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01 Jan 10 08:11
Date Joined: 23 Jun 03
| Topic/replies: 166 | Blogger: cherry's blog
Just in time to monitor the Claisse/Cheltenham twists and turns.
Sorry to steal your thread, jonjo!

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When: 01 Jan 10 08:50
No problems Cherry

Here are the eight questions that were put to the BHA on Dec 3rd will have still not been answered


In a article circa 2008 in the Guardian, you suggested that a scale for going stick readings would be forthcoming, 16 months later there is still none. Why is this?

Re watering, if a course has felt it fit to race on a certain stick reading, why are they watering to produce safe ground with a stick reading sometimes that is way under ground that that was considered safe before ?

We, at Clerkwatch feel that inaccurate stick readings are no good to anybody connected to the racing industry and think that readings should be taken as close to the 1st race(1 hour) and as soon after the last that can be practical. These readings could be
When: 01 Jan 10 11:04
Looks like the New Year has got off to a traditional start with Cheltenham inspecting the course after the 1st race.
When: 01 Jan 10 11:05
Just thought id start off the new year with a few things to ponder.

The Autumn at Ascot, where for the 1st time, The Round course had a higher reading than the straight, Got me thinking, We all expected to see divots flying everywhere with that historically low reading for the straight course, but indeed it was the opposite and some fast times were recorded.
Imho this could be to do with the timing of the watering and the way the going stick is used, it is inserted into the ground and then pulled at a angle, therefore is it not logical to assume that the device is measuring resistance going UPWARDS??
Now if you water ahead of a meeting and it has time to soak in wouldnt this lead to a lower reading underneath whilst the top of the surface is drying out??-this may have lead to better ground on a lower reading rather than the Royal meeting when the opposite may have happened, ie loose on top when the stick was giving a higher reading from below.
This could be why we are getting readings which frankly dont make sense. Could a better idea to measure DOWNWARD pressure, which is more useful imo as we want to see how far they are going in the ground be in the shape of a device that could measure the velocity of a horses hoof hitting the surface be better??

All thoughts welcome and im starting a up to date scale of courses which hopefully should be finished by the end of January
When: 01 Jan 10 11:16
Dear Zilzal,
this is a very good start for the thread of 2010, clearly marking out the
questions that should be the focus for the year ahead. I am a great believer that solutions are found from the correct questions ( but asked
in a mature way without immature mudslinging and attacks on people
personally rather its better to keep to the point).
By asking questions, the weak links in the BHA's logic can be unearthed
and ultimately pressure can be applied to this organisation for it to state clearly its objectives in the light of constructive criticism.

However the one friend that is needed is the Racing Post to print
questions and answers and publish debate. In this respect, equal effort should be applied to asking why the post is not making print on these
issues if it appears unwilling to do so.

When: 01 Jan 10 11:16
Spot on Zil, downforce is what we want for a truer reading, imo
When: 01 Jan 10 11:21
Cheers Gart

I agree that it should not become personal, but in the heat of a argument and people being Human and emotions running high it is inevitable that these things happen.
If i were a casual racegoer and attended York's Ebor meeting in 2008, Haydock a couple of weeks ago and now Cheltenham today i would probably be taking my leisure pound elsewhere, however every attempt will be made to keep this thread in the manner you describe.

Im afraid as far as the Post and CH4 racing are concerned, every attempt has been made to contact them and they simply are unwilling or cant be bothered to address the issues here.
When: 01 Jan 10 12:00
then you must :) confront the journalists/producers/editors
and interview them
record that interview
post it on utube.

its easy for me to say but i cannot since i will be too busy with a new one.
Julius Caesar ( JC 100 BC )
When: 02 Jan 10 05:57
Good to see a new thread up and running. Sandown clerk looking to be our first fall guy this year ;)
When: 02 Jan 10 06:15
We have made progress over the last two years, there's no denying that. However, we are still a veryong way from where we would want to be in seeing this game administered/regulated in the manner that is appropriate for a multi-million pound industry.

