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Sunday racing

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  • #20877
    cormack15cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8783

    Just watching ‘Get On’ and somehow called in/emailed with a comment about the quality of Sunday racing in the UK (poor) versus Ireland (top class).

    Sunday racing never seems to have really caught the imagination over here in terms of quality of racing and also punters don’t seem to embrace it really either, racecourse atmosphere is always muted in a Sunday compared to a Saturday.

    Why is that? Does one (the poor quality) cause the other (punter apathy) or is it the other way around?

    #388886
    Eclipse First
    Member
    • Total Posts 1571

    Sunday racing is something the courses like but trainers, their staff and owners are far less enamoured by. Sunday racing in the UK is like an extra Monday, rather than an extra Saturday.

    #388894
    douginho
    Member
    • Total Posts 1046

    Surely the difference is in the quality of the racing. UK is all Saturday centric with regards quality, not just of racing but in terms of racecourses. In Ireland its a premier rack with premier class racing. So today would have been Sedgefield and Ffos Las. If it was Cheltenham and Newbury then you can bet the quality would have been better and so the amount of runners, attendance etc would too.

    #388895
    GingertipsterGingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 26575

    Suspect the reason for Ireland having so much good racing on Sunday is they don’t want it clashing with best of British.

    In Britain Sunday’s racegoers are a lot different to Saturdays. Much more family orientated instead of real racing fans. Racecourses know there’s little point paying to put on good quality stuff; because it doesn’t make any difference to people coming through the turnstiles. On the whole, they aren’t concerned with quality and would much rather see a 16 runner competitive class 5 handicap; than a 7 runner Grade 1 novice hurdle with a 5/4 favourite. With so many family racegoers on a Sunday, there’s no incentive for racecourses to offer anything else.

    value is everything
    #388901
    GingertipsterGingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 26575

    If it was Cheltenham and Newbury then you can bet the quality would have been better and so the amount of runners, attendance etc would too.

    Newbury tried a good Sunday card with their Hennessey meeting, axed because it did not work.

    value is everything
    #388903
    paulostermeyerpaulostermeyer
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4601

    Another of my chestnuts – I strongly believe Sunday should be the day when the top class racing is staged, as more people have leisure time on a Sunday.

    Sunday should have the strongest cards with Saturday running a close second. This weekend the Doncaster card could have been Saturday’s main meeting with two shoulder meetings and Cheltenham today, along with two shoulder meetings.

    I would also have Monday (apart from Bank Holidays) as a blank day which will give trainers and stable staff a (relatively) quiet day.

    I would love to see the Derby meeting on Saturday / Sunday and the festival Thursday – Sunday.

    It isn’t only Ireland who stage their feature meetings on a Sunday, if I am not mistaken we are probably the only European country not to have its major races on a Sunday

    #388904
    paulostermeyerpaulostermeyer
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4601

    If it was Cheltenham and Newbury then you can bet the quality would have been better and so the amount of runners, attendance etc would too.

    Newbury tried a good Sunday card with their Hennessey meeting, it did not work.

    Having, token, one off attempts at staging big race days on a Sunday is not going to work IMO. Had they moved the Hennessey itself to the Sunday I’m sure it would have worked better.

    People do associate Sunday with the dreaded Family Fun Days, an oxymoron if ever there was one. Throwing in an occasional decent Sunday is not going to change attitudes.

    However once the public latch on to there being decent racing every Sunday I think attitudes will change.

    #388914
    wit
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2152

    HK racing is only on Sunday afternoons (main meeting) and Wednesday nights.

    Wednesday nights are at the in-city track.

    Nobody under 18 allowed into race meetings. (Children are catered for via equestrian / HKJC themed family events at the courses outside of race-days.)

    Mobile phones / computers allowed everywhere except restaurant and parade ring.

    Designated smoking areas in balconies, terraces, forecourts and concourse.

    All geared to an adult working public.

    Maybe turn the question around:

    why does the UK race during normal working hours Mon – Fri ?

    #388918
    GingertipsterGingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 26575

    If it was Cheltenham and Newbury then you can bet the quality would have been better and so the amount of runners, attendance etc would too.

    Newbury tried a good Sunday card with their Hennessey meeting, it did not work.

    Having, token, one off attempts at staging big race days on a Sunday is not going to work IMO. Had they moved the Hennessey itself to the Sunday I’m sure it would have worked better.

    People do associate Sunday with the dreaded Family Fun Days, an oxymoron if ever there was one. Throwing in an occasional decent Sunday is not going to change attitudes.

    However once the public latch on to there being decent racing every Sunday I think attitudes will change.

    Very true Paul, if there were enough racecourses putting on good racing then things may well eventually change. Off course bookmakers would probably get more money gambled on better Sundays. But when racecourses get big crowds for rubbish racing on a Sunday, what is their incentive to change? Impression from being at that good quality Newbury Sunday was it didn’t get any more through the gate than a poor Sunday meet. So as far as Newbury racecourse is concerned, little reward for big investment. Can’t blame them for discontinuing.

    It’s another case of too many factions in British Racing. What is good for one is not always good good for the other.

    value is everything
    #388934
    okjoe57okjoe57
    Participant
    • Total Posts 189

    Sunday racing is something the courses like but trainers, their staff and owners are far less enamoured by. Sunday racing in the UK is like an extra Monday, rather than an extra Saturday.

