Horse racing is also called the “sport of Kings”. I guess it is because of a long history of being a sport for the more wealthy. Probably something got to do with the olden days when a King or wealthy nobleman brought out his finest horse on a Sunday and raced him against a neighbouring land owner to see who had the best horse. The tradition has dedinitely held true as we see many of the wealthiest people in the world compete against each other in the game of horse racing.
The lay people have been allowed to get involved over the years and the game of horse racing as we know it today exists. Ah yes, though it does not exist as an industry without a whole bunch of people playing their part. Grooms people to take care of the animals, exercise riders to help work the horses out in the early hours of the morning. Trainers to work tirelessly day and night to take care of the animals, work out a training schedule, organise transport to the race tracks, find and handicap races to “slot the horse in” where they will have the best chance of winning. And add to that that the game of training is more than just taking good physical care of the animal.
The mighty Gordon Elliott has out performed his competitors in this area of race horse training. He has managed and cared for some great race horses. He has been entrusted by the elite to care for their animals and provide them with winners in return. A job he has, as a man out performed. Excelled in would be a fair statement.
The betting public have their role to play too. Aside from race horse prize money and prestige, there exists an entire betting industry also. The betting public are often referred to as “punters” having a “flutter” or a “punt” on a race horse in the gambling industry. The racegoers have over the decades shared in the experience of “having a winner” just as much as the owner and trainer and stable boy have by being able to have their “punt (few quid)” on the winning horse.
The betting public make up the racing experience and it is a day at the races that also has been hard hit by the pandemic times. Then along comes a photograph or the mighty Gordon Elliott. Trainer. Sitting atop a dead race horse. Not good, they cry. The public have perhaps taken some lockdown fatigue anger and directed sheer disgust at only one man. The trainer who in error had a photo taken atop a dead horse. The labels and finger pointing and public outcry has gone so far as to ruin one man’s business. We can say he brought it upon himself, this is fair. As a matter of fact we all bring all of our life upon ourselves really.
The horse industry has had much bad press and media attention over the years. Not too long ago it was found that horse meat from the United Kingdom was being transported through Ireland and making it’s way into the food industry in France, I believe it was. There was never such huge outcry for this. Horse racing has many tiers to it. The nature of barrel racing in the united states is quite cruel to a horse just by the way it is run. It is the race where a person rides a horse around barrels against a timer clock. The horse makes very sharp turns around barrels at each end of an arena. I was told once by one such jockey that the speed at which they run and the sharpness of the turns can be quite damaging to a horses insides.
Another type of racing is the breed of horses known as Arabians. The arabian horse is said to be a little more stubborn of a horse and very highly strung. I was told once by one of their jockeys that the key to winning the race is to run the fastest, which of course is the key to all racing. The arabian runs faster the more the jockey fights with him. The harder the jockey pulls back on the bit inside his mouth, holding him tighter the faster the horse will run in defiance. Bit cruel there.
And now for the thoroughbred horses of national hunt racing. The animals are at their best, cruising at speed and jumping fences. I was told once by a jockey of these horses that “the horse is in it’s natural element, running and jumping the way it likes to be”, not too cruel there.
The betting public and the punters and even people with no prior horse racing knowledge have pounced hard on Gordon Elliott over his mistake. It is shameful to see such a reaction to one man’s life and his livelihood. It takes the punter to support him as they do not wish to see their sport ruined in a such a way. The rest of the public have proven to be nothing but a shower of punts in how Gordon Elliott has been treated over his photograph atop a dead horse. A man dedicated to the welfare of the animals he tends to and cares for every day of his life.
Make no mistske, these race horses are treated like Kings themselves.
No back bone from our general public once again. Could we tie the same out cry to the abuse of children? A 75 year sealed tusla case. How about the abuse of power that is occurring each and everyday? How about the HSE looking for 1 plus billion euros to continue a useless health service? How about the 400k euros to change a light bulb on O’Connell street? How about stock brokers breaking the rules in their trading? How about bailed out bankers walking off with fat wallets after being bailed out?
How about focus on the real stuff and leave a good horse trainer alone,
Ya shower of punts…..