6th December 2018
Firstly, as is invariably the case when I come to new Bletherings, I must first apologise for the length of time since I contributed to this section of our site. Secondly, I must also apologise for waiting until prominent owners Sheikh Fahad and John Dance spoke out against Championship Horse Racing (The Series) before nailing my colours to the mast. I can assure you I am not just jumping on their bandwagon.
I met with Jeremy Wray at Tattersalls back in the spring, he described his plan to me, we discussed it at some length, and he sent me away with a document that explained The Series in greater detail. I tried to approach the subject with an open mind, I studied the document, and I sent him what he himself described as a ‘considered response’.
Without doubt he has some excellent ideas for marketing and media coverage of horseracing but there are some fundamental principles which I cannot accept in his plans and he is clearly hell bent on trying to proceed with it as it is. I, therefore, told him, back in June, to count me out. I made it clear that I am not a supporter of the concept as it stands and that I will not take part in it if it comes to fruition. I also said that I do not believe this would be a positive move for the sport of horseracing. So, when he says that ‘the structure and format of the event has been the direct result of consultation with all relevant bodies, including owners and trainers’, I think you should take that with a pinch of salt. He did not consult Sheikh Fahad and, while he can genuinely claim to have consulted me, he didn’t listen to a word I said.
He tells us that ‘it has been particularly pleasing to have received so much support from leading trainers keen to back an initiative designed to bring new revenues into racing’. But, when I spoke to a trainer who I believe is one of those being classed as a supporter, he told me that, while he was of course a supporter of any initiative to bring new revenue into racing, that did not mean that he could support the structure of this plan.
It is, surely, time for us all to come out and say publicly whether we support this ‘ridiculous idea’ (good words, Sheikh Fahad) or not, before it goes any further.