Racing must pull together and provide a united front rather than giving an impression of “confusion and disunity” the chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority said today (23 February).

Paul Roy was addressing around 200 representatives of the industry at the British Horseracing Conference in London.

“Sometimes our passion can work against us — as demonstrated by our previous failings to speak with one clear voice…sometimes people are too quick to criticise, shoot from the hip and make one-off, destructive and often uninformed comments,” he said.

One subject that continues to divide racing is the Racing for Change (RfC) project that hopes to woo punters into racecourses by raising racing’s profile with the uninitiated.

Ideas include clearer definition of the Flat and Jumps seasons, moving big races to Saturdays, providing a clear high-profile race for punters each weekend and even decimalising odds.

“RfC is not dumbing down our sport or taking it to some hopelessly low common denominator,” said Mr Roy.

“There’s absolutely no way we’ll undermine the bedrock of our sport…it’ll be about making more of the crown jewels and assets that we already have.”

Rod Street, of Racing Enterprises, who is masterminding the RfC project said: “2009 was a year of research and development, 2010 will be a year of action.”

    The action will be in four areas —

  • getting racing stories, like the epic battle between Denman and Kauto Star in the Gold Cup, out into the non-racing media
  • making betting on horses as easy to understand as other betting in bookie’s shops
  • improving the customer experience at racecourses
  • raising awareness of racing’s ‘premier products’ by defining the seasons, championships and finales

“Not everything we do will work but we should have the courage to innovate,” added Mr Street.