Naas August 3rd
Galway week was spent in West Cork with family. Back to reality tomorrow with The Alpha Man running in Naas. It’s his first run in handicap company. The last few months have been a steep learning curve for him and he’s stepping in to a race with plenty of depth tomorrow. We have a good rider on our side and hopefully he shows up well. It would be nice, imperative really that we get owners back as soon as possible. The vast majority of my owners, practically all, have horses for one reason, a day out. They’re working people and it’s their hobby. Their outlet to meet friends, to socialise, to give themselves a chance of a day of days. That’s gone and everyone has understood why. The reality is they’re not going to be able to justify this going on much longer. Not one has complained and they may be some way from doing so yet but they’re not there to support me or the industry without some consideration for their investment and what they’re entitled to expect. I’m not privy to what goes on in the corridors of power and the difficulties racing’s representatives face but I can’t understand why they don’t keep communicating. Keep talking, keep telling us and our owners of progress or the lack thereof. We need to feel our owners are at the forefront of everyone’s minds and their return is an absolute priority. I worry more than a little about the ongoing divisive conversation around interference rules. Raceriding is an inherently dangerous occupation and everything should be done to ensure it’s as safe as possible. Jockeys should however feel supported as they head out to get the best possible result on our behalf. That’s true if you’re a trainer, owner or bettor. It has been framed as a sort of wild west, anything goes and someone is going to get hurt and it is going to be someone’s fault. Someone is going to be hurt, that’s an immutable fact, it doesn’t have to be someone’s fault. We’re facing a situation where everyone is a steward and there’ll be hell to pay. Horses shifting left or right under pressure is tougher to predict or control than is being recognised. Knowing what’s happening behind you can be tricky with wing mirrors, imagine without and amongst 16 or 18 competitors with all the associated noises. It’s tough as all hell for jockeys. Look at the rules by all means, review them, change them but it doesn’t need to happen like this. If the driving forces and the other associated names feel the need for change then it can happen without jockeys getting thrown under the bus.