7th April 2020
I really like Andrew Balding’s idea (Racing Post interview with James Stevens) of pushing the whole flat season back a month. It seems so obvious now he has said it. I wish I had thought of it myself.
Of course, it isn’t simple and there would be no end of obsticles to overcome, many of which might be totally out of racing’s control. But it would be an excellent target for all involved. As Andrew says, it just wouldn’t be practical to run some meetings, especially later in year, but, if we could work approximately to the template of a normal season run late, it would give everyone clear objectives and benefit all facets of the industry rather than saving some and leaving others to drown.
Could the sales also be moved a month? Breeze-ups, horses-in-training sales, yearling sales? Hopefully, by December, the breeding stock sales could sit in their normal place. This would give some hope to those sectors, such as the pinhookers, which, at present are facing almost immediate ruin. There is a strong argument to say that yearling sales come too early in the year anyway and there would be little or no disadvantage in holding them later when everyone had had a chance to find their feet again.
It won’t be easy but I am certainly behind it. And, if plan A doesn’t work, move to plan B: maybe it would need to be 5 weeks, or even 6 weeks, or variable to suit some tracks, but it would provide us all with a common objective.