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Posted: Mon Nov 01, 2021 14:03 pm

Can something be deeply depressing and at the same time a little bit uplifting. Well for us racing and breeding nutcases I think there is a positive answer. I have always kept my old copies of Pacemaker and Thoroughbred Breeder magazines and I frequently use them to research this or that. Every now and then I pull a couple out from the shelf and read through them all over again. It’s a sort of sado masochistic mildly pleasurable experience.
Firstly you look at discussions about all the things that were wrong with racing 12 or 15 years ago. Too much racing! Too little prizemoney! Ineffectual regulators! Trainers doping horses! Breeders producing too many foals for the market ! Sales dominated by the big owners! Not enough new owners! How strikingly familiar, how is it possible that absolutely nothing has been done about any of the ‘ill’s’ in the sport without there being much evidence of terminal decline.
Then look at all the advertisements for stallions, mostly new stallions because they are the ones that need to be more heavily promoted. They are all advertised as the next big thing! I am looking at 2008 and Shadwell are promoting HAAFHD, and SAKHEE. Highclere MOTIVATOR and DR FONG Plantation Stud in Newmarket ARAAFA, Cheveley Park, DUTCH ART! Darley HALLING! Juddmonte THREE VALLEYS! The National Stud, BAHAMIAN BOUNTY! PASTORAL PURSUITS! COCKNEY REBEL! And PHOENIX REACH! I could go on but I think everyone is going to get the point. Good Studs with top class horsemen, great facilities, every advantage in fact, but nearly all these horses have proven to be at very best moderate stallions. Some of them have in reality been dire.
There is an article by Philip Freedman which concluded that Owners of Book 4 yearlings would have been better off giving their horses away rather than preparing them for sale. There was a bit about how the new bloodstock code of practise would ‘clean up’ the sales. Its all a bit comforting and familiar, nothing gets done, nothing changes, nothing improves all the problems of 14 or 15 years ago are still being discussed and solutions are being suggested. The urgency to clean up the major issues is clear so why is it nothing gets done.
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