He doesn’t get it, does he?
Mike Deasy returns to the Ralph Beckett controversy – still misplaced, still mistimed, still misinformed
When these scribblings first looked at the process for getting racing back on the road in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it was described as a tricky PR journey.
It was not, it was warned, something which could be approached with anything that could be perceived as unseemly haste. Also, there were those who didn’t ever want racing to return and would use the situation to score points against the sport.
Fortunately, the BHA has been pretty deft at handling the situation. If it has made one mistake, it was setting a target date of 1 May for racing to return to action.
When it became clear that the start of this month would not see a resumption, the mention of any date disappeared.
Given the circumstances, those wishing to score points against the sport have found the task difficult, although holding the Cheltenham Festival has had its critics inside and outside the sport. But that’s for another day.
Unfortunately, there has been a desire to score points against the BHA’s chief executive, Nick Rust (pictured).
The email from trainer Ralph Beckett to BHA chair Annamarie Phelps calling for Rust’s immediate departure from the BHA was leaked to the Sunday Telegraph.
The gist of Beckett’s commination was that Rust was pandering to public opinion, which Beckett considered was not in the best interest of the sport. He wrote: “It is clear that Nick is looking after his future in this instance, but his future is not ours.”
The email received short shrift from the BHA.
Beckett has now repeated his view on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday, where he criticised comments made by Rust in an adjunct to an update from the Resumption of Racing Group, saying “Nick then added comments which were, to put it mildly, virtue signalling apart from anything else, not least about the potential strain on the NHS.”
Whilst he referred to the latest Resumption of Racing update as positive, he takes issue with Rust’s supplementary comment.
He doesn’t get it, does he?
Seeking the resumption of racing is akin to treading on eggshells. There is nothing wrong in issuing a positive statement, nor is there any harm in the chief executive of racing’s government body making it abundantly clear that, as well as the usual mantra about equine welfare, human welfare is also paramount.
It is a shame that Rust’s comments have alienated Ralph Beckett, but it is disappointing that the PR journey has encountered a signal failure with Beckett’s response.
He’s read the situation wrong and, to expand on what these scribblings said in an earlier missive: still misplaced, still mistimed and still misinformed.
Representing all of the people
It’s the time of the year where the Racehorse Owners Association holds its election for members to join its board. There are 15 candidates and they’ve issued their manifestos.
Usually, these centre on calls for better prize-money and better concessions and facilities for owners at racecourses.
It’s a sign of the times and a reflection of the real world, that increasing prize money does not figure quite as prominently in candidate proposals as it has done in the past.
If there is one issue which the 2020 candidates address more than once, it’s a call for improving the lot of smaller owners and syndicate owners, including what can done for them by the Racehorse Owners Association.
Do the calls, I wonder, reflect a degree of dissatisfaction with the Association’s representation of owners lower down the food chain?
Recent Of Course columns
Misplaced, mistimed and misinformed http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Pc
You have to live in the real world http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3LD
Getting racing back on the road – a tricky PR journey http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Km