Harry Herbert, boss of several successful horseracing syndicates, has called for trainers and jockeys to undergo training in media skills to broaden the appeal of the sport.
Speaking at the prestigious Gimcrack Dinner in York this week in his capacity as racing manager to the Royal Ascot Racing Club, owners of the Gimcrack Stakes winner Bannister, he said that racing’s equine stars need to be marketed more vigorously.
Herbert, son of the Queen’s racing manager Lord Carnarvon, stated that relationships between owners, trainers, jockeys and the press need to be improved.
“They must become more aware of their public role,” he said. “There have been some interviews on terrestrial television this year that have beggared belief, with the principals involved doing everything they could to provide as little information as possible to the viewer.
“With a little help and advice the trainers and jockeys in question could have put across a much more positive message which would not only have helped their business but also might have encouraged new people to take a closer look.”
Herbert said that the racing industry could not and should not rely on Frankie Dettori as its only media star. He added: “The more people know about the sport’s stars, including the owners and breeders, the more interest would be created.”
He stressed that the big names of last flat season – Giant’s Causeway, Sinndar, Dubai Millennium, Montjeu, Kalanisi and Petrushka (whom he manages on behalf ofHighclere Thoroughbred Racing) – should have been “PR’d to the hilt”.