2nd June 2020

Oh, Sir Anthony, I so agree with what you said in the Racing Post today about making your own decisions and weighing the risks but be prepared for a possible backlash from Lee Mottershead and Alan Byrne. Mottersdhead, the Racing Post’s self appointed expert in virology, might accuse you of being arrogant, blinkered, misguided or even disaffected and Alan Byrne, their editor in chief and temporary resident epidemiologist, could remind you of how many people have died, and might still die – as if your views on horseracing mean that you don’t know or don’t care. He certainly might say that society must give you ‘permission’ to make a decision to go horseracing or even to have an opinion that there should be any horseracing at all. He might think your views are ill-judged or just ill-timed but, given that he chose to print them in his paper and he is not inclined to print views that he doesn’t share,  maybe he is climbing down from his high horse or maybe he had some other, more personal, agenda – or should I say gripe – when he made his little attack on myself and Ralph Beckett.

Today, I attended my first, and I dearly hope last, funeral during ‘lockdown’. My mother-in-law, Kathleen Ferguson’s death had nothing to do with Covid-19 but her last two months were sorely affected by it. Her 88-year-old husband, Duncan, didn’t see his wife for the last seven weeks of her life and he is struggling to make sense of that or the fact that there were only nine of us at her funeral.  I suspect he might share Sir Anthony McCoy’s view that, at his age,  he and his family can make their own decisions on the risks he should take.

It was, without doubt, the strangest funeral I have ever attended and it, along with Kathleen’s time in hospital and hospice, will be the most poignant memory of ‘lockdown’ and Covid – 19 for me. But, the fact that the hearse met us at her house and the neighbours stood out in the street to see her off was touching to say the least. That might be something to consider for what people are terming the ‘new normal’. Me, I’d just like a  return to the old normal as soon as possible.

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