15th January 2015

I should have known that there would be no need for helmet lights in Dubai. Even with less than 50% of the floodlights on, it is like daylight at Meydan from 4.30am. I can read the paper, never mind watch my horses.

Now, at 6.30pm, with racing about to start and all the lights on, it really looks magnificent. Here’s to a big run from Sennockian Star.

The BHA has announced that we will have record prize-money of £130 Million in Britain this year. That is good news indeed but needs to be considered in relation to the size of the fixture list. Not long ago I looked at prize-money in certain specific races and compared them with levels for the same race 10 and 20 years previously. I found that, in most cases, we were behind the actual prize-money of 10 years ago (not corrected for inflation) and, in some cases, prize-money had not risen in 20 years. I’ll need to have another look now.

The Racecourse Association also made an announcement and told us that racecourse executive contributions to prize-money would also reach a new high of £58.4M in 2015 and that this is ‘effectively’ double the 2010 level of £30.3M. This is also very welcome news but, unfortunately, really needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt. The RCA, like some of its members, like to compare racecourse contributions with 2010 because the funding system changed after that and media payments replaced much of the levy. Unlike levy, which must be used for prize-money, media payments go to the racecourses and they consider that as their money to do with as they please. In short, the goalposts have been moved half way up the pitch.

What I’d like to know is, have owners’ contributions been reduced at all and where does Britain stand now in a comparison of owners’ running costs against returns. I fear we might not have gained much ground.

I know I should look at the positive side and tell you all that you should have a racehorse and have it trained in Britain (by me) but I just can’t help myself. I have to tell it as it is.

Staff Area