 #1510726greenasgrassParticipant
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The more poor quality racing there is the more poor horses will be bred.
Really though? Nobody sets out to breed a horse just about capable of winning a low grade seller on a good day. Do you not think the dream will continue to seduce breeders and buyers…all those romantic tales of unfashionably bred old mares throwing one last foal that’s a superstar, ITV telling us how Coole Cody was bought for £5k. Winning horses and their families are not necessarily “good” from a health and longevity POV anyhow. Quite a few of those “low grade mares” might be contributing to genetic diversity. If we only breed the best to the best we’ll just end up with a load of Galileo clones in the end. I think we need more stallions but use each one less, like the French.November 16, 2020 at 21:30 #1510986GingertipsterParticipant
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I agree we need a diversity of stallions, Green’. But breeding the “best to the best” has nothing to do with this… because there is a long way between the best stallions / mares and the worst stallions / mares.
“Nobody sets out to breed a horse just about capable of winning a low grade seller on a good day”. Breeders are a hopeful breed. But even they have to look at the mare and sire’s ability and ask themselves is it really worth it? The more poor races there are the more an extremely poor horse is of winning one. Therefore, increasing the number of poorest grade races (and/or deliberately lowering the rating needed to win in the poorest grade) leads to more breeders using poorer and poorer breeding. Resulting in even poorer racehorses.
Horses are sold cheaply for many reasons – not just breeding. Age and lost their form just two others. Coole Cody’s sire is Dubai Destination who’s a Group 1 producing sire. Coole Cody’s dam Run For Cover has already produced Fine Parchment who did well in top class handicaps chases for Charlie Mann and may well have done better still but for a dodgy temperament… And Coole Cody’s dam’s sire Lafontaine has sired historic National Hunt horses such as Spotthedifference and Papillon. Seems bloody good breeding to me.value is everythingNovember 19, 2020 at 23:43 #1511407Ghost of Rob VParticipant
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I don’t mind low grade racing at all. I wonder if it’s to do with the rising influx of horses that are filling the places or even winning at odds of 50-1, 66-1, 100-1, 125-1, 150-1, 200-1 and 250-1?November 20, 2020 at 04:17 #1511413patriot1Participant
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Be interesting to see what the percentage increase in high priced placed horses is since the resumption of racing and also if there has been an increase in high priced runners now that prices are being calculated by the betting industry rather than on course bookies.
If there has been an increase has that seen a corresponding squeeze in the prices of the favoured horses?
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