By Robin Gibson 7:19PM 7 JUL 2016
WELL, that’s that. We’ve left the EU*. I say we, but it’s the UK, unrelated to racing, unless you count the misnamed Racing UK. For racing governance, Ireland is intact and Britain is England, Scotland and Wales.
There will still be a welcome in the hillside, but what about a Valkommen till Bro Park? You’d hope so. Just as the UK was gracelessly becoming Europe’s first country to leave, Bro was stylishly becoming its latest racecourse to arrive.
Scandinavian racing has been waving a big flag recently. It’s a European success story, not something you can say about much. Just google it – Scandinavian racing!
Actually, they could do with a bit of SEO expertise. There’s nothing wrong with the first result, ‘List of Scandinavian Flat horse races’. Bro will be pleased to see that it comes top thanks to the Stockholms Stora Pris. Prize-money is 1.2m kr, which was worth over a hundred grand in quids on Thursday, although that might be down to five figures by now.
Bro has a good web presence at svenskgalopp.se/bropark, and the place looks cracking. You can watch TV coverage of launch day. But then the second result is ‘Nordic race’. A bit heavy going, that.
It’s back to the track with number three, Scandinavian Racing on Twitter (@scandiracing), an excellent account in English worth following. You feel the region’s rising profile can’t have been harmed by pooling the resources and attractions of several progressive nations for the collective benefit. A decent idea, that.
Yes, Europe is still a place and racing admins are still networked. Take this 30-day ban for William Buick. Now there’s reciprocality and mutual feeling. But wouldn’t it be nice if we had actual harmonisation of rules? You don’t get many other global sports with a different set of rules in each parish. Mind you, according to Europedia (europedia.moussis.eu) the harmonisation of rules involves “laborious procedures”, so we’re probably well out of that.
If you google the Buick story, you will find it all over the media –mainly in Britain and Ireland. It’s hard to find much from France. It’s like they’re beginning to forget the whole sordid affair, while we keep banging on about it for ages.
Say what you like about the frequently appalling UK media but we’re spoilt for racing news online. In France, Paris-Turf (paris-turf.com) doesn’t that have much news at all – a few stories, some blogs des experts and some titbits. They’ve also got petites annonces, which really is a lovely way to say classified ads.
France-Galop has a nice site at france-galop.com, but the section titles run from bottom to top instead of left to right. Call me a dull traditionalist but I prefer reading with my neck straight. They also like “quality, rigour and passion challenges”, although that loses a touch in translation.
As for Germany, well. It is being attended to, just, particularly by Anglo German Racing. This offers “complete coverage of German racing – in English” at anglogermanracing.com.
Although it doesn’t, really. It redirects you to a Facebook page (996 likes). The top post is about a hurdle race in France, which is okay but, like a rich tea in a packet of digestives, not exactly what we’re after.
To be fair to AGR, their newsletter is as cosmopolitan as the electorate of Gibraltar, offering bulletins not only from Germany and France but also Poland, Sweden, Italy and Spain.
Frankly if it wasn’t for AGR you’d be a bit pushed for news from Germany. This once, if not mighty, then significant racing nation seems dowdy at the moment (the sport, not the country – that’s vibrant and exciting).
German Throroughbred Marketing (german-thoroughbred.com) doesn’t get the Riesling flowing, being a bit formal, not to mention out of date. The latest news column leads with a report from May 13.
Then there’s Italy . . . this once, if not mighty, then striking racing nation seems austere at the moment, to the point of being unavailable. Google ‘horse racing Italy news’ and you get half a dozen stories from the Racing Post.
Galoppo e Trotto (gaet.it) looks colourful, but is a bit of a mess and soon the trail goes cold. If you’d like to explore racing in even more obscure corners of our erstwhile community, have a look at the links (enlaces) page on jockeysite.com. