30th Jul 2012
Lunch may be for wimps but I confess to taking some time out in July. This included a trip to Newmarket for what has become the bloodstock industry holiday festival. For those of us who are working at their hobby it combines the necessary ingredients of a sale, high-class racing and a visiting international population for some serious “networking”, much of which seemed to occur in the grand Marquee pitched by Castlebridge.
The week culminated in another Group 1 win for Invincible Spirit when Mayson became his second July Cup winner, and by a wide margin. The Armstrongs achieved everybody’s dream in breeding and racing a winner at the highest level and they now have huge compensation for the untimely death of his dam Mayleaf. Breeding a good horse is a huge achievement but it so often happens that the breeder in question misses out on any direct reward due to the hazards of owning livestock.
I was updated on the progress of the Racing Post Yearling Bonus Scheme IV and the nominations for it are again very high with over 2,500 yearlings proposed to date. I also met with the author of the newly proposed BOBIS scheme and it seems to have quite a marketing challenge to explain its message. One core objective of BOBIS is to try to gain an advantage for British bred horses, an objective at odds with the RPYBS and one which I feel will eventually be negated and thus serve only to dissipate racings scarce resources for no great gain to anybody.
The horseracing industry is losing relevance in a fast-changing world. When we see EA Games creating a Playstation game of Horseracing to match their “FIFA Football” then we might be reassured of our future. I have an antique at home – “Totopoly”, the board game from the makers of Monopoly but based on training a racehorse and then racing him. I am not sure that it would convert many kids to the pleasures of ownership in the modern day, but the fact that the biggest toy manufacturer thought to create a game based on our sport shows where we were then. The version today ought to be electronic and involve the players wearing jockeys goggles which brought the players to galloping speed in the comfort of their couch. It would refresh the expression “he couldn’t ride a sticky armchair”.