I SENT an email to the BHA chief executive over the whip this week.
The instant reply told me they were on ‘annual leave’.
Of course they are. After all, there is nothing much happening in the world of horse racing! Just the game imploding.
Before I go on, I’d actually like to apologise to you all.
Because of the quite ridiculous penalties and rules the BHA have inflicted on some of the most talented sports people in the world, I haven’t been able to write much recently about the amazing horses in this terrific game.
Chappers' Saturday Nap
CHRISTIAN WILLIAMS has the Midas touch with staying chasers and KITTY'S LIGHT (3.25 Newcastle) can give the yard more success in the Eider.
He looks in a good place at the weights.
But while the silence from trainers, owners, breeders, and many jockeys is quite bewildering, I have to try and stand up for an industry I believe in.
One I have loved most of my life and worked in all my life.
Don’t get me wrong here, there are debates to be had.
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I’m not right on everything, and I’m open to conversation.
But that’s the problem, the BHA aren’t. They have shut up shop.
Not for the first time it refuses to be interviewed by someone like me.
You would think I was Jeremy Paxman in the good old days when he would give some politician a right old going-over on Newsnight.
But actually, all I am is someone with a whole load of questions, trying to get answers. What is the BHA afraid of? It’s quite pathetic.
There is no leadership at all.
I’m talking about very, very simple questions.
For instance, the BHA chief executive quoted a survey at the Asian Racing Conference.
But the same organisation refuses to send me the survey questions.
If you are going to use rhetoric from a so-called poll, you could at least make the questions public.
Now in response to one thing asked, apparently a percentage of 18 to 24-year-olds said they thought horseracing was cruel when they were supposedly asked: Do you like horseracing?
I find this very unlikely.
I believe if someone was asked ‘do you like horseracing’, most sane poeple would just answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
To specifically answer with ‘no I think it’s cruel’ all seems very odd to me.
As we know it is quite the opposite from the truth.
And it once again just shows how pathetic our communication is with the outside world.
That means we come back to the BHA, who are in charge. Or at least they tell us they are.
If people think horse racing is cruel the BHA has failed us.
It’s as simple as that.
Again, I am a fair man. There is no exact scientific evidence to suggest horse racing is either cruel or not.
But let’s just take a human.
If a human has an issue, the chances are there will be something that can be found to show their pain.
It’s the same with horses.
Who in their right mind thinks a horse will run fast for you in pain? Of course it won’t.
A horse will do nothing for you if it is not happy and a human cannot change that.
A horse is massively powerful and strong. So the horse has to want to do what it is doing.
Added to which, how has the breed survived when submitted to alleged constant agony?
Well it’s survived because it isn’t hurt and is cared for passionately.
From all we know the whip is not a welfare issue. In this day and age with the ‘Pro-Cush’ it is so rare to hear of a horse being ‘marked’ that it’s hardly worth acknowledging.
And if it has, it will be because that horse was an exception with an extremely thin skin.
Remember this all started because nine people complained about the use of the whip on Ballabrigs in the 2011 Grand National.
And when the people in the country were asked to express their feelings on the web, only about 500 bothered to do so.
Yet BHA will try and tell you there is this huge perception issue out there in the world.
The fact is, the only perception issue right now is 20 jockeys banned — with more to come — and one horse disqualified.
So BHA has created arguably the worst perception issue in British racing history — for absolutely nothing.
And rest assured, many behind their desks in their plush BHA office will forget horse racing and go on to do other jobs in different industries very soon. What a shambles.
As for today I’m presenting Opening Show on ITV from Kempton so please tune in at 9.30am.
There is some decent action at Kempton but it’s up at Newcastle that I’m getting a bit jiggy.
I’m all over Kitty’s Light in the Vertem Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle.
Trainer Christian Williams is a master at getting horses well handicapped in big-money contests, and the former Scottish National runner-up is chucked in off 132.
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Just remember if the jockey Jack Tudor has to draw the whip, just as he gets going he’ll have to stop.
Such is this crazy life.
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