5th May 2023
Something urgently needs to be done to address the blatant disregard, by racecourses, for the rules of racing appertaining to the management of ground and the racing surface. I have, for a long time, expressed sympathy for Clerks of Courses who aim to produce ground softer than the optimum, Good to Firm, preferred by the BHA as they know from experience that there will be less non-runners on Good than on Good to Firm but, nonetheless, their breaches of the rules should not just be ignored. I think that Good to Firm ground is the ideal surface for flat racing, although I do feel that renaming the optimum surface condition or moving the scale might solve the problem, but if the majority disagree with me and can justify their beliefs then the rules should be changed. If the rule is wrong, change it. If it is right, enforce it.
The most extreme example we have seen this season was for last Sunday’s meeting at Musselburgh where the Clerk of the Course was watering on ground he described as ‘Good’ in the run up to the meeting. The forecast rain came and the meeting was run on soft ground.
Today, on the first day of the Guineas meeting at Newmarket, the ground is described as Good to Firm, Good in Places (watered). Rain is forecast on all three days. I find it hard to believe that they were aiming to produce Good to Firm ground when they watered.