Yes this is the sign of things to come in horse racing..
Unless you are a grade one track or having "concert nights" then to balance the books is near on impossible now that prize money has dried up at all but the top levels..
Great Leighs is still closed and although they went to the horse racing fixtures board to see if they could have fixtures there again that was turned down..
That track was very popular with Newmarket trainers as its only 40 mins away and making it the nearest all weather to HQ...
Its a mixture of poor prize money and poor backing for the smaller courses from the BHB.
Horse racing to an extent is still stuck in the dark ages with a lot of the main people in charge either being too old to want to bring racing upto date or are just feathering their own nests.
In my opinion "racing foir change" has done very little to help in fact they have damaged racing in certain areas and i think that needs looking into as to why one board can change so much without anyone really having a say
Im sure within the next three years we will have lost at least another five or six courses.. _________________ Always Trying.....
I agree with everything you put forward Warren Hill.
"Racing for change" what did they do, hmmm
Lets have big meetings on the same day, great idea. WRONG.
You do not see the league cup final and fa cup final on the same day.
Look at the meetings for today, Ascot, Southwell, York, Thirsk, Newmarket and Chepstow. The only other place missing is a track from Scotland.
Why so many meetings that are so close to each other. Surely the attendance would be affected, unless these meetings are supported by "pop groups" then the course is flooded not by race goers but pop fans, I am surprised Newmarket and York etc do not open up to a massive concert like "T in the Park" and the "Isle Of Wight festival" then they can have horse racing around marquee's just for entertainment and not for the every day race goer.
Places like Towcester, look to have things going well for them with FREE entry, Perth and Musselburgh did this, well with so many tickets going free, that certain few new about, as there courses were full with racing pundits with families.
I think it is good that families can come racing and the kids get in for free and the show rides are there to keep them entertained, as the parents might like to punt.
Joe punter can only go to one place at a time and it would be better to see good racing than mediocre and poor prize money.
One trainer stated the other day, his horse might not run at Goodwood as there is a race abroad and he will get good prize money for coming fifth than second here, wheres the incentive, "racing for change" humbug.
Jockey club and the Racing Board should be getting together to suit this mess out once for all.
To many hangers on, if you ask me, linning there pockets for sod all.
Good reply Warren Hill and I agree entirely with your comments. Racing for change has been a virtual waste of time. I used to go racing much more frequently than I do these days but will simply not go when there is an after racing concert - why should I pay towards the cost of it if I only want to stay for the racing ?? Crowds may well increase on such days which tracks may see as a good thing - but the ' concert goers ' are generally not racegoers - and therefore any betting will be kept to a minimum - where as your general regular racegoer will be there to bet and watch the racing but will have little interest in staying behind to be entertained by some 1980's has-been. The UK probably has one of the most expensive racecourse entries fees that I'm aware of. Take for instance the Ebor festival meeting - tickets for the County Stands are £53 per day ( that's £7.57 to watch each race on a 7 race card ) early booking is £50 - compare that to Breeders Cup day in America which I believe you can get in to the track for the equivelant of under £20. It's not a cheap day out by any means when you also take in to account yor travel expense - Racing Post & Racecard - Lunch & Drinks - and that is all before you start betting.
Who's to blame for the sport being in such a poor way ? God I wish I knew and wish I could do something about it..... Obviously the recession of recent years has not helped and has probably kept away some potential new owners. More importantly though the bookmakers running offshore has had a significant downturn in Levy contributions which surely must have affected the sport in general. I am absolutely livid to read that it is likely that bookmakers may soon be allowed to have more of these damn FOBT machines in their shops which will increase their profits but do nothing to help the horseracing industry while it is basically on it's knees. The government appears somewhat spineless - they should be passing through a law that wherever a bookmaker accepts a bet on racing in this country then they are liable to pay a duty on any profits. Betting shops punters need to wake up and STOP feeding these machines.
I think many industries have not embraced the huge changes that have taken place in Britain and the world over the last 15 years.
