David Simpson: A drastic solution may be required *H&H VIP*

Opinion

Sometimes you can be in the right place at the right time and I’m pleased to say that on Sunday, 14 April, I was.

I was at Edgcote to see history being made as Gina Andrews equalled and then broke the record for wins in one season by a lady rider. Make no mistake, it’s a huge achievement and I’m pleased that I was there to witness it.

I know just how dedicated and talented Gina is and it wouldn’t surprise me if she finished the season with a new record somewhere around the 60 mark. The buzz I had on leaving the course was in stark contrast to the sense of gloom that descended when I saw the results from Revesby Park — news about the lack of runners had filtered through to Edgcote throughout the afternoon.

Darren Edwards touched on runner numbers — or lack thereof — last week (opinion, 11 April) and it’s certainly been a talking point in recent weeks. It would be unfair to single Revesby out, although it does highlight an ongoing issue.

Is a fixture cull needed, or is a reduction in the number of races at each fixture something to consider? Or, in a move that would drive pointing further away from its roots, is it worth looking at increasing the number of Flat races, or at ways to attract even more four-year-olds to the sport?

It’s not a problem that can be solved overnight, but if we can’t draw in more horses, it’s obvious that something will have to give. A drastic solution may be required.

Worthy of consideration

On a positive note, after the fixture at Mollington the previous weekend I was singing the praises of Charlie Poste and Francesca Nimmo, thanks to their creative use of social media during a rare day off from saddling runners.

They had given us a taste of what to expect by using the Mollington Facebook page to share an informative, insightful and amusing going update live from the course during the build up.

This was followed up on raceday with lots of clips of the action, along with some great interviews — brilliant content — and it was all posted on social media within minutes. As well as inspiring me, it also set me thinking.

The first thing to cross my mind was whether there is scope for employing someone to do this every week on a national basis. No doubt funding would be a sticking point so it could be dismissed as a non-starter. But, what if a sponsor could be found to help fund it? I think it’s definitely worth considering.

Ref Horse & Hound; 18 April 2019