The timing of the Sunday Telegraph leak was all wrong
I had planned on giving a really upbeat blog entry on my horses and how we are preparing for the new season if and when it gets the green light to get going again, but then obviously news over the weekend of the fallout from that article in the Sunday Telegraph has meant the tone of the blog has changed slightly.
One of the main things at stake here is the perception of the sport and for people who don’t think the perception is important need their heads examined. We are living in a time where perception is key and we really need to present a united front to get racing back. The timing of the fallout this weekend couldn’t have been worse and I am not going to give my opinion on Nick Rust and whether he has done a good job or a bad job. My disappointment about the whole situation is that there are much bigger things going on at the moment and the last thing racing needs to be doing is squabbling amongst ourselves – again.
We should be presenting an upbeat, positive and united front to show the public and government that we would like to get business back going, but to get business back going we can produce something that is safe and responsible and also provides entertainment at a time when a lot of people are at home and some are facing a certain amount of uncertainty.
I think there are also a lot of things we don’t know about. We don’t know what has been going on behind the scenes. We don’t know how proactive or inactive the BHA have been and how forward thinking they have been. From an outsiders point of view, I felt the BHA were doing a great job and I felt they had been incredibly proactive. I thought that under very, very tough circumstances, it looked like they had got solid plans in place to try and get racing back up and running as soon as it was possible.
From what the trainers are saying that might not have been the case, but whichever way you look at it, it is just not the right time for leading trainers to be calling for the head of the BHA to step down. We are living through a crisis that most people have never seen before – unless you were alive during World War 2 – it’s just so much bigger than racing at this point. I don’t care if you think the BHA have handled it badly, this is just not the time to fight amongst ourselves. So the timing of the leak couldn’t have come at a worse moment.
The one thing we are all in agreement of is that everyone wants racing back on; the BHA want it back, the racecourses want it back, the bookmakers want it back, the trainers, the jockeys, the owners – everyone wants it back. Very rarely do you get instances within our sport where everyone agrees, and yet here we have something where everyone wants the same thing and as such we have a really big opportunity to present ourselves in an appealing manner, but again we just miss the mark.
On the other side of the coin, there needs to be questions asked about how this has got out as well. Yes, the emails should never have been sent in the first place, but how has an email sent to Annamarie Phelps been made public – that just should have never happened. Whoever leaked them is causing irrefutable damage to our sport and there is no good that has come out of these emails being leaked. It is just very frustrating, because again racing has just been brought into focus in a negative way and I know that a lot of people feel the same frustrations. Hopefully, we can put this behind us and move on.
Things are ticking away nicely at home…
Back at home things have been moving along well. As far as we are concerned we are working towards racing being back in the middle of May, until I am told otherwise. I would say that 70 per cent of the horses are at a point where if I was told tomorrow that we had two weeks’ until the start of racing, then they would be ready to race in two weeks’ time.
They are just ticking along – they have done plenty of work and done some work on the grass and a few of the bigger horses are just getting there, like King Ottokar (Motivator). He finished last season very early and he has just taken a little bit of time to get out of holiday mode, but he galloped on the grass and worked really nicely and he is coming good now.
In terms of two-year-olds, I haven’t galloped any of them yet. I’ve probably got one who is early, but the rest if they get going in June they will be more than forward enough.
Raw Egg challenge positive for the industry
Despite the negative press surrounding racing this week, the #Doitfordan raw egg challenge is a great example of the racing world pulling together in honour of a great cause and showing solidarity and raising money for Dan. It was great to some of the biggest names, all over the globe, getting involved with this challenge – which was fantastic to see.
George and Charlie: Back with a bang
George and Charlie: Off The Bridle returned last week and our guest was footballer Charlie Austin and he was fantastic. We have already recorded our next episode and we have one of the biggest names in Britain as our guests – Jack Whitehall. He was brilliant, very funny as you would expect and a very nice guy. That will probably come out at the end of the week.