Punters remain rooted at the very bottom of the food chain, with owners not all that far above them, while the BHA tries in vain to sustain the simply unsustainable (under GPT) fixture list.

I received an email this week from a medium sized owners (20 or so in training) telling me that he was unable to access races on the BHA owners/trainers site more than 3months in advance because the structure of the cards had not yet been finalised?
So it seems that owners are not just blithely expected to stick with the sport through thick & thin (& prizemoney is getting extremely thin) they are now expected to start targetting osses at races that may or may not exist???

They (the BHA) want the game run straight?
And yet they are happy to preside over the SHAMEFUL levels of prizemoney which do nothing to arrest the daily decline in probity that experienced race-readers/punters are seeing every day within the sport.
They pollute their payroll with a plethora of 'ex-jockeys' etc that CANNOT be objective by the very nature of their former employment & any dissenting voice is dismissed as a 'talking-pocket'

The ROA with PaulDixon in charge (?) seem as though they dont want to know about anything much?
I have not seen anything from this fellah as to indicate he has a blind clue about what to do to sort this mess out & when you have people from this organisation cheering a 100/1 National winner because it will mean a 'windfall for racing' it clearly shows the lack of understanding that there is at the higher levels of these groups/committees.......If the ROA were stupid enough to accept the Levy Committees reccomendation of GPT, they should not be representing hard pressed owners who are paying the same (if not more?) to keep horses as they were five years ago, but receiving a lt less back in return (unless they have seen sense & are running them 3/4 fit & laying by proxy)

The 'going' situation remains farcial, with the BHA still showing no intent to actively regulate the activities of these clerks & seemingly unwilling to make any comment on their fitness for posts, leaving it entirely up to the racecourses (who they licence to race) who they appoint/retain.
When you look at the delay in answering what look pretty straightforward questions posted above & think about GPT ("the gross win on British Racing" as Nic Coward laughably calls it) it MUST make you wonder if there is any will at the BHA to actually straighten this sport out? Or do they just want to be 'seen' to be doing something (tinkering with re-hashed marketing cliches with REL for example?) while hoping the fuss dies down & they all make it through to their pensions (plenty of spending on those?)

Punters/Owners are the lifeblood of this sport, if the BHA cannot grasp that basic fact & stop pandering to their bosses in Rayners Lane etc, they are pressing the self-destruct button big style.

The media can play their part in this, but it is unfortunate that there are only about four people in the whole of the racing media ranks who are prepared to grasp any sort of nettle.

1. Gross Profits Tax - It's not working & it's bankrupting the sport.
This is aside from the scandal of having a regulatory body that at present wants us to lose as much (if not more?) than we can afford to?
A bit of thinking outside the box would have the bookmakers begging to pay 2% on turnover, but it would require some nerve & backbone, plus the willingness to upset a few chums....

2. Race Planning - How hard can it be? Not as hard as they are making it look. Most cards are carbon copies from other years, we all know that.

3. Going - Clerks talking utter, utter hogwash ("it'll be on, no danger, John Kettley told me") & going reports going into the formbook that are WORTHLESS
Contradictory stick readings & yet the so-called 'Inspector of Courses' makes no noise whatsoever about this?
The media STILL let the likes of Seamus spout their 'safety' nonesense, while knowing full well that we fill the plane for the Breeders Cup despite the sometimes road-like conditions....

4. Marketing - The sport remains accesable to only those willing to pay to check it out - The BHA could easily mirror the Post's website & give people even more data if they had a mind to. Why dont they?

5. TV Coverage - Instead of propping up (CH4 backhanders) broadcasts who's format does not work (they said they get no viewers when they held the begging bowl out), why not ask for racing to be presented as a serious sport, as all other sports are?