    Terrific summary, spot-on methinks

    #388940
    Oasisdreamer
    Participant
    • Total Posts 305

    It’s a shame that UK racing doesn’t make better use of Sundays and increase the quality on offer. I agree 100% that the quality cards on a Saturday should be split across the weekend with more of the action moved to a Sunday and Monday becoming a day off. A combination of a top meeting plus 1 or 2 lower class cards spread across the country would surely be appealing to all (punters / owners / trainers etc.)

    I suggested to RFC in their survey last year that courses near each other race on consecutive days over the weekend. For example Haydock on Saturday then Aintree on Sunday would be beneficial to a lot of the parties involved in racing. Jockeys could attend both meetings, so could trainers (and thus not have to make excuses to owners when they have to choose between one meeting or other as is the case on a Saturday). Owners could attend both meetings and see their horses run in the flesh. Punters could combine both Sat/Sun and make a weekend out of it. Surely this is possible and is one specific area I’d love to RFC turn their attention to.

    Finally I recall attending that Newbury meeting on the Sunday and thought it was pretty well attended but the main issue is that come end of November the weather may cause one or two problems and this is reflected in the attendance particuarly at a big sprawling course like Newbury. Then again I went to Kelso on a cold (but dry) Family Sunday and it was a great day and the course was packed. It’s hard to predict the British weather but maybe Sundays at the bigger tracks are harder to market in the winter, aside from those that are firmly established like the PP meet at Cheltenham in Nov.

    #388954
    GingertipsterGingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 26575

    I recall attending that Newbury meeting on the Sunday and thought it was

    pretty well attended

    but the main issue is that come end of November the weather may cause one or two problems and this is reflected in the attendance particuarly at a big sprawling course like Newbury. Then again I went to

    Kelso

    on a cold (but dry)

    Family Sunday

    and it was a great day and the

    course was packed

    . It’s hard to predict the British weather but maybe Sundays at the bigger tracks are harder to market in the winter, aside from those that are firmly established like the PP meet at Cheltenham in Nov.

    The Newbury Sunday was "pretty well attended" compared to a week day Oasis. But (imo) did not bring in any more than a normal Sunday card. As you say, Kelso had a bumper crowd for (presumably) less money put in to prize money by the course than Newbury did.

    It might encourage better quality Sundays if people did NOT turn up for poor quality Sunday racing.

    value is everything
    #388963
    Oasisdreamer
    Participant
    • Total Posts 305

    GT,

    You are more familiar with the action down Newbury way than I but I note that the 3 day Hennessy meeting has reverted back to Thu-Sat as opposed to Fri-Sun when I last ventured south in 2006.

    I was tempted to return the following year when it was still Fri-Sun but the 3 day pass offer (basically gave one day entry free) was not available so that lack of incentive put me off going!

    The vibe I got from attending both meetings was that Newbury was the day after the Hennessy and the meeting had already climaxed with the big race the day before. Whereas Kelso was a one off Sunday meeting with the whole community involved and intent on having a good day out. Fair play to Newbury since then as I think they have made an effort to improve some of their lower class race days with better marketing (and pop concerts and the themes dare I say it.)

    One final thing…I was talking to a friend last week who has been to Newbury races many more times than I’ve had hot dinners and he is aghast at the continued lowering in quality of the racing at his local track.

    #388974
    kozma
    Member
    • Total Posts 11

    In these days of Sky TV I’d be wary about expecting Sunday racing to attract many more customers than Saturdays. Other sports such as Golf, Tennis, Motor Sports, American Sports, European club football and increasingly domestic club football, tend to climax on Sundays. Can racing compete against the coverage of those? And would there be less TV coverage if racing – whatever quality – was moved from Saturday to Sunday?
    I think lesser grade Sunday meetings are fine – if we’re trying to attract families then, as has already been pointed out, they are unlikely to mind whether they are seeing top quality racing. In fact top quality racing might put them off with perceived or real difficulties around crowd size and worries about safety of children and lack of room in the racecourse, entrance and catering queues, toliet facilities, travel delays, and so on. What will attract them is good publicity, attractive pricing and facilities that allow them to appreciate the horses and enjoy the experience.
    I don’t see any compelling reason why top quality racing will attract bigger crowds on a Sunday than a Saturday. Maybe Ireland just has a tradition of big races on a Sunday, and that might have been linked at one time with trying to complement rather than compete against UK Saturday racing.
    As for atmosphere, I dont think the quality of the horses is significant, I think its down to competitiveness. Whether punters think they are on to a winner is surely key and a four horse finish in a claimer could be enough to raise the roof any day of the week.

    #388988
    MarkTTMarkTT
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2730

    Just watching ‘Get On’ and somehow called in/emailed with a comment about the quality of Sunday racing in the UK (poor) versus Ireland (top class).

    Sunday racing never seems to have really caught the imagination over here in terms of quality of racing and also punters don’t seem to embrace it really either, racecourse atmosphere is always muted in a Sunday compared to a Saturday.

    Why is that? Does one (the poor quality) cause the other (punter apathy) or is it the other way around?

    I think it’s crazy. There are many people who go for Sunday day outs after shopping and dealing with kids on a Saturday who would go racing if it was on.
    Also don’t know why we have Friday / Saturday double cards instead of Saturday / Sunday

    The overwhelming feeling i get from racing is that people know it needs to change yet there’s very little being done about it.

    I watched Kid Cassidy win on Saturday and was reminded of the debacle at Newbury where it was argued if racing should continue – ridiculous. They should never had raced at all, never mind abandonded after the first.

    BHA – reactionary and regressive.

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