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An acceleration of the inevitable

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup was the former Racing Correspondent of various BBC regional radio stations and was the gossip columnist on the now-defunct Odds On magazine. He now runs Nick Boyd's large, privately owned reputation, which is widely regarded as a sporting, not-for-profit endeavour.
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This post’s title was contained within an interesting article on the ecosystem in which pubs, clubs, restaurants, breweries and landlords all have to live.  With around 30% of pubs and bars still shut, and with some experts suggesting 20% of pubs will not survive the next six months, the article suggested that the pubco ecosystem has to radically change – directly as a result of the devastating effect COVID-19 has had on an already unhappy and tricky subject of “dry-” and “wet-” rent arrangements. For Pubcos, no customers in their pubs result in no income from their tied arrangements. Additionally, the pub tenant also has the problem of being unable to pay the rent which is often based on a turnover formula, known as the FMT or Fair Maintainable Trade calculation. No trade, no turnover, no rent, and bust. All of this spells disaster for some over-leveraged pubcos – especially those who fail to recognise and to deal quickly with the consequential acceleration of the inevitable.

They have to create – and embrace – a more sustainable, mutually beneficial, arrangement.

The same could be said of the racing industry. As I suggested last time, racing needs to be more bullish and less woke. More fun and less risk-averse. More sustainable in supporting its own ecosystem than it is giving any clear sign of doing at the moment.

This week alone, Southwell (aka Arena Racing), Curtis, and Bushell have all ensured that racing is seen in the least positive light. I then heard today that Doncaster, Arena Racing again, are being draconian in their handling of the on-course bookmakers apparently asking £3,000 per bookmaker for the meeting, which seems ludicrous. It is the same racing ecosystem and making it unsustainable for any part of it – will make it unsustainable for the rest. This Darwinian acceleration of the inevitable will impact on all.

Make racing fun again, be more involved in the wider communities, get educational, get positive, get engaged – not in the cringing “Our hearts go out to…” Ed Chamberlin sense, but in the Francesca, Matt and Jason sense of its a cracking day out with mates. Not quite “…it’s like Flu folks!” but that sort of direction.

Out of season and non-racedays, become a community hub – get engaged with local job creation and teaching useful skills. For example, teach hedging, hatching, land works such as drainage and ditching and machinery skills such as tractor driving and harrowing and all the other things we need more of in the countryside. Create half a dozen apprenticeships and tell people you’re alive and that you care. Come on racing – stop speeding towards the inevitable and become relevant.

Talking of crashes – some tips for today:

16:15 Ascot. I have a tip for William Knight’s EAGLE CREEK, who my man on the inside suggests has improved enormously since the move from Crisford & Co. I am assuming he had sustained some sort of injury and William would not be racing him if he wasn’t right. A small e/w.

17:05 Thirsk MR ORANGE is 2/3 wins at Thirsk and he has been placed 5/9 on Good/Soft ground. DARK DEFENDER makes an interesting second possibility.

17:15 Kempton REEMANNIE looks e/w value at around 8s and is making her debut on AWT.

19:50 Kempton JUAN LES PINS likes Kempton and given the option of backing the likely winner KINGSHOLME at probable odds-on, I’d rather have an e/w poke at 8s or more on the former. NEWYORKSTATEOFMIND would be my idea of exotic material.

Bon Chance

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