We’ve been waiting a long time to see crowds back at racecourses and we’re getting ready for another trial at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival in mid September after the one on the final day of Glorious Goodwood was scrapped at the last minute.
We have seen fans returning to venues to watch live sport like the World Snooker Championships at The Crucible and we really had to start somewhere. It looks like the UK Government are a bit ahead of their Irish counterparts with what they’re willing to do and how they view crowds at live events.
At the end of the day, crowds are good for the sport.
You read the finances, you listen to people connected with places like Newton Abbot saying how they’re struggling. Spectators are vital to the racing industry. They’re vital to the finance of racecourses and their return has to start somewhere. I just hope the gradual return of crowds returning to race meetings lasts but you wonder, come the winter, will it last?
I was speaking to the lads on this week’s From The Horse’s Mouth and once again the topic of dangerous riding came up. Seamie Heffernan has been hit with a harsh ban in my opinion, especially when you consider some of the other incidents we’ve seen recently.
If you look at what Seamie did in Gowran Park, where he got a four-day ban which has since been reduced to three, he simply nudged a horse on his left. Two horses touched side by side – there’s no danger in that.
Whereas in the UK, Oisin Murphy, unfortunately, drifted across in front of the rider behind him. It made Paul Mulrennan’s horse clip his heel and there’s a little bit more danger in that, obviously. That’s why he got a seven-day ban.
And that’s just because of where you are in the race, horses clipping heels can be dangerous. Horses bumping off each other side by side, well there’s very little danger in that.
Bigger bans are not the answer, I think it’s a much bigger issue than that and it’s going to take a lot of sorting out.
I couldn’t leave without saying well done to my father, Ted, who finally saw Castletownshend break his maiden at Bellewstown at the 22nd attempt.
The moral of the story? Try and try again. 22 times if that’s what it takes! Also, well done to Nathan Crosse who managed to do something I couldn’t do – he won on Castletownshend and I failed three or four times!
- Grab racing previews from the UK, Ireland and the rest of the globe here
- Placing bets is easier than ever with Paddy Power News’ live odds banners