06 May 2011

Jumps racing's global PR nightmare

Horse jumps into crowd. Does publicity get any worse than this?

Once upon a time promoters of the time-honored Grand Annual Steeplechase, first run 1872 and one of the great races on the Australian turf calendar, would have thought that the prospect of global media coverage of their race an impossible dream. Yesterday it became their nightmare. Forget the horses, jumps racing is now causing actual bodily harm to toddlers and grannies. You wouldn't read about it. You don't need to, it's all on Youtube. In the PR war, jumps racing is being put on a par with clubbing seals or culling dolphins.

And in a bizarre prophecy, Warrnambool's own The Standard newspaper told their readers the night before the Grand Annual  to "Expect a two-horse race". Only two of the race's eight starters survived the 5500 metre marathon to fight out the finish.

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