A bumper Royal Ascot for 2020, and maybe beyond
Mike Deasy on a bumper Royal Ascot for 2020, and maybe beyond
It may only be a one-off that this year’s Royal Ascot comprises seven races on the first four days, and an eight-race card on Saturday, yet one can’t help wondering just how much of a “one-off” it will be.
When Royal Ascot was extended to five days in honour of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, that too was thought to be for one year only. But its success meant that from 2003 a five-day Royal meeting became the norm.
Six extra races this year will help racing’s desperate financial situation, and it won’t be much better next year, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if there were still some extra Royal Ascot races in 2021 helping to give the sport’s fortunes a further shot in the arm.
And, there could be similar thinking taking place at Cheltenham, where an extra day for the Festival would also achieve another financial boost. It now looks too hard to resist.
♦ Full details of Royal Ascot’s schedule in Racing Hub News Update http://wp.me/P8e3Dl-3WN
Ascot missing out
Whilst extra races should help increase revenue from increased betting turnover, it’s not going to benefit Ascot as much as it might have done.
When Ascot decided to go it alone with their in-house pool operation, Bet With Ascot, it still put money staked on course into the Tote’s pool, having first made its deductions for overheads and profit.
The Tote will still be operating pools for Ascot but nothing will be forthcoming from Bet With Ascot. It also means that, with Royal Ascot taking place behind closed doors, there’s nothing going into the Ascot coffers.
With Chester returning to the Tote fold, Ascot’s decision to go it alone has suffered a bit of a setback.
After the successful comeback of the Tote 10 to Follow competition for the 2019/20 jumps season, a competition for the 2020 Flat was envisaged. The Tote say a Flat version will be announced in due course, but time, and bonus races, are slipping away. Maybe next year.
A week or so ago these scribblings mentioned that there seemed to be a theme developing in the manifestos of candidates seeking election to the board of the Racehorse Owners Association.
The usual calls for improved prize money have been somewhat replaced by calls for improved representation for smaller owners, racing syndicates and clubs.
Indeed, two candidates are standing on the racing syndicate ticket. Step forward Simon Double and Sam Hoskins, the latter already on the ROA board, from the Racehorse Syndicates Association. In a joint statement, they’ve said:
“Racehorse owners are key to British Racing and yet are too often overlooked and under-represented in the industry. Having been owners for 18 years and been involved in the industry for 33 years, we have the knowledge and experience to make a real difference.
We are particularly keen to represent syndicates and clubs. This will be even more important post-Covid-19.
Specifically, we will campaign for the following:
- Owners’ Badges: Increase allocation for syndicates with a minimum of 10 owners badges plus 2 per syndicators, ie extending the Jockey Club RSA scheme across all racecourses
- Ownership Experience: Racecourse facilities including car parks and owners’ rooms are often overcrowded. Queuing to collect badges is outdated and slow. We want to work with racecourses to find solutions to benefit everyone
- Equine Welfare: Make it easier for Owners to find homes for retired horses and improve transparency at sales to protect both the horses and the owners who are purchasing
- Syndicate Registration Costs: Reduce the cost of new syndicate and club registration costs and annual renewal fees
- Live Racing: Access for all owners to watch free live racing when they cannot attend.”
Candidates for Racehorse Owners Association board membership can sometimes be a motley crew, but I wouldn’t mind betting that Messrs Double and Hoskins strike a chord with a good number of the electorate.
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Fingers crossed for 1 June http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Xm