5 Results Found For: April 2015

26th April 2015

Chaos again today when 18 races re-opened at declaration time for Tuesday. After reopening, most fields are still small with Brighton’s 7 races only attracting an average field size of 6.6, 6.7 at Chelmsford, 7.7 at Nottingham and 7.9 at Wolverhampton. Only Newcastle, with an average field size of 11, managed to pass the magic figure of 8 (the BHA target) and that is the track which Arena Racing Company want to scrap and turn into another all-weather course. If they have their way that will, presumably, mean that three of Tuesday’s five meetings would be run on artificial surfaces next year and they will be looking to increase the number of fixtures and the number of races on each card. Where do they think the horses will come from? Presumably, they are looking to something like the BAGS greyhound racing model with more and more moderate horses having more and more runs and maybe even being controlled by the track managers.

22nd April 2015

It is April and we have already enjoyed some unseasonably good weather, but rain and low temperatures are set to run on Friday all across the country and that is forecast to continue well into next week. Yet many clerks of courses are already watering and setting us up for unnaturally softened and false ground.
Wetherby stages its first flat meeting on Sunday and the clerk of the course has admitted that he has been watering and is aiming for Good ground. BHA instructions are to aim for Good to Firm but virtually every clerk ignores those instructions.

At Sandown they are watering ‘to maintain current conditions’ which are Good (Good to Firm in places) and, worst of all, at Newcastle they are watering to ‘ensure safe ground’ when there are four or five days of rain forecast in the run up to their meeting.

Clearly we now, generally, get ground conditions that are softer than would be the case if it was left to nature and, in my opinion, that is not good for racing or the future of the breed but, beyond that, I am certain that the continuous watering does untold damage to the turf and results in false, loose, ground regardless of the going description.

8th April 2015

I am delighted to see a table in this morning’s Racing Post for a ‘British Flat Owners Championship’ running from 9th November 2014 until the 7th November 2015 and seemingly ignoring the BHA’s decision to run this championship over a period from early May until early October.
Hopefully, this is a clear decision by someone at the Racing Post to put the wishes of the vast majority of their readers and those involved professionally in racing ahead of a nonsensical marketing ploy from Great British Racing. I wonder why they didn’t apply absolute logic and run the table from 1st January to 31st December.

I dearly hope that this is not simply a result of the fact that GBR gave almost no coverage to the owners championship and that the Racing Post may not have noticed that it was changed. That would be very sad and would confirm all that I have been saying in recent years about the lack of regard for the owners championship.

5th April 2015

Today at 10am, when declarations for Tuesday closed, all seven races at Chelmsford were re-opened due to insufficient declarations. Four at Lingfield and one at Pontefract were in the same boat. In the end, the seven race card at Chelmsford has attracted 38 horses, an average of 5.4 runners per race. Seven races at Lingfield have a total of 52 declared runners, 7.4 runners per race. And seven races at Pontefract, on turf, have 75 declared runners, an average of 10.7 declared runners per race. But we still have 48 hours to go in which a multitude of things can go wrong with horses. It is inevitable that the number that turn up will be even less.

I am not one of those that is obsessed with big field sizes or that believes more runners necessarily makes for better, or more competitive, racing. But more runners invariably increases bookmakers’ profit margins and so they are pretty much obsessed with it and racecourses and the BHA have undertaken to try and give them what they want. Yet, strangely, they do not seem to be able to grasp the simple fact that, if they keep increasing the number of available races without doing anything to increase the population of horses available to race, field sizes have to suffer. It is pretty simple arithmetic.

So, do we really need more racing? You can rest assured that, if tracks invest large sums of money to convert their turf tracks to all-weather, they expect to run a lot more races than they do now. Where do they think the horses are going to come from?

4th April 2015

The BHA’s efforts to combat small fields have led to complete chaos in the entry system. 42% of flat races which closed yesterday, for next Thursday, have been re-opened this morning due to insufficient entries. That means that those of us who made entries in those races yesterday, can’t see what the Thursday race looks like before making decisions about races on Monday if the horse/s already hold entries. More owners’ money wasted.

And I can tell you now that, despite Monday being a bank holiday, which traditionally attracted huge numbers of entries and large fields, races will be re-opened, again, at 10am this morning due to insufficient declarations. Two races at Wolverhampton are guaranteed to re-open already which, of course, makes a mockery of the declaration deadline.