Ruby Walsh: As much as people won’t like to hear it, racing will have to shrink its calendar

If they don’t shrink them, they’re only going to drag into the next year’s programme.


It will be gas, won’t it? An Empty Royal Ascot. St. James’s Palace will be the trial for the Guineas, the Ribbelsdale Stakes will be the prep for the Oaks. It will be weird and unique but that’s what it’s going to have to be, it’s changing times.

I think racing, like every other sport, will have to shrink its calendar and shrink its programme and I think every sport is going to have to follow suit.

If they don’t shrink them, they’re only going to drag into the next year’s programme and it’s never going to end so I think all the programmes – as much as people won’t like to hear it – will have to be shrunk.

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You could potentially combine races and do them all together, for example running the Oaks and the Derby at Ascot, but the big problem you’d have with there is that Epsom is owned by the Jockey Club Racecourses and Ascot is owned by the Ascot Racing Authority, which is actually owned by her Majesty the Queen, if you really look into it. They’re two different companies.

That could happen in Ireland where HRI (Horse Racing Ireland) is in centrally in charge of racing.

In England, as we’ve come to see, they are so many people who think they’re in charge but nobody knows who’s in charge.

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What you’ll have is fewer Group 1 winners and I don’t honestly think that would be a bad thing. What is the difference going to be to have fewer Group 1 winners in the grand scheme of things? But I think the whole thing needs to be tightened up and if it is tightened up, I also think we’ll get better races. They’ll have to take each other on a little more often and I think the quality will go up.

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If it’s still going, there are probably odds on it at

What do you think?