Tag Archives: horse racing

Classic Winners

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It was nearly twenty years ago that a very special lady got me interested in the sport of kings by asking me to place a bet on a horse called Legal Right tipped by the Guardian columnist Marcel Berlins. It was a success and from then on I was hooked.

In the years that have followed I have improved my knowledge of the game immensely and It is around this time of year that my excitement really builds in anticipation of the start of a new flat season. The first of the four classics are run in early May and we see how the previous autumn’s two year old stars have trained on. This time around the ‘Boys in blue’ at Godolphin have a really smart prospect called Pinatubo who I am sure they are anxious to unleash. Their rivals across the sea in Ireland at Ballydoyle will have their own plans to add to their impressive haul of winners.

All that said, as with almost everything else my thoughts often turn to the politics of racing. I am afraid to say we are unlikely to find many high profile Liberals amongst the stars of the sport. Having read interviews with Frankie Dettori I can confirm that he is most definitely a Tory. Rachel Hood wife of his current employer champion trainer John Gosden applied to be Conservative candidate for West Suffolk (the Constituency that includes Newmarket) awhile back and I know from my time as a resident of Newbury that the other big racing centre Lambourn is also a true blue stronghold.

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

Opinion: The Betting Industry and Animal Welfare

The proliferation of betting shops in our high streets and the associated issue of the amounts gambled on high stakes gaming machines have been the subject of intense political debate recently.

The welfare of animals in the betting industry, I am thinking in particular of racehorses, receives a lot less interest.

I have always been a very strong supporter of the rights of animals, but having developed a keen interest in horseracing a few years ago, I started to examine much more closely the treatment of the non-human participants in what is a multi-billion pound industry.

Horseracing is an international sport, with the top competitors going long distances to chase big prizes.

Two of the big welfare issues are the use of the whip and races that involve jumping over obstacles.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments
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