AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT blog: It’s Showtime

Did everyone watch the primetime ITV documentary ‘It’s Showtime’ last week? If you didn’t please do, it was excellent viewing, writes SIMON NOTT.

In my humble opinion, it was the best slice of PR and advertising for our great game that’s been produced for a very long time. For those that haven’t watched it yet, and I’ll not spoil the story, though formbook beavers will already know how it pans out.

Anyway, it’s the tale of a group of mates from Darlington who share a passion for horse racing and beer in no particular order. As in many groups, there are often exceptions, one of the guys appeared to enjoy a pie rather than a pint. One night, after a few bevvies they decided that they were going to form a syndicate and buy a racehorse between them. ‘The Muffed Punt Partnership’ was born, son after Showtime Mahomes was purchased and put into training with an often exasperated Grant Tuer, the rest is history that is still unfolding.

The documentary records the life stories of some of the Muffed Punt members as they follow their dreams. There are some tearjerking tragedy that was laid bare and fair play to the lads for baring their souls to us. It went on to show how their pain was eased by their involvement with their syndicate. Maybe the emotional stuff may not be everyone’s idea of entertainment but despite that side of things, this programme was a terrific boost to the sport of horseracing. Its main message to the masses, and this was aimed directly at the non-racing general public broadcast at 9pm, was how inclusive the sport is.

Now I could be wrong but I’m guessing that the majority of people not into the racing probably associate it with ‘Toffs’ owning horses that degenerate wastrels spend their time betting and knocking out their unearned money on them in seedy betting shops.

Well, that’s what I thought horseracing was all about before I got into it. No, this really does illustrate to the general public just how involved the average person can be in the sport. The emphasis was on how people of all backgrounds can be brought together and how inclusive horseracing actually can be. Yes, there are plenty of ‘toffs’ that own horses too, but if you have a leg you’re equal when you are with your horse in the parade ring of any racecourse. It also proved that a horse bought for a relative pittance can thwart those who have invested what most of us would consider a fortune in their bloodstock.

There was hardly any mention of gambling either, just a group of lads that like to pile into a minibus and head off to the races and hope they their horse ran well on their day out.

Isn’t this the sort of thing that horseracing should be pushing from an industry level? Far from being a sport for the rich, which in itself is enough for some people to instantly hate by default, it’s a sport for everyone. Nobody can be very far from a racehorse trainer, a big enough syndicate and a cheap enough horse can make ownership manageable for many.

Let’s encourage as many people to join syndicates and racing clubs as possible.

The knock-on effect of more people having a leg and getting involved in the game to a deeper level than just watching on the TV or betting is that you’ll never be too far from a racing ambassador. Conversations all over the country where people who know nothing decrying horseracing for whatever reason are going to be meet with impassioned counter argument about how they are talking codswallop by someone who’s a proud owner of a 40th share or an owners club membership.

This really could be the way forward, so many more people involved in a horse, seeing first hand how well racehorses are looked after, how much work goes on behind the scenes, how much fun it is to go to the races and follow your horses’ career.

Come on racing, jump on it, make it easier to form a syndicate and get involved, push it out there and make similar ‘It’s Showtime’ stories vehicles to promote getting more and more people involved in our great game.

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

Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
available on Kindle 



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