Dinosaurs For No Change

Round one of the Racing For Change (RFC) proposals came out yesterday. Ten innocuous recommendations, nothing earth shattering, you could almost call it a “starter for 10”.

However the reaction to some of the changes, especially the recommendation to trial decimal SP’s, has been greeted with derision and outrage in some quarters.

Reading some of the "I'm all right Jack", "I can understand it, so anyone who doesn't is a moron" , "we've always done it that way" type postings on the various forums really make me despair.

With attitudes like that, it is no wonder newcomers find the sport unwelcoming and alien.

These are probably the same people who in the 19th century would have argued against the abolition of sending children up chimneys - "we've always done that".

In the last century they would have objected to women having the vote - "we can't change things, we understand the current system, we

don't want newcomers upsetting out comfortable little world".

Or the move from £sd to decimalisation - "I know how pounds shilling and pence work, it’s what I am used to, so why should I change?" 

Presumably those opposing the move to decimal odds are those who still yearn for pounds shillings and pence, farthings even groats. Yes the old currency was comfortable, traditional and had been around for years but did it make it better.

Only a time entrenched, myopic fool would argue that calculations post-decimalisation are not easier and simpler than they were pre-decimalisation.

It will be the same with odds – to the uninitiated odds like 85/40, 8/13, 15/8 are meaningless gobbledygook, the same odds expressed as decimals are easy and simple to understand.

They work absolutely fine on Betfair and I don’t see mass protests or petitions for them to revert to “traditional” odds.       

Most of the complaints are coming from selfish people in their own little cocoons, happy to be in their comfort zone and sod anybody else.

Goodness knows how they would react if Racing For Change dared to suggest something radical - would they arm themselves with pitch forks and barricade themselves inside Southwell?

So some people say they will walk away from the sport if the changes are implemented - well they can't care much about the sport if something so petty will drive them away, good riddance to them I say, does the sport really want these whingers.

Would it be a bad thing if they left the sport anyway? The dinosaurs are past their sell-by date anyway so perhaps it is about time they died out.

Sure nobody likes change, we all like to be in our comfort zones but the world changes and racing should be no exception.
It is no longer the 19th century gentleman’s club it used to be, however it is still stuck in the mid 20th century and it needs to be dragged screaming into the 21st century.

Yes “tradition” is nice but it is not sacrosanct. If a tradition stands in the way of progress there should be no compunction in sweeping it aside.

It is no surprise one of the primary whingers is that well known self-publicist bookmaker Barry Dennis.

If Barry “Stegosaurus” Dennis doesn’t want to use decimal odds then, as far as I am concerned, he can take his ego and his pitch elsewhere.

Let’s face it all Barry Dennis really seems to care about is his own self publicity, his ego and of course making money, I personally don’t believe for one minute he cares at all about the greater good of racing, all he seems to care about is the greater good of Barry Dennis.

Anyone who saw the fly on the wall television documentary about him could clearly see for themselves what an obnoxious, sexist boor he is – is he really the sort of person we want as a public face of racing?  

The initial RFC recommendations are no doubt weak and bland but a step in the right direction.

The concept of using decimal odds is what racing needs, but a one weekend trial will prove nothing, one way or the other.

If people care about racing more than they care about themselves then change must not only be embraced but actively encouraged.

These initial ten proposals are not going to make any radical difference – there are more important issues like admission costs, catering costs, developing a clear pattern to the racing seasons in order to engage the wider public.

However if those who go racing cannot even embrace simple innocuous changes what hope is there of ever implementing something more radical?

I sometimes wonder if the sport deserves to survive?

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