It’s another wish list
Mike Deasy on the Racehorse Owners Association coming up with another wish list and not an action plan
After criticism for seemingly dragging its heels, the Racehorse Owners Association has finally published its Ownership Covid Action Plan.
The Action Plan was originally to be for the longer-term and was commissioned in 2017 and it received funding to the tune of £1.66m from the Levy Board.
The months rolled by and the silence was deafening. When it does appear, these scribblings warned, it should not be a wish list. It seems to have taken the coronavirus to spur the Association into action and at last the Action Plan has been released.
And, it’s a wish list.
In a nutshell, the six-point plan states that the owner’s experience behind closed doors should be as good as it can be, seek reform the levy, come to a new commercial agreement with racecourses, deliver fairer distribution of prize-money, and promote syndicate ownership.
You may have spotted that’s five points. That’s because the Plan has split improving ownership experience behind closed doors, and improving the provision for owners both on and off-course during the pandemic into two separate points. Well, a five-point plan doesn’t sound quite so impressive, especially when there’s been so much time to prepare.
But it’s still a wish list, and not a million miles away from the industry Recovery Plan first laid out over two months ago. We were supposed to have moved on from that with how the Plan could be achieved.
As far as the Racehorses Owners Association is concerned, we don’t seem to have made much progress.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise. For years the Association has been rattling the tin, wanting more prize-money and fairer distribution. But I’m hard-pressed to remember concrete proposals.
Indeed, there have even been contradictions – more support for the lower echelons of the sport but maintain or improve prize-money at the top-end.
I wonder sometimes if the Racehorse Owners Association has the depth of talent to move on from setting out goals to spelling out how they can be achieved.
There was a quick Racing Hub poll on twitter recently where we asked our followers if, when the Covid-19 protocols can be dispensed with, they would like to see 48-hour declarations remain for jump racing – 82% said yes.
It probably doesn’t add up
So, here’s a bit of idle speculation.
The Tote sponsors four races at Ascot on Saturday. No reason why they shouldn’t as one of the races goes out on ITV4 and it’s good exposure.
But the Tote does not operate at Ascot. The Berkshire track has its own in-house pool operation, Bet With Ascot, albeit that the money staked does go into the Tote pool.
And one of Bet With Ascot’s offerings is The Survivor, an accumulator which pays out to the last winning tickets still standing.
It’s interesting then to see that the Tote has just unveiled “Winner stays on” where the last remaining players share the pool.
So, could we see Ascot following Chester, and allowing the Tote to return to its enclosures?
As I say, it’s idle speculation and probably a case of two and two making five, but it would be for the good for racing if the Tote brand was back at Ascot.