BHA has to issue another apology
Another week, another apology from the BHA. This time they had to tell Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell that his horse Earl of Bannacurry could not run at Wolverhampton where it was the likely favourite and was seeking a quick hat-trick, because the Authority had failed to correctly revise the horse’s handicap mark.
It was due to run off a rating of 52 together with a 6lb penalty, but a win on 12 November at Southwell should have meant a 9lb rise and the BHA had no choice but to inform Cromwell that the horse could not run.
An apology was issued and the connections will receive compensation for the inconvenience. And, as ever, the BHA said “processes will be reviewed to reduce the risk of a similar incident occurring”.
In a recent interview, outgoing BHA chairman Steve Harman, leaving the post ahead of schedule, said that the BHA’s raceday administration was not all it should be. Too right.
Out of the question
When you query the wisdom, and point out the inconvenience, of restrictions placed on racegoers on what they can or cannot bring into a racecourse it’s disappointing that the reply comes with undertones of “back off”.
So it was with Cheltenham for their November meeting when they issued an edict that there was a maximum size for bags which could be brought into jump racing’s HQ. Bags no bigger than A4 size they said.
Now I know the dimensions of A4 as a sheet of paper, but how that translates into the size of an item of luggage is open to interpretation. Might all the faces of a piece of luggage equate to a maximum of 210 x 297 millimetres? Pretty big bag if they do.
But what really irked is a reply from the racecourse:
“Working alongside the police, this is part of our security measures to ensure the continued safety and security of our crowd. Many other venues have similar policies”.
It reeks of “it’s not your place to query what we do”. But whichever the other venues are, I’ve not come across them. In the lead-up to the Cheltenham fixture, I’d been to Ascot and Twickenham. Both had rigorous security searches before admittance, but the size of my bag, a rucksack containing among other things a tablet computer, was not a problem.
The devil in me would have liked to have gone to Cheltenham’s tented area of trade stands and purchased an item bigger than A4 – that it could have been a bag is quite within the realms of possibility.
But what I’d prefer is some consistency. No problem as regards Ascot and, as the Secret Racegoer recently pointed out in a visit to Plumpton, not a problem brining a rucksack into the Sussex track but, despite a bag check on entry, not something which for security reasons could be left in a cloakroom.
As far as safety of the crowd is concerned, I’d be a lot happier if energy was directed towards those who have had too much too drink and pose a threat to comfort and safety.
The deal between Britbet and the Tote was agreed last month, 24-hours before the stated deadline, with both parties channelling their bets into a single pool.
It was important for the sport that liquidity was not diluted by rival pools, so the tie-up between Britbet and the Tote was vital.
But what of Colossus Bets, operating separate pools on British and Irish racing? How do they fare alongside the joint-venture?
One possibility is that they too could seek to row in with the Britbet/Tote operation, receiving a commission based on their contribution to the pool. It’s difficult to argue with the logic of such a development.
The Sun seems to be having a blitz on race sponsorship raising the question: is the tabloid paving the way back to using the brand for online bookmkaking?
When the ill-fated joint-venture with Australia’s Tabcorp came a cropper earlier this year there was still a belief at the red-top that it could make a go of being a bookmaker, however much its hacks disliked having to plug the ill-fated operation.
Are plans afoot to have another go?
It seems that coverage of racing in the freebie newspaper, Metro, has been dropped. The Wednesday to Friday columns, published in association with Corals, are no more.