Wednesday 11th October, 2023

Roody Toody didn’t like the all-weather surface at Southwell yesterday and Kaiya Fraser reported that she appears to prefer the turf.  She will now have a handicap mark and I am sure she will give us lots of fun once conditions are in her favour.

Yesterday the BHA published the fixture list for next year.  There is much controversy around it with a cross industry committee recommending changes that have approved by the BHA board including Premier race days, Sunday racing, morning racing and more breaks for the sport’s workforce.  These changes will not please everyone, however the sport needs to move with the times in order to attract and retain the betting public who fund racing.  How we make the sport more attractive to the wider world and also gain a social licence are factors that need to be addressed.

On that matter I was interested to see that both teams on the BBC quiz show, Only Connect – whose questions are set by Sam Waley Cohen’s cousin, had never watched a Grand National.  The answer to the question they were asked was the recent sponsors of the Aintree race.  Question master and racing fan Victoria Coren-Mitchell, asked the two young teams if they had ever watched a Grand National and none of the six participants had ever done so.

As a lover of quizzes, I am often amused and slightly disappointed by the lack of knowledge by the general public about the sport when asked a racing question.  Therefore, racing should never overestimate it’s value to the wider public and anything we can do as a sport to make ourselves more attractive and relevant must be encouraged.