Excessive racing

Back from the trenches: a rest and clean-up on the way from the front line. — Otago Witness, 18.7...
Back from the trenches: a rest and clean-up on the way from the front line. — Otago Witness, 18.7.1917.
Sir George Clifford, president of the New Zealand Racing Conference, clings very obstinately to the view that the movement in favour of a curtailment of racing in the dominion during the war has been confined to persons who have been actuated by private prejudice and animosity.

This is, in reality, a very mistaken view. The feeling that there has been an excessive amount of racing in New Zealand during the past three seasons has been entertained by a large number of people who, while they may not wholly subscribe to Sir George Clifford’s extravagant eulogy of the sport as "a public relaxation peculiarly healthful to mind and body at the present juncture," at any rate possess no bias against racing and under normal conditions derive a good deal of pleasure from it. With such people as these the consideration has weighed strongly that the continuance of "racing as usual", during a time of unprecedented national stress, when the need for the exercise of economy, for the avoidance of extravagance, and for the application of the exertions of the whole people of the Empire to the object of securing the efficient conduct of the war is insisted upon by all the leaders of the nation, has been to, put it mildly and without regard at all to the matter of good taste, inexpedient in the sense that it has conduced to wasteful expenditure and to a wrongful diversion of energy. The arguments that were advanced by Sir George Clifford yesterday in defence of the maintenance of racing on the scale of last season might be readily challenged, but we are content to dispute his complaint that it was under pressure solely applied by "life-long opponents of racing" that the authorities recently determined upon a modest curtailment of the fixtures.

Bookies a problem

The report of the Stipendiary Stewards’ Committee to the Racing Conference says: "We regret to state definitely that, owing to the want of an efficient detective system, bookmaking, both on and off course, increased very considerably during the past season. It is alleged upon apparently reliable authority that some of the leading bookmakers in the large centres openly employ a fairly large staff to deal with the immense amount of business actually thrust upon them. However large the amount of totalisator investments in the dominion seems, it would surprise the conference, and should surprise the authorities, should the total turnover of New Zealand bookmakers be made public.

"The revenue lost to the country, the injury done to owners from loss of money that would be devoted to prize money, and the consequent loss to racing clubs, warrants the strongest action, both by the conference and the Government, to put an end to the evil of bookmaking."

Patriotic group formed

A meeting of Catholic ladies was held in St. Joseph’s Hall. A fair number attended. The Very Rev. Father Coffey addressed those present, and it was decided to form a Patriotic and Red Cross Guild to work on alternate Wednesdays for each of the above objects. The guild is to be known as St. Joseph’s Patriotic and Red Cross Guild. The following were elected office-bearers: President, Mrs Stone: vice-president, Mrs Halley; hon. secretary, Mrs Todd, committee Mesdames Carter, Clarke, Gebbie, Cornish, Marlow, Mullins, Misses Connor and Cotter. The ladies of the parish are requested to become members, as there is much to be done. — ODT, 14.7.1917.



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