Kim Bailey: ‘We must promote the racing industry to a wider audience’

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  • National Hunt trainer Kim Bailey shares his thoughts on the importance of showcasing racing to all

    OLD as I might be I really cannot recall a longer dry spell of weather as we have had this autumn. It is seriously beginning to affect the jump season and for us National Hunt trainers with proper winter horses, reading that racecourses are still watering to maintain good ground in the last 10 days of November is perhaps a major warning of what the future holds in a world of climate change.

    It might sound strange for those not in the sport as “good ground” is surely good ground, but for those in the sport, we know that good ground when watered is “false”. When you use a sprinkler on your lawn you get false patches where more water has landed in some areas and that is the problem when watering a racecourse, no two places will be the same.

    The press has been giving the sport grief for not having enough runners to keep the public happy, but I am sure the public would be much less happy if we were to run their favourite horses on unsuitable ground, which could potentially cause an injury.

    A damaged tendon takes an immeasurable time to heal and can be career-ending; competitive racing is all well and good but taking the risk of damaging a horse really is not worth it.

    Increasing understanding

    THERE has been much talk about Netflix or other TV producers thinking of reinventing the wheel when it comes to a documentary on racing.

    Netflix’s Formula One: Drive to Survive was hugely popular and really showed how Grand Prix racers lived on a daily basis. Sporting feuds and rivalry were all too evident in this excellent documentary and I for one feel that horse racing really should do a similar programme.

    Very few people have any understanding of what goes on behind the gate in a racing yard and those who are able to see it through stable tours or being an owner simply love it. Now is the time to show the country what we do and how we come to make the decisions we do.

    Another benefit of the above will be to show young people just out of school that racing life is one they too can enjoy. At present, too many youngsters who come into racing are frowned upon by their friends as they believe it is a cruel sport. It is not, but the working hours certainly are.

    Again, we need to be proactive in finding ways to promote our industry to all audiences; it has so much going for it, including the love of animals.

    Irish dominance

    WE are just a few months into the jump season and the recent Betfair Chase run at Haydock was won in hugely impressive style by A Plus Tard and Rachael Blackmore. The performance was worthy of the legendary four-time Betfair Chase winner Kauto Star as A Plus Tard became the first Irish runner to plunder the opening Grade One of the British season.

    Is this the start of another season of Irish dominance of English racing? Time will tell but it does set the season up nicely for the months ahead.

    This exclusive column will also be available to read in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 2 December

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