Plenty of chest beating at this one – and I’m not here to defend or applaud Russell over this. The Racing Post has seen fit to crusade harder for a ‘result’ here than it dared to criticise (at all) their sponsor 888 Sport for its failings, in continuing to make profit from serious problem gamblers. Twitter has exploded with many individuals offering views for, or against, Russell’s actions. Many of those criticising his actions have seen fit to use some pretty evocative language.
But here’s a few questions you should ask yourself
- How many times, if at all have you ridden a racehorse? Or ridden at all.
- If you’ve never ridden a racehorse how difficult do you imagine it can be?
- If you’ve never ridden either, and you’ve commented on the affair, what makes you specially qualified to offer judgement.
- A punch is a term humans use, is it appropriate in this case ?
- The video of the incident is widely available. Did you see the behaviour of the horse prior to reaching the training fence?
- Were you aware the horse made several attempts to throw Russell going to post?
- What effect on the potential for success is this likely to have for the horse and connections?
- Are you aware it can costs upwards of £30,000 a year to train a racehorse?
- Success is the determinant of the animal’s likely future, is it more or less likely connections will continue to fund its training if it’s ill disciplined?
- Are you aware of how unsuited racehorses are to other lines of work, such as eventing, without considerable investment and retraining?
- Are you aware that thousands of racehorses are sold annually for horsemeat to the European markets? Estimates vary in numbers here of course but percentages vary between 30-70% of retirees.
Of course the last question is the most difficult for people to accept, or read about. And for sure Racing has taken major steps towards re-homing of ex racehorses. But let’s deal with the harsh reality here. A difficult, recalcitrant or under-performing horse has a dim future in this sport for simple financial reasons, and someone has to be prepared to find a home, or harder a job, for the likes of Kings Dolly if he can’t be trained.
An unruly animal is less likely to be taken on by top pilots, and by extension far less likely to succeed as top jockeys are more than half the battle in events where the participants are but a few pounds apart in ability.
A well trained and disciplined horse has the best chance of succeeding and of course paying its way in life. Behind the scenes, many horsemen- even if in this affair they’ve typically kept mum on the subject and left Russell out to dry, do in fact discipline their horses. This can be in a manner those among us whose only experience of animals is a cat or dog, could find hard to understand.
In this age of social networking, we see people in the public eye scrutinised as never before. Political correctness has soared out of control as finger pointing from a largely ignorant mob has arisen. This isn’t about a horse being beaten. It’s about celebrity bashing and people’s self worth at the expense of others better qualified.
Thoroughbreds are large, excitable, exceptionally powerful and yes somewhat dangerous charges who require arduous training and control by some incredibly hard working and caring folk. I for one don’t condone anyone losing their temper, but at the end of the day the horse was simply badly behaved and threatening the jockey’s well being. Those of you out there sitting in your underpants howling in front of the keyboard haven’t the first clue if you believe another jockey could, or would, have done better. This particular fellah won a Gold Cup and been twice Champion Irish jockey. What’s your record in the saddle?
Face facts, they do require control, Kings wasn’t ‘beaten senseless’, it wasn’t akin to a pub brawl. You’ve likely never ridden a racehorse, and therefore haven’t the first clue how difficult, even impossible, they can be to control. I’d rather see a horse brought to heel than sent for slaughter. If you love the racehorse as I do, there’s a strong case that what Russell did was right in practice, especially when one considers his own welfare. His only crime to do it in front of a world of keyboard warriors.
If you value service in Bookmaking – open a private betting account with http://www.geoff-banks.com