Post cuts back on race reporting
These scribblings recently drew attention to the disappearance in the Racing Post of selections from its regional experts, with only naps from Newmarket, irritatingly changed to On the Gallops, and the North remaining.
After a few days, the tips from the Post’s correspondents covering Lambourn, Newmarket and the North were back, and the thoughts of their man at HQ returned to the sensible Newmarket designation.
But now, there’s been another change and this time it is rather more unsatisfactory.
No doubt precipitated by the need to cut costs, the reports of the previous day’s racing have been scaled back. And it is to such an extent that the impression is that the Post no longer has a reporter at each race meeting.
In this Monday’s edition, there were three stories from Sunday’s action, leading with Nico De Boinville staying aboard eventual winner Diablo De Rouhet after nearly going out the side door at the third fence.
How De Boinville managed to keep company with his mount and go on to win the 2m4f handicap chase was retold courtesy of his post-race interview on Racing TV.
It will please the specialist racing channel that the quotes in the Post were credited to their interview.
There’s some irritation at the two specialist channels that interview quotes are sometimes lifted from their broadcasts and published elsewhere without acknowledgement.
It’s even been promulgated that, for one race, one of the channels would refrain from talking to connections to see where that left others reliant on their interviews for subsequent reports.
Indeed, Monday’s Post did not contain any quotes from connections from any meetings in its results section.
But back to De Boinville’s acrobatics and how they were reported in the Post. You may have noticed that these scribblings have yet to mention where they happened.
It was at Perth, but it was only a mention in an accompanying photograph caption that the Post noted where De Boinville was reunited with the saddle and went on to win.
Who, what, when, where and why is the age-old five-W rule of news reporting. The Post missed number four.
The page, headed Yesterday at the Races, had two further reports – another from Perth and one from Goodwood, plus some brief items. But there was nothing to indicate what races were being reported and from where.
If the Post is having to make cuts, and this column has already flagged up the difficult financial situation with which the racing daily has to cope http://wp.me/s8e3Dl-6631 , then it at least should do so without a reduction in standards when reaching its pages.
Derby day attendance down, but not at Epsom
Racing has started to beat itself up over the thinning crowd on the downs on Derby Day. But admission to the ticketed enclosures held up, as did ITV’s audience.
However, Derby Day was not all good news for the numbers going through the turnstiles. And here I’m talking about a sporting venue which would not expect a large number of people in attendance to witness the event without paying,
Ninety-minutes before the runners got underway in the Derby, rugby’s Gallagher Premiership Final kicked off at the 82,000 capacity Twickenham Stadium.
And there we just over 70,000 in attendance. The teams involved were north-London side Saracens, considered one of the best rugby clubs in Europe, and Exeter, noted for their entertaining play. It promised to be a closely fought game, and was.
So the stadium was around 10,000 short of its capacity, and many of those who were there had taken advantage of some last-minute offers, such as £65 seats on offer for £20.
And the sponsors, US insurance company Gallagher, had given 4,000 tickets to its staff.
No doubt the sport will ask questions about the failure to fill English rugby’s HQ, in much the same way that one of it’s traditional midweek fixtures, the Varsity match, has seen its crowd drop by about 60% since the Derby was last run on a Wednesday.
But what has happened in those 25 years is that other matches have begun to attract large crowds which were not even in existence two decades or so ago.
Nothing has reduced the importance of rugby’s Premiership Final, but the sport has many other attractions to appeal to its audience.
And nothing has reduced the importance of the Derby, but maybe the experience on the downs is not up to the standard that people nowadays expect from going to a sporting event, even if it is free to attend.