Turn it up!

It seems everything in racing right now has a link to the Messara report. Almost no decision can be made without it being mentioned in some form.

I was going to write this week about the release of next season's racing calendar and had no intention of mentioning Messara's report.

But that notion only lasted a fleeting second.

The calendar may seem like an innocuous document that gets copied and pasted from the previous year.

Looking at it, that seems to be the case. But there is more to it than that; a lengthy consultation period and discussion is had.

It would be fascinating to me to know exactly what the priorities for those that are having that debate would be.

One would hope that maximising the profits of the TAB and the racing industry as a whole would be the main aim.

I would question whether the competing interests of the racing codes would not erase any hope of them working to enhance the collective benefit of racing.

They could well be doing what is best, but I could not comment, as I am not privy to the process.

What I can say with much more confidence is that the calendar seems to have more regard for some clubs than others. I do not understand how some clubs get poor dates and others get the best of the best.

It does not take a genius to realise that a Saturday or Friday night meeting will be better attended than a Wednesday or Thursday night meeting.

Interestingly, some of the clubs with the most revered dates, on public holidays and other premium times, are the ones that offer the least to the running of the industry. They may put on spectacular once-a-year meetings, but do not bear the cost of the industry-style meetings that keep racing going.

The system just seems totally flawed to me. I feel for those clubs which are trying to scrape together a profit from holding meetings on dates that few of the general public could attend.

I think, for the benefit of the industry as a whole, the dates distribution could be so much better.

It certainly could be from a horse point of view.

To my eye, the calendar does little to maximise the Southern horse population.

The feast-and-famine nature of the current dates mean two race meetings can be held within one or two days of each other and then there can be no races for three weeks.

At what point will the dates committee realise the horse population is shrinking and that a streamlined and consistent calendar is needed?

There is a huge side benefit of doing this, too.

The punter knows what is coming. They know there will be trots on certain days or certain weeks apart. They can follow the horses because they do not just disappear for weeks on end after racing three times the week before.

A consistent product must be beneficial for turnover - that is a no-brainer.

This could be a notion that Messara picks up on. He could recommend a calendar that maximises the best use of the horse population and a calendar that just makes some sense!

He could also totally ignore the issue.

And he could also make that problem worse.

I guess we will just have to wait and find out.

Happy trails

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