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A Plea From A Small Trainer

Difficult times ahead in the next few weeks as us trainers face up and try to make our views known about the prize money being made available at ARC racecourses.  It’s terrible to think you can travel to a racecourse, compete in a professional sport, finish 4th and come no where near to covering your costs.  It definitely isn’t good enough.

Vote with your feet, they say.  Yes it seems so easy.

According to social media a ‘call to arms’ email was distributed to trainers this afternoon asking for a boycott of all ARC racecourses next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Great to know that we  were considered enough in the thought process that an email didn’t even reach here to keep us informed of possible action. If anyone would like to forward a copy that would be super?

Sedgefield class 5 race this Sunday where the prize money is abysmal is easy for us to avoid and the horse can be rerouted to a class 4 on the Tuesday, although still at an ARC track is has to be said.

However, this becomes a lot more difficult when it comes to the All Weather racing.  For anyone who’s not familiar with the yard let me just say I had a spot of success with my only flat horse last season, this year I have 3 and I am ready to kick on and give it the best go I can and we started with a winner at Newcastle last week.  We want to be successful and be out both racing and winning. I am also trying to turn this into a profitable business and there is no advertisement for a racehorse trainer like runners and of course winners.

My yard is based in The Scottish Borders, Newcastle is handy, Wolverhampton and Southwell are do-able,  Lingfield (400 miles), Chelmsford (346 miles) and Kempton (371 miles) are not really acceptable journeys to be making with my class 5/6 horses, the bills to the owners would be obscene.  So the 3 reasonable journeys are all ARC tracks.  We have great races picked out next Friday at Newcastle for two of our team, the horses are well, ready to run and if we don’t run there the next available races for those two horses within 300 miles and not at an ARC track are Ayr 1st April and Musselburgh 2nd April.

Please tell me there’s another way to do this, we work so hard to have these horses ready. I get up at half 5 every morning, muck out and ride out so these horses can be at their best and out running, not for them to be standing in their stables until April.  My staff rode every day when the minus 11 frost set in the end of January so our horses would be ready to race in these races.  Our owners have paid for these horses to come in and have a few runs before the turf season kicks off so they can enjoy watching their horses run in these races.

Surely other trainers must be worried about this?

From a trainer who is so frustrated and worried I am close to tears.

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  • Recent comments

    • Dougie McLean
      7 months ago - Reply

      Katie you do great doll try being a trotting owner trainer running for £300 to winner it costs same to feed and keep them things r just not right in most equine sports pal xx

    • Robert potts
      7 months ago - Reply

      Excellent words Katie, it’s time the guys at the top of racing started to work for everyone, you and your team do as other yards one helluva good job

    • John Mortimer
      7 months ago - Reply

      Well put Katie as a prospective future owner your statement is what l would like to hear your commitment to the horses you have is 1st class as l follow your stable although winners are hard to get you and your stable staff try so hard and l have seen how well your horses are turned out on racedays as you say ARC need to have a good overhaul of there services to the racing industry

    • Donna Pringle
      7 months ago - Reply

      I’m sorry I don’t have any ideas or solutions to the problem. I can only say it’s also frustrating from an owners point of view, we didn’t come into racing to make money but it would be nice as you say if prize money actually covered costs!! Keep your chin up Katie, you’ve been fab so far and hopefully you’ll go from strength to strength. All the best from me and the oldies, dad doesn’t get to the racing much now, but he keeps an eye on how you’re doing! Xx

    • Sharon Watt
      7 months ago - Reply

      I am fully in support of the protest against the unacceptable price money situation at the ARC tracks, but have very similar problems to you, small yard low grade horses, owners who have had to cope with a very difficult jumps season and the Flu and now this, if we do not run at Newcastle there is nothing for 6 weeks! Also did not receive the email and have got all my information from the Racing Post not acceptable I’m afraid , the owners also need informing about the situation as it’s their decision whether they run or not, we can only advise, and there’s not many trainers on the WhatsApp group who are boycotting that are actually going for to be affected.

    • Kevin Quinn
      7 months ago - Reply

      Excellent read and gives a sharp new angle to the debate. If I were you, I would definitely go racing. The big trainers will have their days in the Ascot or Epsom sun and I think you, your staff, your owners and you horses deserve theirs. If they’re ready to run then run!
      (My own view is that there’s too much racing and too much money thrown at the top but that’s not the main point I wanted to get across.)

    • Robert Cull
      7 months ago - Reply

      Katie, let the big boys crack on with the protests, they can afford it. Your getting going on the flat and should run your horses whist still expressing your unhappiness with the prize money by not taking part in official photos etc.

    • Philip Wass
      7 months ago - Reply

      It’s a very poor state of affairs that you eloquently describe. ARC has been taking the piss for years and this reduction in prize money is based on a hypothetical possibility that its income from FTOBs will be reduced when the lower stake is implemented which hasn’t even come in yet! I am only a racegoer and punter who loves the sport but I support you in any boycott of ARC tracks.

    • andrew marshall
      7 months ago - Reply

      Katie – remembering that you are in the entertainment business take a look around and see 1. What it takes to put on a show and 2. Who benefits from it commercially… the bookmakers and exchanges seem to be able to monetise racing but a very small number of others… that’s where I think tricks have been missed here not so much the venues. I wish you well but fear your protests are wasted without the full support from all.

    • andrew marshall
      7 months ago - Reply

      Katie – remembering that you are in the entertainment business take a look around and see 1. What it takes to put on a show and 2. Who benefits from it commercially… the bookmakers and exchanges seem to be able to monetise racing but a very small number of others… that’s where I think tricks have been missed here not so much the venues. I wish you well but fear your protests are wasted without the full support from all.

    • Mick Appleby
      7 months ago - Reply

      Hi Katie
      I never received a email either but I am fully behind this boycott against arc like you say the prize money doesn’t cover costs but if we don’t make a stand against arc now then other racecourses will follow suit .
      Owners will leave racing all together or go to France where it is so much better
      I’ve trained for 9 years now never took a wage I live off my trainers winnings percentage which arc as now literally cut by 40% stable staff rely on their pool money now that is cut by 40% where will it end?
      Us as trainers and owners need to make a stand and show solidarity and show the governing bodies that without us there will be no racing.
      But I also totally understand your situation and respect your choices
      It’s not easy!

      Best regards