Monday, January 30, 2017

Shoulders to the wheel

I survived the busy day on Saturday, and actually found the late-night journey home from Kempton not too taxing.  It's easy to get drowsy while driving late at night, but I didn't find that a problem on this occasion.  Dervish showed no immediate promise at Lingfield, but it's still early days for him yet, and I'd like to hope that he might be seen to better advantage eventually, even if one wouldn't be wise to be holding one's breath while waiting.  Kilim's run at Kempton was not bad at all.  She was unplaced, but she was beaten less than six lengths, and showed both stamina and genuineness.  She seems to have come home in good shape, so I might try her in a slightly longer race either next week or the week after that.

Going to Kempton kept the Kempton issue bubbling away in my mind.  A further chapter in the saga appeared the next day, courtesy of an article on the Daily Mail website on Sir Eveleyn de Rothschild.  This was very timely bearing in mind my musings in a recent chapter of this blog, a chapter in which I explained my suspicion that Lord Wigg would be turning in his grave at JCR's plan to close Kempton Park.  This article leant weight to that idea because Sir Evelyn de Rothschild was another key player in the foundation of United Racecourses (which company was founded to try to ensure that Epsom and Sandown Park, and then Kempton Park too, remained as racecourses forever).  He is seemingly appalled by the plans.

As we discussed, United Racecourses Ltd was a company formed by the Epsom Grand Stand Association, and then sold to the Levy Board (under the auspices at the time of Lord Wigg) with the aim of ensuring the survival of the courses.  The money needed to get United Racecourses off the ground had been put up by various individuals keen on the project, and these share-holders were effectively the vendors when the Levy Board bought the company.  Evelyn (now Sir Evelyn) de Rothschild was the largest share-holder in United Racecourses, along with Sir Edwin and Sir Robin McAlpine, with former EGSA chairman Charles Langlands and Sir Rex Cohen the other significant share-holders.

Evelyn de Rothschild was the negotiator on behalf of the share-holders, with Lord Wigg being the negotiator on behalf of the Levy Board.  A deal was agreed, and Lord Wigg was so impressed by the sincerity of Evelyn de Rothschild in his desire to ensure that racing's future at the racecourses be guaranteed that, once the deal had been struck, he invited him to remain on the board of directors of United Racecourses, an invitation which he was certainly not obliged to make.  Sir Evelyn de Rothschild thus remained on the board for the next 20 years or so, until the company was sold to Jockey Club Racecourses, seemingly on the proviso that the future of racing at the three courses be guaranteed and that the land be kept safe from redevelopment.

And now, courtesy of the Daily Mail, we read the views on the current scheme of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, who is a member of the Jockey Club: "I feel rather upset I was not consulted and read about the proposal in the press.  It is not only a potential tragedy for British racing, it is also completely unnecessary.  I care about the Green Belt and the need to preserve such a multi-purpose site.  It is the task of those who love racing and the green space it provides to put their shoulders to the wheel.  To allow this completely avoidable act of cultural vandalism to proceed would be a grave dereliction of duty."

1 comment:

Brian Jones said...

White Valiant's win got a boost today in the first at Lingfield..