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Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 14:24 pm

My attention was grabbed by the ROA leader in the October edition of The Owner and Breeder magazine written by the ROA President Nicholas Cooper. It starts ‘The value of owners and ownership is becoming increasingly appreciated by the wider world of horseracing’. Which is at least an admission that a) it never was appreciated until recently and b) the level of that appreciation may not yet be complete.
It turns out that the ROA has recently secured funding from the Levy Board to develop an ownership strategy which it is hoped will send a clear message that the whole of racing that finally acknowledges the position.
I suspect that the motive for this so called initiative is the rather obvious fact that if ownership continues to decline at its present rate, or worse still declines at a greater rate, there will not be the number of horses available to fill the races in the racing program. If that happens the payments to racing for Media Rights will automatically reduce pro rata. So less prizemoney, which will probably lead to further reductions in ownership and so on.
Maybe I am a little churlish and cynical but I can’t help feeling that giving a shed load of money to the ROA to develop a strategy to put right the mess they created in the first instance, and refused to acknowledge for decades, might not be the best way forward. It smacks of putting the asylum in the hands of the inmates.
When I read articles like this I am not exactly jumping for joy in the belief that all the ills and wasted opportunities of the past 20 years will be corrected by the reform and investment necessary to make racing financially sustainable. I am waiting for more. I am waiting for someone in authority to say that owners, and I mean all owners not just the big wealthy and powerful owners, need to have the opportunity to recover their investment.
I am not seeking a guarantee, just a realistic opportunity, because that no longer exists. I suspect I am going to have to wait a very long time.
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