They have tinkered when decisive aggresive action needed to be implemented to survive and or flourish. There really needed to be a dictatorship as opposed to a concensus. Horse Racing is guilty as charged.
Many changes would have been and are unpopular with the core supporters, but i bet fans of hereford and folkestone would have preferred unpopular change rather than complete extinction.
Barry Hearn is not everyones cup of tea (including me) but he got hold of Snooker and turned its fading fortunes around.
Kerry Packer changed Cricket, everything you see now was started by him.
If you think of a pro active dynamic company - google, virgin, dyson etc would they have let these kind of tracks drift aimlessly into closure?
Racing needs a dictator and needs it quickly to stop the tail wagging the dog.
Unless decisive unpopular action is taken, this will be a sign of things to come. _________________ OLBG Community Manager.
Joined: 21 Sep 2008
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Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:57 pm Post subject:
The UK probably has one of the most expensive racecourse entries fees that I'm aware of. Take for instance the Ebor festival meeting - tickets for the County Stands are £53 per day ( that's £7.57 to watch each race on a 7 race card ) early booking is £50 - compare that to Breeders Cup day in America which I believe you can get in to the track for the equivelant of under £20.
I don't agree entirely with all that is said, I don't think Racing For Change has been a "total waste of time" at all, although I could do without band nights I don't think that RFC are entirely to blame for this phenomenon.
However, I couldn't agree more with the above sentiment. Its such a good example of false economy. Look at how well Towcester do on their free meetings and tell me that putting DOWN ticket prices significantly isn't the way to go...
People will probably still spend the same amount of money, but on products and betting... and there would be twice as many people. When its busy the crowd are more likely to enjoy it, and therefore come back, and the whole process is a virtuous circle. _________________ "The problem with the future is that there are more things that could happen than will happen" - Plato (liberally paraphrased)
Horse Racing is so uncomfortable in its own skin, it's untrue. The whip controversies throughout the past couple of years are the stand out issue that has made many a purist cringe with the way those at the top have handled matters. Rather than placate the outside world appalled at the 'atrocities' being committed by the jockeys, they managed to further publicise the matter and create an even bigger storm. I can understand they cannot be seen to take a cold-hearted stance and come across as not having a care in the world for a horse's welfare, but they show very little backbone when it comes to these ludicrous and fanatical animal rights groups who quite clearly want the whole sport done away with. That was clear when they brought in the new rules surrounding lengthy bans for any offence commited with the whip.
Then we had the RFC's fractional odds trial (fell flat on its face at the first hurdle), and now they are attempting to bring in the metric weights and distances alongside years old traditional measurements of furlongs and pounds/ounces. Are these really pressing issues that need solving ASAP, and will they get newbies/casual punters flocking to the racecourses? In fact, take away the concerts, you would almost certainly see attendance figures drop alarmingly. The general public simply want a social occasion to turn up to where they can have a few (or, in many cases, a vast amount) of alcohol and a day out. It's what now happens in cricket, that's for sure. Not many casual punters turn up at a cricket ground or racecourse for what is purely happening on the pitch/track anymore, in my experience; rather it is a day out and an excuse to get hammered, whilst having something to watch/bet on whenever they see fit.
We keep hearing about how we need to open racing up to a wider audience, but it seems as though RFC's idea of doing this is to go about slowly stripping away the core values and traditions of the very sport it is meant to help enhance and improve. Some of their 'ideas' have been lamentably poor. They have to be careful, because they could well end up tinkering too much and drive away the purists who, understandably, will become fed up and disullusioned at seeing the pathetic 'schemes' slowly changing the face of the sport; then it will fall upon casual punters/racegoers who the sport is being forever re-labelled, filling the coffers left empty by those hacked off purists, which is simply not viable unless they plan to stage concerts etc. 360 odd days a year. It will soon be the case that there will be a concert at Newmarket with a bit of racing beforehand!!
