This week Ed Vaughan announced that he is to stop training in Newmarket. He cited lack of prize money as the reason.
Quite apart from the fact that I will miss him as a close friend, confidant and one of the best story tellers in the game, this is a tragic consequence of the lack of funding that this industry has coped with over the last decade, and particularly the last year. Tragic because he won’t be the only one.
I hope that those who are in a position to do something about it, ie: the racecourses (who receive £1000 per runner from media rights) and Bookmakers, are proud of what they haven’t achieved.
Don’t forget Ed made this announcement one week after the biggest success of his 16 year training career.
This is a man with no dependants, training successfully for owners who pay their bills on time, who owes no one, and cannot make it pay. He is the proverbial canary in a coalmine.
One of the things that used to attract people to racing is that no one knew where a good horse would come from. Nowadays the best horses are in fewer and fewer hands and it is damaging irreparably the sport as a spectacle.
The more trainers who give up the unequal struggle, and there will be more, the less attractive the sport becomes.
Two weeks ago on ITV Richard Hoiles asked the following question; who was the last trainer to win the Oaks , other than A P O’Brien and John Gosden ? answer; Me, 7 years ago. Think about the consequences of that statistic, it isn’t good from anyone’s point of view (bar the two concerned).
On the racecourse we have been doing ok. Manuela de Vega won the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks impressively and Time Scale bolted up in the Listed Empress Stakes. We have a good team for Goodwood and although I am pleased spectators will be there for one day, I really can’t see why it couldn’t be all five days.