News through last week that Julie Harrington takes over as CEO of the BHA in January.
It was no surprise to anyone, the Racing Post’s Bill Barber had told us as much the week before; Is the BHA the leakiest governing body in sport? Perhaps all regulators are the same, but we seem to find out whatever is going on there, either in advance or as it happens.
Last week Dominic Burke of Newbury racecourse urged racing to `stop squabbling’. There is a very easy solution to the current row; Tell us what the bookmakers pay the racecourse, in media rights. If it isn’t £1000 a runner, what is it? One small racecourse proprietor who has run numerous business’ in the last forty years told me last week, that running a racecourse is the easiest business he had ever had, because` we know exactly how much we will get in income, and can spend accordingly’. You wouldn’t think so with the crying wolf that has gone on lately. However, some good news, Pontefract have re-instated their executive contributions (from media rights). The Jockey Club followed suit last week, congratulations to them for living up to their Royal Charter. On current form don’t expect ARC or Newbury to row in behind them.
Dominic then alluded to small field sizes, and how technology can help match the horse population to the programme. I can say from first hand involvement, that this is exactly what happens, and has done for years. The problem is not with the data, the issue is that there will be simply too many fixtures for the number of horses next year; it was a struggle in 2019 with 20% of NH races having less than eight runners, and 10% of flat races.
Julie Harrington is a former racecourse employee, and there is more than a suspicion that a horseman didn’t get the role because the racecourses would not countenance it.
The racecourses have the power now, but let’s see what happens when the horse population doesn’t fill the programme in 2021.
I have been pleased with the way the horses are running. CHAMADE making all at Glorious Goodwood was a highlight. Her owner Lavinia Aykroyd was the first person to get me to buy a yearling back in 1999. We had twelve winners in all in July, and eight so far in August, we are holding our own, and have plenty to fire at York this week, particularly if it is wet.