Bargain bites the dust
Mike Deasy on the loss of a racing bargain, another example of women jockeys treated differently, the Guardian’s slashed racing coverage, and more
Bargain set to disappear
One of racing’s best bargains looks as if it’s on the way out. Annual membership of an Arena Racing Company (Arc) racecourse brings with it reciprocal days at all other Arc tracks, ranging from Brighton to Newcastle and Windsor to Hereford.
Free entry is available for every meeting bar a handful of days, notably the St Leger at Doncaster and the Welsh National at Chepstow.
But going forward, annual membership will only apply to a specified track. For those who want to roam more widely, an additional payment will be required for access to Arc’s other courses.
What’s in a name?
Saffie Osborne had a decent day at Brighton on Monday, riding a double for father and trainer Jamie Osborne who also owned the two winning horses, Good Earth and Big Little Lie (pictured). The two wins also meant she rode out her 7lb claim.
One thing separated her from other jockeys on the day. Commentator Mark Johnson referred to her as Saffie before, during and after the opener. I don’t recall many other jockeys referred to by name so many times during the afternoon and certainly not by their first name.
It’s time to move on from another way women jockeys are being treated differently from their male weighing-room colleagues.
Guardian’s slashed racing coverage bad for the sport
These past couple of weeks, The Guardian has been celebrating its 200th anniversary, a highlight of which was a self-deprecating piece on its legendry misprints and mistakes.
While many landmarks in the paper’s long and illustrious history were being noted, elsewhere we saw the virtual disappearance of the title’s racing coverage.
The award-winning Chris Cook had already departed and was quickly snapped up by the Racing Post where he’s added a new dimension to the both the print and online content.
Meanwhile, at The Guardian, the once daily online Talking Horses column has been reduced to two appearances a week and on most days, in the paper, coverage of the turf is reduced to Greg Wood’s tips.
Last week, the online version went three days without any racing items.
Before Chris Cook’s exit, the team of three (Tony Paley was and still is racing editor) were providing daily content that was better than most media were providing, and was especially good at breaking news stories because people went to the Guardian knowing that they’d pick up on injustices, not least bookies disputing pay-outs.
The Guardian is the poorer for the slashed racing coverage, and so too is racing.
Clear as mud
Clarification from the government on what has been described as “local lockdown by stealth” will be welcomed by the eight affected English locations.
On the government’s covid ‘Rules, guidance and advice’ website, it says:
“Coronavirus restrictions remain in place. Find out what you can and cannot do… You should try to… avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education.”
One of the locations affected is Leicester and those at the city’s racecourse will hope things are made crystal-clear as they are due to race before the month is out.
It’s probably going to be as crystal-clear as a nursery.
Are you not pleased to see us?
It’s been noticeable going into retail establishments that have survived Covid and are trading a normal as possible how pleased the staff are to see you.
I wish I could say the same about the folk behind the screen at a west London branch of Corals.
One staff member, seemingly with little to do, directed customers to his colleague if they wanted to place a bet. Said colleague barely acknowledged the customer’s presence.
I wanted to see how she reacted when collecting winnings, but my horse lost and a return visit to the counter did not take place.
I left, unsmiling