Racing has always been an insular sport and it does need to change that perception, and what I get really frustrated with are the sycophantic journalists and presenters who do nothing to help the situation. Willie Carson hailing Joseph O'Brien as the new Lester Piggott when standing with him and his dad after the Derby made my skin crawl. The likes of Emma Spencer, Alex Hammond, Zoey Bird and the like are there for show and will, of course, do anything to stay aboard the gravy train (let's face it, they don't have an awful lot to fall back on); the likes of Mike Cattermole, Derek Thompson and Rishi Persad are hardly going to rock the boat either, else their gravy supply would be cut off in double quick time. You just watch Channel 4 tomorrow; Spencer and Cattermole will be singing the praises of the RFC's new metric 'initiative' and will tell us 'any new idea should be fully embraced' without even realising what they are saying. Nepotism and who you know are key factors to finding your way to the top of the tree in this sport, and yet the powers that be can't quite figure out why there aren't many younger enthusiasts wanting to get into the game and make a career out it. No, can't think why.
Perhaps the RFC/BHA could explore lowering entrance fees (now there's an idea!!), so as the casual racegoer will feel obliged to attend on a regular basis, if indeed they enjoy themselves; stop tinkering with major meetings and moving them to a Saturday, where we, the real racing enthusiasts, are stuck with a saturated weekend of top quality action - as we were on July Cup day - and then left with a bare cupboard in terms of quality a week or two later. Food and Drink prices need to be seriously looked at as well; a complete and utter rip off as things stand.
RFC come across as incredibly amateurish, and certainly do not give me the impression they are here to help our sport (I have zero confidence in Rod 'corporate' Street becoming the knight in shining armour we need; he simply doesn't care about racing to the extent he should be in his current position, whatever yarn he spins; he comes out with soundbites and jargon, and that's about it); they have bungled there way through stupid idea after stupid idea, but they are allowed to continue and racing is suffering as a consequence. I wouldn't be surprised to see the installation of speakers at the furlong pole that blare out 'It's the final furlong' to the tune of 'The Final Countdown' in a few months time.
It is slowly becoming Americanized, IMO. You just wait for 3/4f sprints to begin in a couple of years at the likes of Kempton and Lingfield; for race meetings to last only an hour and a half with minimalistic gaps between races; for entertainment to be present between races. Perhaps we could have a day where Z-list celebrities are booked to ride horses? Why not. They are all the rage at the moment. 20/20 cricket is essentially baseball with cricket bats, but it gets the mug punters flocking in as there is no need to sit down and becoming engrossed in a match; it's simply who can hit the ball hardest and how often. Who cares about the long-term future of the sport, so long as money is being made and the gravy is flowing at the top.
It is quite simple, really. Lower admission fees; have a go at selling racing as the product it is, rather than continually playing around with it and trying to make it into something it isn't. I am sick and tired of hearing 'good for racing' as though our sport is contstantly trying to impress someone who isn't actually there most of the time. It has become so wrapped up in trying to cater for people that don't actually have great interest in the sport, it has started to pick away at the sport's identity. The way in which RFC have butchered the fixture lists over the past couple of seasons has been criminal. It seems every major race that took place in the middle of the week shall now take place on a Saturday; only a matter of time before the Cheltenham Gold Cup moves to a slot 24 hours later.
THE STATELY HOMES OF ENGLAND
HOW MAGNIFICENTLY THEY STAND
TO SHOW THE UPPER CLASSES
STILL HAVE THE UPPER HAND........
RACING IN THE U.K. IS RUN BY THE RICH FOR THE RICH. VERY FEW
AVERAGE PUNTERS OR RACEGOERS HAVE ANY REAL SAY IN THE RUNNING
OF THE INDUSTRY...THE RECESSIONS COMING: A NEW BUSINESS MODEL
IS BADLY NEEDED .LOOK AT THE ALLWEATHER IN WINTER FREE ENTRY
SHOULD BE TRIED JUST TO GET PUNTERS THROUGH THE GATE.
THE BIG TRACKS WILL CHARGE WHAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH :IN
ORDER TO KEEP THE RIFF RAFF AWAY...THATS WHY ALL THE CLASSICS
USED TO BE RUN MIDWEEK TO KEEP OUT THE WORKERS.
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