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The Weekly Blog


It’s been a week of revelations: finger-lickin’ is no longer good, EastEnders isn’t real and racecourses don’t make any money. On reflection, there’s a possibility that most of us knew these things already. Even so, it seems that the news has come as a surprise to some.

KFC, the global fast food giant with 22,500 outlets worldwide, announced that it was temporarily halting use of the Finger Lickin’ Good slogan that it’s deployed since the 1950s. Given the current Covid circumstances, the company has adopted a snappy new slogan: “That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now.”

Ironically, while the decision is entirely understandable, there has probably never been a safer time to lick your fingers. We’ve never washed our hands so often, doused with so much alcoholic sanitiser or avoided shaking so many hands. A bigger surprise, perhaps, was that 163 people found the time to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority about use of the slogan in a television advert – but perhaps they were caught out by the taste of the sanitiser which, admittedly, can be a tad bitter when taken as a drink.

Producers of EastEnders, preparing for the relaunch of the programme in just over a week’s time, shocked the nation by revealing that they were using the real partners of actors and actresses to pose as “body-doubles” for kissing scenes. So it’s not a documentary – who knew?

And then finally, on Friday, the Racing Post carried a story about racing’s funding crisis and the fact that racecourses stand to lose roughly £300 million of revenue this year. Now obviously we’re not alone in this; with very few exceptions, every sector of business in Britain is under pressure at the moment. In fact so are most business sectors around most of the World; the response to the global pandemic is having catastrophic economic consequences.

Note that the headline was about lost revenue, not lost profit. Because while most racecourses are busy making losses at the moment, very few of them made much profit to shout about in previous years in any case.

Racecourses, even very well managed business-like ones, are really just conduits to raise funds for racing’s participants while hosting the events. Racecourse contributions to prize money have increased from nearly £28 million in 2009 to almost £81 million in 2019 and what isn’t spent on prize money or staging the events is used for the improvement of facilities. Believe me – no matter how much glue is applied, money just does not stick to the sides of a racecourse. But that’s not really the point – racecourses and horseracing are life enhancing.

According to the figures, produced by analysts at Portas Consulting, the average return on investment in the racecourse sector is 3.35% which sounds very low indeed until you consider the return from following my tips… This week we’re on Fortunes Hiding in the Bet365 Sam Morshead Perth Gold Cup.

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