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Racing for Change - good, bad or so-so?

Today's feature article in the Racing Post is all about the new project board charged with reinvigorating racing in Britain - Racing for Change. On the one hand, it is something the industry needs to drive it forward. On the other, it's a body full of chairmen and bigwigs who have had a big say in getting the industry where it is now.

Some of the proposals:

- Identifying key fixtures to clearly emphasise start and finish of premier Flat season

Doesn't the Lincoln at Doncaster, soon followed by the Craven meeting at Newmarket already mark the start of the season? The Champions Day meeting at Newmarket virtually finishes the season already.

- Create new showcase finale, to crown the champions of the Flat season

The likes of Ballydoyle and Godolphin control racing in Britain because they pick and choose where their horses run (and how those races are run) in order to create more commercial value for their breeding operations. The champions are unlikely to run a dozen times in the season, and unless the season finale races can immediately gain better breeding value than the likes of the Breeders' Cup or Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, they'll have a hard time getting the best fields possible. However, the Arc is just one race (with some decent support races) and the Breeders' Cup only has a handful of turf races - but as those racing nations are both Tote only, their prizemoney will always be much higher. Will a finale to the season kill off all the decent level racing in the month before that meeting?

- Focus on creating Premier fixtures, with more Group 1 races on Saturdays through flat season

Of all the times of year to spread racing throughout the week, I'd have thought summer was the best time to have quality racing on more than just Saturdays. Kids are on holidays, a lot of firms take summer breaks and long summer days make great days out. Making the big meetings bigger just locks more punters out and pushes admission prices up - because racecourses are all commercial entities and will try to optimise their takings against supply and demand. Saturday should be the premier day for most of the season - but there is no harm in having decent cards of lesser Pattern racing (G3, Listed) on a Saturday because during the week, a Festival has been at Ascot, Goodwood or York. The only excuse to focus on Saturdays is if the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity all year round, and industry participants are given a day off racing - say a Monday.

- Development of idea for new team-based championship, at handicap level on summer Saturdays

Why? Who is going to be cheering for it? Team-based riding from Ballydoyle is already annoying enough.

- New premier jumps championship for which horses would be required to qualify to compete in feature races at Cheltenham Festival

The only benefit I see in this is forcing the horses who haven't been any good for years to reach a standard so they aren't dangerous in the field, or taking up a spot that could go to a better horse. That one owner from France who keeps putting his slow horses in the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup is the one I mean. This idea would need cooperation from Ireland to make it float.

- Strengthen link between Cheltenham and the Grand National meeting

Perhaps someone else could tell me what it's currently lacking? If the racecourses can agree to keep the meetings three weeks apart, does it need much else? They are very different tracks and a lot of horses will run well at one venue and not the other. And the number of Cheltenham winners who back up and win at Aintree is not high - the Festival takes a lot out of them.

These are the main ideas listed. I have some of my own, so I'm not going to just sit back and sledge these guys for having a go at a very difficult project. I'll let people digest these while I thrash out my ideas a little more and post them.

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