Sunday, February 09, 2020

Paying attention

We didn't run very well at Chelmsford the other night so let's hope for better fortune when Hidden Pearl goes to Wolverhampton tomorrow.  (At least I'm assuming that she will be going there tomorrow - she wouldn't have been going there had the meeting been today, with Storm Ciara battering the country, but surely the winds will have abated by tomorrow).  Still, if she is to disappoint, I'm pleased that she'll be disappointing at Wolverhampton and Heaven Up Here doing so at Chelmsford, rather than the other way around.

I don't know why it does so, because its presentations of midweek evening meetings at Kempton are excellent (notwithstanding that they would be even better with a presenter on course), but Racing TV continues to disappoint with its Chelmsford coverage.  It is not the fault of the presentation team in the studio because the people there, once given their head to talk about Chelmsford, have plenty of good stuff to say.  But it must be directorial policy to rein them in because the time allocated to discussion of the racing there is minimal.  I watched the early part of the programme in the canteen and found that Dundalk was given plenty of attention, but that the focus generally was only cutting to Chelmsford as late as possible.

I gather it got even worse as the night went on, Emma telling me that they only moved on to our race at Chelmsford as the horses were preparing to be loaded into the stalls.  And the reason why they were so late in moving on to the racing that they were meant to be covering?  They were showing replays of past Cheltenham Gold Cups!  Jesus wept.  There is a time and a place for trips down Memory Lane to relive great National Hunt races of the past (Lord knows, I spend long enough living in the past) but when the two meetings being covered are Dundalk (AW Flat racing) and Chelmsford (AW Flat racing) then the clue ought to be there that this isn't one of them.  It would be like continually cutting away from the matter in hand to show repeats of past runnings of the Derby on a day when the two meetings are Ludlow and Warwick.

Does this matter?  Well, possibly not but it bothers me.  We had become accustomed to At The Races treating Chelmsford midweek evening meetings as if they were important events, sending Matt Chapman there to pull out all the stops.  It was thus a shock when we went from one extreme to the other, as I discovered to my discomfort when I had an overseas-owned runner there early last year.  I recorded the programme so that I could watch the race again when I got home, and was dismayed to find the coverage only moving to Chelmsford as the horses were circling behind the stalls, with the presenter reluctantly pulling himself away from the totally unrelated subject on which he was pontificating to say unenthusiasticly, 'Well, I suppose we ought to have a look at this Class Six race at Chelmsford ...'.

I just hoped that the horse's owners had not been able to see the programme, lest they pull the plug on their UK racing operation after discovering that their horse was seemingly competing at a level so lowly that even the people being paid to present the racing on TV couldn't bring themselves to pretend to be interested in it.  At least the current presenters pay racing at Chelmsford the compliment of showing themselves to be genuinely interested in what's going on there, but it remains disappointing that those in charge continue to treat the racecourse like a third-class citizen.  So I'm pleased that, with myself being the owner of Heaven Up Here, I wasn't subjecting anyone else to the indignity of having their horse run moderately in a race apparently unworthy of much attention.


neil kearns said...

Its not just confined to Chelmsford John,

Racing UK have a habit of picking one meeting as there main focus and frankly ignoring the others , other than to actually view the race no preamble , no more than a couple of replays and limited analysis preferring to run interminable interviews with connections at the main meeting . It gets worse when they throw a meeting onto the extra channel -then the meeting on there becomes almost invisible until off time .

When they cover one meeting they are good , two seems to just about within their compass most of the time but any more and chaos ensues as to the Friday evening coverage they are trying to create a programme to rival the ATR offering and are forgetting their core "product"

neil kearns said...

A question for you John as most horses are creatures of routine do you think running them at night as opposed to in the afternoon can affect their performance ?