I had a call this week from Racing League’s CEO Jeremy Wray who was kind enough to take the time to explain more about how the funding works – and on what metrics the venture will be considered a success.
What was clear was that they genuinely believe the format has a future both in the UK and as something that might be exportable in the future. The £1.8 million to support prize money has been raised via, in the main, new sponsors to the sport which is something that is commendable and does beg the question why these same sponsors weren’t attracted to invest into the game in its traditional form?
I’ve heard some well thought out defences of the Racing League but they have come from those with a vested interest. Either trainers in the ‘club’ or ‘racing managers’. With respect, I wouldn’t expect them to be of any other persuasion given their affiliation.
It’s good to get balance though and as I said at the outset I would love to be be proved wrong. But after two weeks I’m still not a believer or can muster up any enthusiasm as to whether Team BullionVault, for example, can top the table. However, I’m sure the world’s largest gold, silver and platinum market online will do just well without my opinion too.
I do feel the initial Sky Racing programme tried a little too hard. There’s a huge difference between enthusiasm and basically having it rammed down your throat.
It reminded me of one of those USA TV ads for a miracle salad slicer. Endless repetition of how good it is, slices the best courgettes etc. You eventually get beaten into submission …. even if you don’t like courgettes.
WILL LESSONS BE LEARNT?
The recent Panorama expose was horrific. Immediately after the programme there was a multitude of positive horse welfare messages and videos which is to be applauded. But they were from the good guys in the game who I am convinced outweigh the bad ones by an overwhelming majority.
What can’t be ignored though is the problems that were identified. The knee-jerk reaction to any Panorama investigation is that ‘lessons will be learnt’. Let’s hope in this case that is happening and quickly. However complex the full traceability of horses post racing careers is, it was left in no doubt that this is no longer an optional innovation.
Tokyo 2020 was a slow burner but turned out to be a great Olympics and an exceptional one for Team GB. Even I got converted to events like the skateboard and BMX after seeing the obvious skillsets required. Tradition aside, it’s no more random I guess than jumping with the help of a long stick in the pole fault or throwing a shot putt as far as you can.
My only hope is that there doesn’t become an abundance of games which are decided by a judging panel. I much prefer the fastest, furthest, highest, most points metrics.
Four Tokyo Oddities to takeaway:
The Tiny Car used for the Rugby 7’s was even better that the Euro 2020 one. Stakes raised:
— Jake (@Juaake) July 26, 2021
Morhad Amdouni’s seemingly deliberate act of knocking over the water bottles in the Men’s Marathon was a terrible display of un-sportsmanship. I hope they throw the book (and the water) over him:
Thoughts on Amdouni knocking over an entire row of water before taking the last one? pic.twitter.com/qrPaSzxLBW
— Ben St Lawrence (@bennysaint) August 8, 2021
Being THE cameraman in the trampoline made me laugh:
Years of training to cover the trampoline final 😂 pic.twitter.com/qdorrpl8zy
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) July 30, 2021
The Triathalon starter. You had one job ….:
What an extraordinary (false) start to the Olympic triathlon!
The gun went off – but half the athletes had a boat in their way 😬
Fortunately they didn't get too far, and the second start is under way now.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 25, 2021
DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist. His CV includes: The Sun, The Sporting Life, Racing Post, At The Races, The Sportsman, lead feature writer for Sky’s Betview magazine and senior producer Timeform Radio.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.