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The Weekly Blog

2020 Vision

New Year is a time for looking forward, a time for making resolutions and predictions. And, following a profitable year with the blog’s racing selections in 2019, I know that you’ll be anxious to discover what’s on the agenda for 2020 and beyond…

Firstly, we’re all going to lose a few pounds. I’m not sure whether that’s a resolution or a prediction and whether it’ll be pounds in weight or pounds, shillings and pence. I guess time will tell…

This week’s diet (having seen the last of the turkey) is mainly chocolate and Vimto flavoured fizzy marshmallows, although I’m told that there is an unpleasant sickness bug going around which could threaten any potential weight gain. This week’s selection is Jepeck – who runs in the final of the Veterans Chase Series at Sandown, despite the fact that he’s been turning the clock back by winning novice hurdle races this winter.

Of all the big ideas mooted for the future of racing in 2019, the one that I liked the best was not City Racing (whereby the streets of London and Paris would be converted into temporary race tracks) but Beach Racing – proposed by David Hunter who runs Fakenham Racecourse.

David, who has clearly been listening to Greta Thunberg and considering the likely impact of global warming, has realised that Fakenham (which is about 8 miles from the coast and just over 40m above sea level) is going to get a lot closer to the sea in the future. And even if Fakenham doesn’t actually end up on the beach, a sea-level rise of 10m would mark the end of racing at venues like Musselburgh, Yarmouth and Ayr – so there would definitely be a few spare fixtures to be allocated to this exciting enterprise.

There’s been racing on the beach at Laytown in Ireland since 1868, so it’s not exactly a new idea. But it’s bracingly romantic and I think it will catch on – sun, sea and stewards’ enquiries.

Talking of Greta Thunberg, it’s been difficult to avoid her best selling book: No One is Too Small to Make a Difference – which has inspired jockeys to challenge the rules that govern procedures for stopping races. It turns out that some jockeys are colour blind and can’t tell the difference between the stop-race flag and other types of flag. And they’re not the only ones – steeplechase fences are likely to be painted white in the future, after research demonstrated that horses can’t see orange. This is distinct from members of the BHA Appeals Committee who can’t see when they’re being led up the garden path.

Perhaps I should take the plank out of my own eye before trying to remove the speck from my brother’s. After all, we could all benefit from 2020 vision. Happy New Year!

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