6. Corruption - see point 1.
When: 02 Jan 10 06:26
Should we have started a 'Director of Racing(watch) 2010' ?

It seems Coops' has had his job description altered (along with a hefy payrise I'll wager?)
Julius Caesar ( JC 100 BC )
When: 04 Jan 10 06:17
MONDAY 4TH DECEMBER..... Busy day today :p
Julius Caesar ( JC 100 BC )
When: 04 Jan 10 06:17
Doh ! January FFS !!! How many times ave I done that already.
When: 04 Jan 10 09:03
I'm still classing 2008 as last year......
When: 04 Jan 10 11:12
E mail fired off to High Holborn
When: 04 Jan 10 12:48
WOLVERHAMPTON - Flat (Updated:04/01/2010 at 08:45)


7f 32y: Outside, Remainder: Inside

-8.3 Celsius at 8.00am, with temperatures predicted to rise to +
1 Celsius. Conditions clear with the sun now rising.

Track will be power harrowed to a depth of about 4" this
morning, but intention to re-instate standard going.

Fair play for providing decent information on track work on the aw.
When: 04 Jan 10 13:28
Muq, agree with that, gives a depth as well so can be compared and used against further depths of harrowing.

The kind of info we want from clerks
When: 05 Jan 10 04:19
SOUTHWELL - Flat (Updated:28/12/2009 at 10:51)

Standard to Slow

5f: Outside, Remainder: Inside

In stark contrast this is simply not good enough, it should be a sackable offence.
When: 05 Jan 10 09:04
At last we have some BHA/REL stuff to comment upon.......

Summary of Racing For Change initatives

-Trial of decimal odds at several race meetings over one weekend in spring 2010.

So, we've given up hope of trying to 'educate' people, or get them interested enough to LEARN about the sport/odds etc & want to dumb it down a bit more?
Plus, what the hell kind of trial in the spring over ONE day will show them is pathetic, either they run it for 3months, or so, or not at all, surely?

-Funded media training for jockeys and trainers, together with an appearance fee budget set aside for non-racing media work.

I thought I'd seen it all as regards the sheer stupidity of the people behind these 'initiatives' but does anyone with half a functioning brain cell really think that chucking money at a few seminars is going to make the likes of Stoute media friendly, or get Aiden to spout anything other than the party line from the Coolmore brochure?
Good to see someone's getting a budget though eh? (pitiful)

-All jockeys and trainers to be listed on race cards by their first names and surnames.

That will make all the difference....No wonder they paid these people 1/4 million up-front.

-The outcome of photo finishes to be displayed on screen at the same moment as the judge's announcement. Saddlecloth numbers will be larger to improve visibility.

On screen?
Which/What screen?
Will the saddlecloths be colour coded like the Kempton ones?
How many people desperately need to see a freeze frame or print of the finish the very second the judge makes the announcement eh?

-Race names to be simplified and racecourse announcements to be modernised.

"Yo, I got sum jockey changes for ya, listen up bros" ?
That kind of thing?
Will the names be simplified because people need to write them on their betting slips? (no) or do the people we are trying to attract need the present race names read to them before they have a bet?
When people understand the sport they know that 99.999% of people who have a bet dont give a sh!t what the race is called, it's the distance/track/going that they are interested in.....FOR BETTING you idiots......

-On-course bookmakers encouraged to offer standard each way terms and enhanced customer service via agreed minimum service standards.

How are you going to 'encourage' this, why haven't you always been encouraging this?
How much are you going to spend on this?
Books are hard pressed thanks to Betfair etc & standard e/w terms would be suicide for plenty.
Please explain how the 'blue sky thinking' works with this particular platitude please?

-Racecourse initiatives to improve the enjoyment and understanding of a day at the races for both new and regular racegoers, linked to a new independent quality assessment scheme.

More money chucked at 'media personalities' already proven to be incapable of selling the game & more questionaires, despite this supposedly all being boxed off & the people 'racing for change' being clued up about what they are doing.....
I'll tell you now that the findings will be that the sport is "too elitist & needs simplifying" .....LMFAO.

