27 June 2012

La dolce vita turns sour for doomed Italian racing

Italian turf's best export, Frankie Dettori, went home in 2009 to
win the Italian Derby on Master GB at Rome's Capannelle track.
Racing in Italy, "beset by deep-rooted financial problems, is set to come under the direct control of the government before plans for a possible privatisation can be enacted" reported racingpost.com. Treasury minister Vittorio Grilli announced that Assi (which took over from Unire as Italian racing's independent governing body earlier this year) "will be disbanded and the Ministry Of Agriculture will take control of running racing, while the customs agency is to oversee the betting industry". Tote betting is declining by 25% year on year and prize-money in Italy is down by 40% for 2012 "as the industry lurches from crisis to crisis". No date has been set for when the Ministry Of Agriculture will take control "but it is believed they will be in place before Guido Melzi d'Eril, president of the Federation Of Racecourses, delivers a report into regulatory reform of the racing and betting industries. His report is due to be finished next month." In January, Italian racing journalist, Dr Carlo Zuccoli, told The Guardian:
"The betting model, through which money comes back to racing, is broken, and it is effectively bankrupt. As it stands, every race that is run is being run at a loss. Nobody in Italy has any money at the moment and the new minister has already made it clear that there will be nothing more for the sport. The only way forward is to admit that we need a new structure for funding racing and to start again with a clean slate. If we try to carry on as things are, racecourses will close and racing will not survive in Italy."
--  with breedingracing.com

24 June 2012

Black Caviar post-scripts pile the BS a mile high

Get ready for an avalanche of horse manure in the wash up after Black Caviar's narrow victory in last night's Diamond Jubilee at Ascot. Expect more like this unbridled hyperbole from The Punch's Anthony Sharwood:
"About 100m before the post, he eased up on Black Caviar. He did this not out of arrogance or disrespect for the chasers, but out of respect for Black Caviar ... Nolen could have continued to wield the whip and extract that little bit extra out of Black Caviar for a more decisive margin. Instead, he looked after the horse’s welfare. Too much effort in a single race can break a horse’s spirit forever. You see it all the time. That was the last thing Nolen wanted to do.
"So instead, he eased her up with less than 100m to go. But he did so a bit early, and had to get busy again in the last strides to throw the horse across the line."
What utter rubbish!