So where do we start. My comments are restricted to racing in Sydney. I don’t think they should apply to Melbourne or Hong Kong, very different racing jurisdictions.
Sadly the industry has just about thrown everything at Sydney racing…. grand facilities (perhaps not so grand in places), record yearling prices, massive prize money, the Championships, now the $10 million Everest and possibly a Sydney Harbour Bridge race. So why isn’t it working.
The answer is simple, it’s boring and it’s surrounded and lead by boring, sycophantic people of mediocre intellect and class. It has become an industry and sport of false pretence and elitism. The industry at the top needs change and it needs it now. It needs strong and intelligent people in charge, people with class. It urgently needs a significant cultural change, a change away from a focus of driving prize money and wagering. All positions should be declared vacant.
Not many of my friends are interested in racing. They are people of the highest order, quality, well educated people possessing great humility and integrity. They are captains of industry and highly respected professionals. They are leaders, however, they won’t have a bar of racing, they won’t go near a racetrack, they won’t join a race club and they aren’t interested in being involved. They’re not interested in owning horses, punting and they think the sport is crooked and full of crooks.
A day at the races in Sydney especially Royal Randwick has become boring. It’s no longer fun and I think the reason for this is that the facilities are not conducive to producing an atmosphere. The ridiculous theatre of the horse in its current location is a good example. Many of the racegoers are watching from inside the Queen Elizabeth stand i.e. behind glass. The atmosphere and thrill the finish is not captured like the old days. There is little excitement…. (other than one special moment…. the win of Chautauqua in the 2017 TJ Smith being the most exciting sporting moment in my life).
I’ve stated above that the industry was surrounded by sycophantic people of mediocre intellect and class. I mean that. There are too many people in the involved in the industry who are too frightened to publicly speak their mind, too frightened to step on toes, too frightened to lose perceived positions of status and power, too frightened to lose their incomes and too frightened of RNSW. When I say involved, I’m saying that these people are in positions of influence, yet they are pathetically frightened to do something about the dismal condition of Sydney racing.
I stated above that all positions should be declared vacant and I mean that. I know our executives try very hard however the facts speak for themselves and they are failing. All positions should be declared vacant.
Racing in Sydney should be outstanding. The quality of training, horsemanship and riding is first class. It’s a first-class product however it has a huge cultural problem.