-The establishment of a new free membership club for younger adults that will offer discounted admission to many racecourses and shares in several racehorses.

So friends of the BHA/REL will have their yards topped up & get something out of the marketing budget.
Well done on this.
The rest of it is pure sop, as younger racegoers already enjoy massive discounts despite them being the group less likely to incur most cost when going for a days racing......

-A new website launched to promote horse racing to new and novice customers.

Let's hope it's the type of site I was reccomending 12months ago....

-A central PR campaign from January to promote racing more effectively to a wider audience.

No detail as to how this will be achieved.......content, manner/style of approach........ANOTHER glib platitude.
Julius Caesar ( JC 100 BC )
When: 05 Jan 10 09:11
Oh dear ! What a waste of time this all is. :_|
When: 05 Jan 10 09:23
No wonder it was sneaked out under cover of darkness rather than given a big fanfare........
When: 05 Jan 10 12:02
The young bettor can almost find out what time a NFL, Soccer, Basketbal, Cricket player etc last had a sh!te, but can he find the time it took a horse to run first 2f or what stick reading was in those two furlongs in UK can he heckers like.

No Racing for Change here imho.
When: 05 Jan 10 12:08
Mr Nic Coward and his mates at BHA, REL or whateever need to go to HKJC website and educate themselves imho.
When: 05 Jan 10 12:47
And after they've done that, they need to have a look at their own performance & decide if they are worth their salaries.....
When: 05 Jan 10 14:16
Should take 30 secs..
When: 05 Jan 10 17:40
The inefficiency in this sh1thole of a country astounds me. I'm laid up with flu at home at the moment and the two highlights of my day have been.....

1) The BHA's proposals today which is frankly the equivalent of paying Red Adair £1million to come and have a look at the fire of London, and he takes his wee man out and p1sses on it by way of attempting to appear to address the problem.

2) Some**t on the Scottish news who came on and told me that the best way to survive through the cold was to keep warm. No sh1t?

An honourable mention also goes to the man from the Scottish Science centre who said to stop you slipping on the ice - in the absence of any salt or grit - that there are "loads of things you use round the house" - "like sand".......?
When: 05 Jan 10 17:43
LOL - Makes you proud to be british ,or maybe not .Get well soon .
When: 05 Jan 10 21:33
You can bet your bottom dollar the decimal prices will be rounded down so 7/4 becomes 2.70(just to make it easy for people, you understand)
9/4 becomes 3.20 and so on..............
When: 06 Jan 10 05:08
Closely followed by 'Industry SPs' across the board....
You CAN see it coming, because it's coming towards us in a big wagon with the lights flashing & it's got F'K THE PUNTERS/OWNERS written on the side of it.....

Was going through the Levy report with Koo last night (our respective womenfolk obviously love racing!) & some of the reading in there gave us a right laugh, none more so than Rob Hughes 'letter to my successor' which appeared to have been ghost-written by Lewis Carrol?

What was something of a surprise to us, was the gurning mug of Paul Dixon smiling serenely back at us from the Group photo of the Levy Committee......He seems to be racing's new 'QuangoMan' these days & if there's a committee worth chairing/sitting on, he's in the Dixmobile & tucking his bib in before you can say "Jamie Osborne"

I think the thing that surprised us, was that he's supposed to be batting for owners from his position on the ROA & yet he's sat there on that committee that has rubber stamped a decision to have owners contributing a bigger share of the prizemoney than was the case in the previous year. Punters are also contributing more, because SPONSORSHIP has dropped.
Thankfully, despite sponsorship declining, as far as we know, none of the hard-pressed luvvies who do the marketing/sales for racecourses have been sacked, replaced or stuck on performance related pay, so it's not all bad.....

