Bad Friday?

Once again we have a day when the majority of the population have a day off work, plenty of leisure time and leisure pounds to spend, yet those who want to are denied the opportunity to go racing.

Why – because it is Good Friday and “traditionally” there has never been racing on Good Friday – so that’s it then, nothing else to discuss.

Bring back the dinosaurs as well, well no need really as there are plenty around in racing.

Funny, we used to not race on Sundays for similar reasons but, eventually, common sense prevailed and we now race on Sundays.

Although being British we have approached the entire concept of Sunday racing half-cocked and have somehow contrived to turn Sunday’s into a day where racecourses struggle to attract decent crowds, when it could be the busiest day of the week in terms of attendances and betting turnover. Elsewhere in Europe Sunday is the biggest racing day of the week.

Musselburgh racecourse have indicated they want to stage a meeting next Good Friday and I wish them well but those in the PJA, ROA, NTF and NASS are, according to Paul Struthers, opposed to the idea.

Well that’s no surprise, between them they have as much business acumen as an amoeba and put their own self interests ahead of those of the industry as a whole.

Let’s have a blank day on  public holiday when we could stage some high class racing and attract big family crowds.

Racing is a leisure industry and needs to be available when there is the demand. All other major sports operate on Good Friday and get the bums on seats.

If racing cannot be bothered to race on a public holiday it, frankly, deserves to fail. If those who supposedly run this sport cannot see the benefits of racing on a public holiday they need to be replaced, pronto.

Their lame argument is staff need a break and a rest and that is something I wholly agree with but I will return to that aspect later.

Another argument is people can spend time with their families. I have limited sympathy with that argument. If quality family time is so important then work in a 9-5, Monday – Friday job.  

Anyway most stable staff will still have to work even if there is no racing – or do the horses look after themselves on non-racing days?  

Perhaps they would care to explain what one blank day will do to help the lot of stable staff, jockeys etc.?

Maybe opponents could explain why there should be a random blank day in the calendar just because it coincides with a religious festival?

Now if people want to believe in such things that’s absolutely fine with me and I respect their beliefs, but I don’t see why they should impose their sackcloth and ashes mentality on those who do not share their views.

Another argument is there is too much racing already. I actually agree with that but would also argue two or three extra meetings would have little effect in the wider scheme of things.

So instead of taking a half-hearted approach and having a random blank day why not take the bull by the horns and schedule regular blank days in the calendar.

Instead of shooting itself in the foot and not stage racing on a potentially lucrative day why not have blank Monday’s?

How about not scheduling racing on those wet winter Mondays where one man and his dog turns up for racing which generates little betting turnover.

Indeed make Monday blank throughout the year apart from Bank Holidays and school holidays. That way the staff will get regular days when they don’t have to go racing.

Instead of one blank day on Good Friday why not have 40 blank Monday’s throughout the year? 

Would that not address the concerns expressed about Good Friday racing?

The jockeys can still have their annual piss-up at the Lester's – just stage it on a Sunday night instead of the Thursday before Good Friday.

I am not advocating forcing people to go racing on Good Friday if they don't want to. Unlike those who advocate not racing on Good Friday on religious grounds who are forcing their views on me and preventing me from having a choice.

So I’m not against having blank days in the racing schedule, what I do find objectionable, and offensive, is having blank days imposed just because of some religious festival. 

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