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Racing Renaissance? | Superfectablog v3.0

Racehorses in History

June: Fairy Chant
b. 1937
Why: A champion at 3 and 4, Fairy Chant won the Beldame twice. She was in the money for 26 of her 42 races.

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Racing Renaissance?

The BBC asks whether racing is undergoing ‘a renaissance‘ with attendance at its highest since the second world war and two new tracks opening in the next two years.

Great Leighs opened in Essex this Spring (the first new British racetrack in over 80 years) and features summer evening racing (over Polytrack – pictured); while admission is not inexpensive (£15 just to get in on a ‘standard’ day, despite a major sponsorship from InBev), there are membership options available for regular racegoers (but again — it’s not cheap by any standard). They will be offering Christmas racing as well. Although I don’t like the high price of admission, I do think that they are making an effort to make it a night out after the racing finishes – there are two restaurants offering real food and the venue remains open – late. They even offer a beginners’ guide for new fans. It certainly sounds like a lot more fun than the mall-food-court atmosphere offered by the current American racino paradigm — and while I’m not a huge Leffe Blonde fan (at least since they got bought and went downhill), it’s a step up from what’s on offer at most US tracks.

Ffos Las (‘Y bywyd rasio Sir Gaefryddin’ or, for English monoglots, ‘the racing life in Carmarthenshire’) will be opening in west Wales next year; it will be replacing a defunct open-cast mine, so at the very least it will be an improvement on the landscape. It will offer both steeplechase and flat racing and will also include a hotel, pub and restaurant in addition to the usual racing facilities. Given the dearth of jobs in the area (which I have rather unpleasant personal experience of), I hope it can offer not only good racing (which is also very much absent from the region) but real economic development. After all, filming Doctor Who in Cardiff has worked out well…in any case, it would be pleasant to see some American racetracks re-imagined with the fan in mind.

While we’re mentioning things British, it’s worth noting that the national medication policy has been further toughened — non-European trainers will need to demonstrate that their horses has never even trained on drugs if they want to race in the UK. Any US-based horses with international ambitions should take note now…

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