Monday 7 October
All On Course
We are very much on track to be heading to the races with this weeks 3 intended runners. Getaway Mixie in Ludlows concluding bumper on Wednesday - Josh Moore will ride. Mr Sherwood, the Clerk of the course gives the ground as Good, and does not anticipate this changing - so she will run. Figarella Borget will head to Wincanton for their opener - her hurdling debut. The ground there will be on the quick side, but that will not inconvenience her, and she too is an intended runner. Go Millie Go, will run in Chepstows finale, a mares novices hurdle on Friday. Of these three tracks one of them is sadly a Jockey Club Racecourse, Wincanton. I say sadly as we have run at three Jockey Club courses this season so far, and have had problems with badges at all three. Market Rasen kicked it all off, but in fairness did have the decency to ring and discuss, when the problem was highlighted to them. They are moving in the right direction. Huntingdons Clerk of the course felt the rough end of my tongue when that track informed me on raceday morning that our members would only be granted 6 O&T Badges, and only these badge holders would gain access to the paddock to see their horse - again we came to a compromise - but it was far from ideal. Warwick failed to re;ay my email to the person on the desk, and when he thought he had handed out 10 badges he just refused entry - the fact that he was giving 2 badges to one member shows us how he got in a muddle. Also in Warwick it was very sad to hear that one of the members was made to explain why he had turned up as an owner in a van? Surely it is not the business of the man on the gate to decide what vehicles people should be seen in! One member was rudely spoken to regarding a complimentary racecard. On what was his first visit to the track he followed sat nav and ended in the wrong car park. This was not explained to him on entry, and when he asked for his racecard it resulted in a row with the vendor. All it need was a little explanation. Wincanton seems, like all other jockey club racecourses to have a policy of 6 badges - although they do allow the purchase of 6 extras. We will see how we get on, on a card, that if the ground stays Good To Firm will surely have very few runners. Due to this ongoing problem, we have enrolled ourselves with the Racehorse Syndicate Association, and will address this problem from within. I have tried to explain to the courses that (and we may be different to others on this) all our members want is a days racing. Members pay a not inconsiderable sum to be part of a horse in training, and have often waited a very long time to see them run. I think for their commitment in time and money they do at least deserve access to 2 exclusive areas on courses, ie the Owners Bar and the paddock. Members firstly want to get together with friends and co owners and enjoy the day, and also like to get up close to their pride and joy in the paddock. Having to say to a husband and wife that one can go to a certain bar and in the paddock, but the other can't is not a nice thing to have to do. Our members are all about the racing and the horses and put a free meal at the bottom of their priorities - and in the old days, when lunch vouchers could be exchanged for O&T Badges we could make things work - if this practice is to cease, we will be struggling! 60% of horses are now owned in shared ownership, and if racecourses continue with these practices they will notice a drop in syndicate horses running at their tracks, resulting in reduced field sizes, and therefore income. At moment Jockey Club courses seem to be the worst, and are the most short sighted - we will see how the next few weeks pan out before possibly going on the war path!