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Jamaica
Friday, June 18, 2021

Jimmie says | Let’s not waste a superb disaster | Sports activities

In each disaster, there may be alternative, which native racing mustn’t permit to go with out capitalising. To say horse racing has been Jamaica’s most lucky sport, lengthy earlier than the arrival of COVID-19, can be an understatement.

From a publicity perspective, there has by no means been any native sport to have ever, and can by no means, benefit from the protection that native racing instructions, freed from cost, in print and digital media. Whereas different sports activities scrounge for media sponsorship, horse racing has by no means been in need of suitors offering numerous column house and hours of airtime, earlier than and after the bugle is blown at Caymanas Park, even with the arrival of personal possession by means of divestment to Supreme Ventures Racing and Leisure Restricted (SVREL).

Whereas different sports activities perennially beg for presidency help, there’s a risk {that a} determine won’t ever be ascertained to account for the billions of {dollars} pumped into Caymanas Park by respective administrations, from both aspect of the political divide, now joined by a private-sector entity, which remains to be attempting to determine how the hell it received right into a scenario which then Finance Minister Audley Shaw lauded SVREL’s former boss, Paul Hoo, for being “the bravest man within the room”.

COVID-19 occurred, and each sport caved in, horse racing included, till, out of desperation, forces that all the time pulled in reverse instructions met on the crossroads of survival to prepared the ground regionally for a resumption of the game and livelihood of hundreds.

EASILY SATISFIED

Nevertheless, showing too simply glad, native racing’s gamers have apparently not taken inventory of their shut brush with an prolonged shutdown from which different sports activities corresponding to soccer have simply began talks of resumption.

This era of early curfew hours, lockdown days, and restricted patronage must have opened the eyes of local-racing gamers to the truth of the state of the trade, beginning dialogue for a renewed emergence from the COVID-19 period, hitting the bottom working earlier than the following Finances is ready, with the Authorities exploring all obtainable choices to stimulate the financial system.

Much like the early days of COVID-19, horse-racing pursuits must be huddling each probability they get, placing apart egocentric variations, egos, and plain stupidity to ascertain a grasp plan for January 2022. As an alternative, they’re all again at Caymanas Park, ready in line to win a situation race or to be among the many hordes drawing straws to assert Unbreakable, who has modified barns for every of his final dozen begins, probably profitable two races within the interim.

Aside from not being for the faint of coronary heart, proudly owning a racehorse singularly is equally not a enterprise for individuals of modest revenue, a gaggle that features trainers who’re licensed as homeowners by the Jamaica Racing Fee with out having to indicate the technique of affordability.

It’s from amongst this group that opposition is rife to reverting to a ratings-based handicapping system that doesn’t drive individuals, who consider in perennially reinvesting in new horseflesh, to promote their horses in claiming occasions to win purse cash after struggling by means of situation races for a 12 months or extra.

IGNORANT OWNERS

Not with the ability to see farther than hustling ignorant homeowners stifles the power and reputations of too many trainers, who fail to grasp the alternatives that exist in a ranking system that shortly sends superior horses to race towards one another as a substitute of plundering purses towards inferior opposition, a course of generally known as ‘profitable out their situations’, making these with weaker horses seem much less proficient than their extra lucky friends, whose homeowners present them with the crème de la crème, acquired from the farm gate or yearling sale.

Nevertheless, smaller trainers’ fears of not with the ability to purchase horses, exterior of claiming, are actual and have to be remedied forward of reverting to a ratings-based handicapping system, which might solely serve to make them additional marginalised than they already are and not using a levelling of the taking part in area.

Therefore, a nationwide stud is a should, not just for making certain a ‘true’ yearling-sale public sale, void of reserved costs and personal owner-breeders driving up costs on bidders, but additionally a horse-racing trade academy, just like the British and Irish nationwide studs, which, along with providing each service conceivable, additionally cater to skilled qualification, ranging from groom to veterinarian, an entire package deal to the advantage of what native racing can develop into, a gem within the largest group within the Caribbean with immense human assets.

Subsequently, Chairman Solomon Sharpe, throughout this disaster, your grand ambitions of a brand new tote board, grass monitor, trainers’ pavilion, and the likes, are all commendable. Nevertheless, why put any of those forward of being the lead voice for the institution of a nationwide stud, serviced by a cohort of imported mares and stallions, which might allay the fears of trainers not with the ability to purchase horses exterior of claiming 9 and 10-year-olds?

This may not look like the remit of the marketing firm. Nevertheless, there are occasions when fingers must be held and led for the advantage of all involved.

Ainsley ‘Jimmie’ Walters has been overlaying horse racing for greater than 25 years for the Gleaner Firm (Media) Restricted and is the editorial and manufacturing coordinator for the Monitor And Swimming pools race type.

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