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22nd April 2024 1:53 pm

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

The Irish Grand National.

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William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

I wanted to touch briefly on The Cheltenham Festival which the Jockey Club seem determined to have as a five-day meeting regardless of the outcome of what I have already described as the thin veneer of a consultation. I did however just want to give you a few reasons why I think it’s a bad idea

  1. The number of races: If history teaches us anything it is that once the road is widened it will be filled with cars. In this case, the wider road will incorporate two new races and the other four days will each move one race to the fifth day. This makes six races a day. How long will it be before two or three of those days return to seven races – because of “Demand”, or worse, “Levy needs”? Then is each day running seven races? Perhaps adding a charity race for disadvantaged inner-city children and of course the Pony racing final? Perhaps another cross-country? The only problem – and boy is it a doozy – will be…
  2. The ground. Five days of six races per day will see the ground cut up in any event. Imagine the 2022 flooded Wednesday repeated every year. How would Saturday race, if it came on to pour again overnight? So the ground at this moment in time probably constricts the number of races to six, which means in 2024, punters will be paying more to watch less racing on Tuesday. which brings me neatly to the subject of …
  3. Racecourse Charges: The whole purpose of a fifth day is, one assumes, to lower Cheltenham’s current debt and interest burden, and thus to make a greater contribution to the scales of economy needed by the other JCRs on central finance. But what will Joe Public see in return? More amenable staff? Less queuing? Better Loos? Reasonably priced food and drink offers? What happened in the intervening two years to inflation? To fuel prices? This is the JC gamble, and it is one that I predict won’t work, resulting in lower ticket sales and a significant fall-off in racegoer spending. Why? Because the Corporates and the Nobs will all be skiing, and their replacements, the new young crowd who, according to the JC, are making up the new Saturday set, won’t come every year. They might do it once, driving all the way to Cheltenham on a Saturday in March, to each pay £85+ to come in and spend £8+ (by then) for each drink, but they might not think it fun or reasonably priced and might see it as just a bit dull. (Oh and possibly cruel).

Please JC don’t do it. It will do no good for racing, which is after all your supposed remit. Meanwhile some very very quick Tips.

2:55 KEMPTON Join Racing TV Now Conditions Stakes (Colts & Geldings) Cl2 (3yo) 1m 4 run

MALJOOM 2 pts Win

3:15 FAIRYHOUSE Fairyhouse Steel Hcap Hdl (4yo+ 0-140) 2m5½f 17 run


3:30 KEMPTON Racing TV Rosebery Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m3f 11 run


3:50 FAIRYHOUSE Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hdl (G2) (5yo+) 2m4f 11 run

GRAND ROI 1 pt e/w

4:05 KEMPTON Racing TV Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes Cl1 (4yo+) 1m 7 run

MY ASTRA 4 pts Win

4:20 FAIRYHOUSE Devenish Chs (G2) (5yo+) 2m4f 6 run

JANIDIL 5 pts Win

5:00 FAIRYHOUSE BoyleSports Irish Grand National (5yo+) 3m5f 30 run

TIME TO GET UP 1½ pts e/w – MISTER FOGPATCHES 2½ pts e/w – FRONTAL ASSAULT 1 pt e/w


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