Mr Dixon is also on the Horseman's Group, the bunch who seemed to get the BHA 'marketing budget' so it's a wonder he's not been more vocal in the latest announcements about how REL, are going to address the decline in sponsorship & market the sport to potential sponsors?
Funny how the big, bold 'racing for change' announcement omitted any mention of that fact.............
Maybe they just missed a word out & it's actually called 'racing for loose change' ?
When: 06 Jan 10 05:48
Of course, it's wrong to be so negative when all these good people are doing their best for the game, so in anticipation of racing making massive inroads to arrest the decline of sponsorship, here's an indication of how a telephone conversation might go between a former owner/sponsor who REL are trying to attract back to the game......

REL: Hello, is that Mr Smith

S: Yes, it's me, who is this please?

REL: I'm calling fromRacing Enterprises Ltd & we want you to come back to racing.

S: No thanks, I used to own horses & I had one that won three races on the a/w one season & still lost money on it.

REL: You can lose more than that now we've dropped prizemoney!

S: Attractive as that sounds, I prefer to put my advertising budget elsewhere, where I might get a return for it.

REL: We've made a lot of changes to the sport to make it more media friendly...

S: Really?

REL: Yes, we're going to send the jockeys/trainers to be coached by Derek Thompson in how to speak to the media & Sir Michael Stoute's agreed to play Widow Twanky in a panto next Christmas.

S: What changes have you made that are of benefit to me as an owner?
Or as a sponsor?

REL: We're big supporters of the heritage of racing & if you look at the hsitory books you'll find that quite often owners were racing in match races for a couple of chickens or maybe a goat in big races, we're looking to get that sort of atmosphere back.....
We are going to have bigger saddle cloths though, so you can see what number your horse is & the jockey will have his full name in the race card

S: Well at least I wont have to see Culhane's full name, I'd dropped out of sponsoring by the time he got caught, but I assume he's out of the game now?

REL: Errr, we've also made sure that people will understand the odds better by making them decimal.

S: Oh, you mean rounding prices down leading to a return to industry sp's?

REL; Oh, I dont know anything about that, but I can pass on your query to our betting support team & they could give you the answer to that one.

S: Look love, I'm 56 & will probably be dead by the time they answer me & I've just actually explained it to you.
You've given me a load of flowery sh!t there & told me nothing about how you are going to arrest the decline in prizemoney, ensure the bookmaking chains pay enough to bet on the product, weed out the institutional corruption, stop charging me to log onto your website to look for races for my horses that havent been framed yet, despite 600 people seeming to work in 'race planning' stop the 'jobs for the boys' mentality, regulate going reports/forecasts, censure clerks who 'tinker' with the ground (I can target a fast ground horse at a midsummer race & arrive to find it's good to soft in a heatwave)
& if I have a runner at Catterick & get caught short near the paddock I am expected to take a leak in the open air & piddle against a wall (which is quite apt, because that appears to be what you want me to do with my money if I come back to racing?)


REL: Think the silly old fart hung up on me? Josh & the team are right, we need more new people in racing, pass me the yellow pages Tamara.........
Julius Caesar ( JC 100 BC )
When: 06 Jan 10 06:53
Oh dear ! Ironic really.
When: 06 Jan 10 16:24
Received a reply from the BHA today regarding the track preparation for the aw;

Thank you for your email and sorry that the reply has been delayed by Christmas and the recent poor weather.

Obviously the GoingStick is used on turf only and there doesnt look to be any immediate likelihood of it coming in on the AWT. Therefore that sort of ground analysis isnt in the immediate offing.

Obviously one of the big pluses of the AWT surface is its consistency, so ground discrepancies arent, by definition, as significant as they are on the turf.

Having spoken to the Racing Dept directly, they think this would really be a case of if you want that much information (i.e. down to the type of harrowing in use on any given day), you could just speak to Clerks of the Course directly.

I hope this answers your query

Fair play for them replying. Sadly I take issue with the text in bold. A front runner on deep harrowed ground is at a big disadvantage, in most cases chances of winning are slim imho. This is particularly true at Southwell.

