17th December 2014

The debate about small fields rages on and today in the Racing Post Julian Muscatt reminds us of the simple arithmetic. There are far fewer horses in training than in 2008 and far more races for them to run in.

I haven’t seen any serious proposals on how we are going to get the number of horses in training back up and it seems that most of the measures which will be introduced are aimed at increasing the number of runs per horse. Who will pay for that? There will be a small increase in prize money and prizes in most class 2-6 races will go down to sixth place but, in the vast majority of cases, those prizes won’t even cover costs for the day, never mind the cost of keeping the horses in training.

One Irish owner who sent me a horse, already fit to run, on 24th September, has just informed me that she will return home after running on Friday, win or lose. He, quite rightly, points out that it makes no economic sense. Friday’s race will be her seventh run in that period and she has been ‘in the money’ in five of the six runs to date. Sadly, all that does is remind the owner of the economics of British racing and that every run adds significantly to the cost even when she gets placed.

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