An apprentice jockey cleans out the stables as part of his daily duties after early morning trackwork. Picture: Peter Clark
An apprentice jockey cleans out the stables as part of his daily duties after early morning trackwork. Picture: Peter Clark

Anti-racing wowsers: Get off your high horse

THE hysterical anti-racing campaigners need to get off their high horse.

And once they dismount, they should go visit a working stable first thing in the morning before the sun comes up.

They'd see hard-working, often lowly-paid people mucking out stables, feeding, cleaning and exercising horses as part of their relentless daily regime to pamper and prepare the majestic beasts that are like family to them.

Because that's the racing industry that they are so keen to shutdown.

Racing is most certainly not the trackside marquees full of champagne-sipping VIPs. That glamourous façade at major carnivals is just that, a façade.

Racing is a 365-day a year industry employing thousands of people who work their fingers to the bone for the horses they love.

The theatre-goers who rock up for the big days to be wined and dined probably don't care all that much about the thoroughbreds. That's fine. Whatever.

 

The Cliffsofmoher’s trainer Joseph O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore walk from the track with their connections after the horse broke down early in the Melbourne Cup. Picture: Michael Klein
The Cliffsofmoher’s trainer Joseph O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore walk from the track with their connections after the horse broke down early in the Melbourne Cup. Picture: Michael Klein

 

They can also go the whole day without turning their head to see an actual race live as they prefer to discuss their chances in Fashions on the Field.

But they do not represent the racing industry. Don't make that mistake.

At the heart of it, it is not a sport for toffs. It is a passion for people who show up rain, hail or shine, far from the glare of the limelight.

For every Sheik, there's thousands of hardy, salt of the earth souls who engage in back-breaking work but wouldn't have it any other way.

 

An apprentice jockey cleans out the stables as part of his daily duties after early morning trackwork. Picture: Peter Clark
An apprentice jockey cleans out the stables as part of his daily duties after early morning trackwork. Picture: Peter Clark

 

The tragic death of Melbourne Cup runner The Cliffsofmoher yesterday was gut-wrenching for all genuine racing people who are horse-loving people.

The image of the giant screens being put around the horse, in the shadows of a corporate hospitality at Flemington, so it could be euthanized after fracturing its right shoulder, were graphic.

It was heart-breaking. Just horrible. Nobody ever wants to see that.

It is a terribly unfortunate reality of the caper when you have these massive animals going at high speeds on surfaces that are affected by the weather.

 

The Cliffsofmoher, left, pulls up with a broken leg at the Melbourne Cup. Picture: AP Photo/Andy Brownbill
The Cliffsofmoher, left, pulls up with a broken leg at the Melbourne Cup. Picture: AP Photo/Andy Brownbill

 

It is a highly dangerous game for horse and jockey. Always has been, always will be.

Too many horses have died in recent years at the Melbourne Cup. Just one horse dying on the sport's biggest stage is too many.

But the constantly outraged hand-wringers who could not get on social media quick enough yesterday want to tell you that the racing industry doesn't care, that the cruel racing caravan rolls on regardless without a second thought about the well-being of the animals.

 

Skikato Kayoshi, strapper of Admire Rakti, is reduced to tears after the horse broke down and died shortly after the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Skikato Kayoshi, strapper of Admire Rakti, is reduced to tears after the horse broke down and died shortly after the 2014 Melbourne Cup.

 

Jockey Hugh Bowman was rubbed out for a month yesterday, partly for over use of the whip on runner-up Marmelo.

Of course the industry cares.

It cares deeply. And It was hurting yesterday.

In the wake of The Cliffsofmoher's death, calls for the Melbourne Cup and the racing industry as whole to be scrapped were as ludicrous as they are delusional.

As if that is ever going to happen. Seriously, get a grip.

If the industry was wound up today, thousands of people would be out of work. And who would be looking after the thousands of horses in Australia then?



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