Turn it up! Let's see something for the older customer

Princess Tiffany's hoof injury seems a nasty one. Photo: ODT files
Princess Tiffany's hoof injury seems a nasty one. Photo: ODT files
Two things stood out for me from the week in racing.

One good, one ugly.

We will skip the bad this week.

The good came in the form of a bus.

You may have read in Wednesday's paper that a busload of Australians - of an older vintage - were at Wingatui on Tuesday as part of a South Island racing tour.

You may also have read they gave their southern racing experience a massive tick of approval and said it would blow away what they would get on similar days in Australia.

Pretty refreshing, given we are in an age in which some question the importance of the on-course experience and more traditional ways of enjoying racing.

That group, from what I can tell, includes many people in influential positions in the industry.

The rhetoric we get seems to be that everyone should be betting on apps and websites and get with modern technology.

They're great ways to engage a new generation of bettors but, as you will all be aware, that does little for the older punter.

A recent public meeting of the codes at Wingatui heard that the bulk of the TAB's betting turnover comes from just 1.5% of its customer base.

That has to be a flashing red light that it needs to retain every single older customer it has.

Tuesday's tour group has to demonstrate what lengths the older generation will go to to follow their passion for racing.

So, for every new app, website and touch-tone feature, let's see the TAB roll out something new for the older customer.

Or let's see them at least hold the line.

The ugly part of the week in racing is festering in star 2yr-old filly Princess Tiffany's near hind hoof.

Bacteria had been driven in to her foot, with little hope of coming back out, when she stood on a nail on the Alexandra Park track last Friday night.

The Auckland Trotting Club quickly went on the public relations offensive, issuing a statement saying the nail probably came into the track when fresh shell topping was applied to it.

It seemed to base this on a claim that the nail found in the horse's hoof was coated in the shell topping.

That scenario was quickly disputed by the horse's owners and her co-trainer, Mark Purdon.

They subscribe to the theory that the nail is more likely to have come from an building site that my northern spies tell me is just 8m from the track.

Firstly, I will give a tick to the club for quickly going to work with a metal detector to make sure there are not more nails lurking on the track.

But, seriously, how are we meant to cop this nonsense about the nail coming in on a truck?

Its almost libellous against the suppliers of the shell.

Freak accidents happen.

The best thing for the club to do would be to admit liability and sit down with the horse's owners and work through a programme of recompense.

That would include vet bills and the possibility for compensation of lost earnings.

There are few certainties in racing, but a fit and healthy Princess Tiffany in tonight's Sires Stakes Championships would have been as close to a certainty as you would find.

So, do the right thing, ATC.

Happy trails

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