BERKHAMSTED TOWN HALL was the setting today for a productive meeting with the MP for South West Hertfordshire, Gagan Mohindra, over the issue of getting owners back to the racecourse.
The current situation of just two owners being allowed to go and see their horse run is proving frustrating for Solario Racing owners and all syndicates up and down the country. Owners are the lifeblood of the sport and indeed bankroll the industry. Quite simply, without owners, there is no horse racing and while it has been great to see racing back since 1st June, the first major sport back, there is no doubt owners’ patience is beginning to wear thin.
Gagan Mohindra is a new Conservative MP, first elected to Parliament last December and he is already making quiet inroads in his parliamentary career, having been elected to two influential committees, the Public Accounts Committee and the 1922 Committee, which represents the views of Tory backbenchers.
He came to Berkhamsted today to talk primarily to the town’s Chamber of Commerce but afforded me time to discuss concerns about the impact of Owners not being allowed back on the racecourse in suitable numbers. If they leave the sport, this will have a detrimental effect on the economy and thousands of individuals’ livelihoods.
Horse racing is not only the second biggest spectator sport in the country, it contributes £4 billion to the economy. For every £1 spent by Owners, this generates £7 across the industry, what is known as the multiplier effect.
I handed Mr Mohindra a personal letter and a copy of the recently published A Blueprint for Racehorse Ownership in the UK, written and produced by RSA committee member, Jon Hughes and another major multiple owner, Ged Shields. This blueprint is an excellent summary of where we are in British racing and provides a two-stage plan for recovery as we come out of the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Mohindra may be more of a cricket fan than a racing enthusiast but he listened and seemed to understand the problems facing racing without its key supporters, the owners. He suggested we have a Zoom meeting to discuss the issue further and this welcome initiative will definitely be followed up by yours truly.