Politics in any industry is one of its main diseases, which can spread and cripple it beyond recognition.
It’s a cancer that needs to be cut out if any industry is going to grow and flourish without fear and where a word like integrity comes into play- and is not just a buzz word, but is actually what it means.
The horse racing industry is rife with politics- internally and externally- at the very highest levels of the sport with the peanut gallery of rabble caught up in their own misguided self-importance and, sadly, believing their ideas and whinging without even leaving Parochialville La La Land is making a difference.
Sorry, but this peanut gallery is only a very small part of Crosstown Traffic for the simple reason that they have “information” in simpleton terms and no power.
As Dylan sang, Don’t Criticize What You Can’t Understand and, for fuck’s sake, realize that, many times, all this rah rah sheesh koom bah bleating can make a bad situation worse.
It’s pouring lighter fluid onto an already-raging fire.
Politics are based on jealousy, insecurity, long-time grudges, the need for power, the need for more power, the need to manipulate weak minds and, of course, to win- not on some two-bit punt, but for much bigger stakes: Face and more power.
We work in and for a few industries that are inter-connected- or should be if their consumer bases are to grow to include the next generation.
Horse racing is one of these industries, and what we have noticed, apart from the politics where many underlings live in fear of, well, not really very good executives, is the resistance to change by many of these bully boys in racing clubs.
If suddenly faced with the pressures of actually having to change, they regress into being Jeckly and Hyde characters- or The Incredible Hulk- where confusion takes over and creates a hybrid of paranoia, insecurity and an onslaught of trying too late to make up for lost time and show their worth.
It’s amusing in a Basil Fawlty kinda way. Or is it Manuel?
This is when and where many slip. This is when old wounds are opened again by the “the enemy within” and the racing rumor mill- and it’s a very petty one with all its “mail”- churns out more stories than the Naked City.
These are internal politics- and always with some international links- whereas this rampant “competition” by the rabble rousers to see who has “the best” racing carnival etc can be applauded for the “passion” that goes into all the venting, but how is any of this making horse racing a global sport and not some poor second-rate parochial cousin of everything else and still perceived as a mug’s game lacking style, class and new supporters in the way of truly Group 1 sponsors?
And then there are the politics within the sponsors side, but that’s another story for another time.
Whether it’s Melbourne’s Spring Carnival, the Breeders Cup, Ascot, Longchamp, HKIR, the Dubai World Cup or the upcoming Autumn Championships in Sydney, surely, if each succeeds in their own ways, it benefits all of horse racing by creating a far more collectively global image of the sport and not some fragmented pieces of rhubarb?
Racing can’t ever become a Coca-Cola commercial with everyone holding candles around a Christmas tree and singing about living in perfect harmony, but, can’t all this “competition” take place on some of the greatest race courses in the world and salute the sport and cheer those on who are the main attractions- even if they’re from Botswana?
But this constant bitching about being “the best”- how is this even quantifiable, especially when watched from afar by the geographically-challenged?- these irritating piddly games, all this constant and tedious “mail”- second-hand Chinese Whispers- about who-said-this- about-this-and-that-one and who is zooming who- is far more damaging to the sport than any careless riding charge or ten-month suspension for “not trying”.
In a sport where the word “integrity” is bandied about so regularly and, often towards the wrong people, perhaps it’s time to simply suspend the REAL trouble makers one DOESN’T “meet” twittering on twitter and who are bringing the sport into disrepute?
If it persists, there should be some “United Nations of racing” to show them the red card and drum them out of the game- for good.
While all these games are being played publicly and, many, behind closed doors, as Obama and other world leaders have discovered, China has, inscrutably, taken over so many things.
These include the wine industry, the automobile industry, the movie industry and, looking at the rapid ascent of Sun International with their purchase of Eliza Park and owner Pan Sutong, below, whose Akeed Mofeed recently won The Hong Kong International Cup while his Gold Fun came second in the Hong Kong International Mile, and his purchase of Lindsay Park plus those they are putting in place to look after their acquisitions- all Chinese- and other Chinese from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia moving into every other part of the racing world, the new Long March continues.
This goes on every day while many focus on petty politics and remain totally oblivious to The Big Picture and the next generation of the sport’s real power brokers- already with all the face they need- while refusing to see that the paradigm shift that’s begun.
Get outside and smell the yum cha and dim sum.