This is pretty basic information imho and if it is available, why not supply the information?

The information is added to the BHA pages somedays and not others so someone somewhere obviously thinks the information is of value.
When: 06 Jan 10 16:52
They should follow wolvers example and say what depth they have harrowed to,Muq. As Empty says, in the US they will tell you what the trainer had for breakfast, i cant believe that they dont still get the point that leaving people uninformed about the sport they want to wager on yet coming out with gimmicks that appear to be dumbing things down will attract more people to bet.
Stake & Chips
When: 06 Jan 10 17:03
Racing For Change...isn't this what owners are currently doing imo?
When: 06 Jan 10 17:08
Of the small copper variety Stakey
When: 06 Jan 10 18:08
re BHA reply to Muqbil, it demostrates to my mind that the staff there, including in the "racing dept.'' don't understand the sport and the importance of the going from a form perspective. They should employ experts not jobsworths.
When: 06 Jan 10 23:29
Decimal odds trial receives positive reaction

By Jon Lees 5:44PM 5 JAN 2010

BOOKMAKERS could be ready to embrace change to the way they do business in the racecourse betting ring after they indicated on Tuesday they would be receptive to the introduction of decimalised odds and standard each-way betting terms.

Even though betting in fractions has been a long-standing practice in the betting ring, bookmakers accepted introducing decimal odds was a positive way forward as they gave a favourable reaction to Racing For Change initiatives aimed at modernising horse racing.

Robin Grossmith, chairman of the Federation of Racecourse Bookmakers, and Channel 4 betting pundit John McCririck said decimalisation has become inevitable, while a strawpoll of layers at Southwell supported recommended changes which feature among ten trial initiatives drawn up by the RFC project.

An experiment with a dual system of odds, allowing traditional fractions to be returned as well as their decimal equivalent, is being lined up this spring, but resistance within the ring to change, 39 years after currency was decimalised, may not be as strong as anticipated, though at some potential cost to punters.

"The comments made by some people about why change because people are used to it are somewhat valid, but I do accept the argument that a generation have moved on," said Grossmith.

"On the racecourse now quite a few bookmakers bet 9-5, 13-10, 15-4, so it is creeping in slowly anyway. It is probably inevitable."

McCririck said: "They are inevitable. People still come up to me on the racecourse to ask what is the better price, 15-8 or 7-4? I always knew this would come but hoped it wouldn't in my lifetime. Part of the traditional and colour would go, but it is the way to go forward.

"Off-course bookmakers will welcome it but it's a loss for punters because they won't get the full 4-1 or 5-1."

RFC's goal is to have trialled the initiatives by the end of June with a number to be introduced on one day, though no date has yet been scheduled. Producing standard each-way betting terms on the racecourse is more complicated, though bookmakers appear prepared to offer a quarter the odds for a place only in handicaps of 22 runners or more.

McCririck in his usual contradictory tone says it's the way to go forward, then remembers his 'fans' & says it's a loss for punters.....

Plenty of on course boys asking what was in racing for change for them on the other forum, so the straw poll might have missed them out?

Another CLEAR indication that GPT is steering the racing ship towards maximising the profits of the high st firms, at the expense of punters, owners, trainers & now on-course bookmakers....

It could not get any more blatent.
When: 07 Jan 10 02:19
McCririck said: "They are inevitable. People still come up to me on the racecourse to ask what is the better price, 15-8 or 7-4?

The above comment shows IMHO that racing tv and it's employees like the Big One are more interested in talking crap than educating the people that show an interst.

No wonder they give up and go play poker etc.
When: 07 Jan 10 02:40
"Sadly I take issue with the text in bold£

And so you should Muqbil

Maybe racing rv and it's Presenters could educate this person regaring the effect different horrowing depths has on a horses energy and how the elements can effect synthetic surfaces too.
When: 07 Jan 10 02:53
I need some writing and typing education thats for sure

Shocking stuff.
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