Glad to see the rescheduled meeting going ahead at Newbury tomorrow. Awful scenes last Saturday with the freak electrocution of two horses before the first race. You just can't write procedures in a manual to deal with something as bizarre and unexpected as that. Criticising the officials for running the first race after that is easy in hindsight.
One thing that British racing needs to get right though is its professionalism. Jockey Hadden Frost on Tuesday went for home a lap early in a three-mile chase and then ended up with egg on his face when crossing the finish line only meant he had a lap left to go. The jockey made a mistake, fair enough. But to let him off with just a slap on the wrist isn't good enough. This is a professional industry. Punters lost tens of thousands on that horse across the country; they get nothing back for his incompetence. Stewards said the penalty range for this infringement was just 10-14 days, so he got the midpoint of 12 days. Soft as butter.
This isn't the first time it has happened, and it won't be the last. Do racecourses make any effort to stop this from happening? Nope. Why not look at other sports and see what they do? Harness racing around the world has races over a few laps, as does athletics. What do they both use to make it clear there is one lap to go? They ring a bell as they pass the winning post the penultimate time. Crystal clear. It doesn't even need to be a real bell which requires someone to stand there, it could be electronic and activated remotely. IT ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE.
Just like when jockeys take the wrong course in a jumps race when they are supposed to know exactly where to go. Jockeys should do their homework for every race at every course, it's their job. But, in the heat of the moment, they can lose concentration and their minds go blank. It happens to all of us at some stage. Why not do everything feasible to avoid it like put out a few traffic cones where they switch course? It's not that hard. Start looking at racing like a business rather an amateurish hobby and so much can change.
I've harped on it before and will say it again. If British racing wants to become stronger then it has to stop taking the piss with punters. It's a professional industry, if you want it to be treated as such, then start acting like it from within. Punters deserve better, and when that happens, bookies will be more willing to contribute to funding the sport...