JUST WILLIAM: The Fixture List

Dear Reader,

I would like to use this week’s column to reintroduce a much-loved member of the Star Sports team…

Say hello (again) to the political whiteboard!

Rumours of the board’s demise have been well and truly overstated, and those who remained loyal shall be rewarded with more content, and not all of it will be coming from the gazebo at my house!

There’s more on the reshuffle later, but for now, I want to talk about a long running bug bear of mine:

Why Can’t We Fix It?

Anyone who knows me well will know that for quite a few years, I’ve been of the view that there’s too much racing in the UK.

So you could imagine my delight to read that the Fixture List for 2022 had seen a reduction! By… four whole racedays!

To be even handed, there are some things to welcome. A new initiative of eight valuable Sunday meetings set for the summer is a pleasing step forward from the Sunday Series, which brought good competitive UK racing to ITV screens and allowed for a wide amount of connections to have a go at decent prizes.

A slight extension of breaks for riders in March and November on the Flat and in August over jumps (something which had success in Ireland) is to be welcomed too.

However, I am less excited about the with 10 additional cards planned as a sixth Flat meeting on Saturday.

Whilst course executives will be expected to contribute no less than £100,000 to prize money, along with the “reasonable expectation that the fixture would attract an attendance of at least 7,500”, it’s hard to see how our already packed Saturdays will benefit from the addition of more fixtures (and on that note, the July Cup/John Smith’s Cup/Summer Mile Saturday is still a thing).

More prizemoney is always to be welcomed – but it remain to be seen what type of races are on these cards, and whilst Cartmel, Perth and Chester usually get strong attendances, that has not been the case for Chelmsford City, as the eagle eyed Daniel Clark noted:

All this aside, it appears that the more things change, the more they’ve stayed the same – and we’re still going to have a huge amount of poorly attended fixtures with low prizemoney and low fields too, which is the biggest problem of them all! (Rant ends).

Reshuffling The Decks

Boris Johnson’s long awaited cabinet reshuffle – discussed here by me and Johnny Ward on The Polling Station – saw some big movers and shakers ahead of what could be a very difficult winter for the Government.

The moves made to the Cabinet have increased talk of a potential 2023 General Election – apparently the reason that Oliver Dowden is now Tory Party Chair – but there’s plenty of issues to tackle beforehand, and my friends at the Institute for Government sum it up very well:

“The budget and spending review on 27 October are not helped by moving a key Treasury minister although the chancellor stays in place. Civil service reform, a cause to which the government claimed to be wedded, is almost certainly weakened with the moving of Michael Gove. And the standing of foreign policy and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office within the government is in question not so much because of Liz Truss’s arrival there – she did a competent job in International Trade – but because of the way the Afghanistan exit showed how its Whitehall clout had diminished.”

Lights, Camera, Inaction

A personal rant here, but where on earth are people finding their specialist camera people these days?

Of all the first world problems for an ex-student of journalism to have, getting someone to point a camera was not one – and if anyone here knows of decent film makers who might be in Brighton or Manchester soon, then do let me know!


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.