Could more be done in Britain to encourage racehorse ownership?
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
RACEHORSE ownership in Australia is an entirely different beast to the way things are in Britain and it is hard to argue that it is not being done better than us at the moment.
Amazingly, one in every 310 Australians is involved in racehorse ownership largely due to the far more prevelant nature of syndicates, not only at the lower end but at the very highest level.
There is little doubt the familiarity of ownership to many Australians gives racing here greater appeal across a wider spectrum and it was interesting to hear the thoughts of leading trainer Mick Price on the subject.
“That’s the beauty of Australia,” he said. “You go to England and it is the sport of not many people but in Australia, [the number of different people involved] is what’s so good about it.”
Price was speaking at an event hosted by Aushorse to launch its Racing Connections scheme, which is aimed at getting even more Australians involved in ownership by breaking down the perceived barriers that prevent many from exploring the possibility.
Part of the scheme will see Aushorse identify potential owners and work with trainers to give those individuals a day at the races, complete with the full ownership experience.
The thinking is that some people just need to make a connection with a trainer, or perhaps other owners, to change their preconceptions and convince them to get involved.
It is something racing bosses in Britain should be keeping a close eye on, as changing our country’s outward image of being a sport for the wealthy few would be an important step.
Time for a change to the Derby?
Saturday sees the Victoria Derby run at Flemington over 1m4½f, with the distance of the contest coming under ever greater scrutiny.
Mick Price sent out last year’s winner Tarzino but has been an outspoken critic of the extended trip, calling once again this week for the race to be cut back to 1m2f, which he says would be better for the horses involved.
“I can only speak from the point of view of training horses and what is better for their longevity,” Price told reporters.
“We represent the owners with the decisions that we make and I think we can get better longevity out of their horses and not stress them too early.”
Epsom’s Derby is the inspiration for the distance of the three-year-old Classics but the Kentucky Derby is run over 1m2f and the French Derby has now been trimmed to 1m2½f.
The Victoria Derby comes earlier in a southern hemisphere-bred three-year-old’s life than the Epsom feature but even so, might it be time for us to have a discussion about the suitability of our own showpiece?
Saeed’s wardrobe malfunction
Quarantine is a complicated business that requires those looking after the horses to undergo multiple showers and changes of clothing to adhere to Australia’s strict bio-security laws.
A set of clothes must be left inside the facility at all times to be changed into following a shower, while outdoor clothing cannot enter at any stage.
This process, one imagines, is even more complicated to keep on top of after a long-haul flight around the globe, with jet lag muddling the mind.
Perhaps that would explain why Saeed Bin Suroor addressed the media at Waerribee on Friday morning wearing a pair of morning suit trousers, having had to leave other clothing inside.
Or maybe he was off to a wedding in the afternoon. Who knows?
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