Sitting and reflecting on what should have been a busy February, it’s hard not to get a bit disheartened by the relentless poor weather that meant I only went racing on two days of the month.
As a jockey, the overriding feeling is one of frustration at not being able to get out and do what we love doing — racing horses. This frustration is by no means confined to the riders though, with trainers, owners and horses all having their plans disrupted. There is nothing worse than getting all dressed up and having nowhere to go.
A lot of credit must go to the race meeting committees and organisers who, in conjunction with the Point-to-Point Authority, have in most cases been very clear in their decision-making and swift in their communications over abandoned, postponed or rescheduled meetings.
In past seasons, this hasn’t always been the case — often fuelled by inaccurate going descriptions and false hope — and only adds to the frustration at what is a difficult time for everyone. Being proactive does at least give people the chance to make new plans.
The benefit of reopening entries
One thing that I think should be revisited is the holdover of entries for postponed meetings. Currently, when a meeting is called off and rearranged for a week later, the entries stand and carry over. This is completely understandable and in my experience most trainers and horses simply wait until the next week and run at the rearranged meeting — unless they happen to hold other entries at a different meeting.
However, where a meeting is rearranged for two weeks into the future, I think it would benefit the sport if entries could be reopened.
Yes, it creates extra work and potentially exposes a race meeting to extra costs (for example, where racecards have been printed or car passes issued), but nevertheless it creates another option for trainers and horses, who may not have placed an entry at that meeting first time around for a legitimate reason.
Ref Horse & Hound; 5 March 2020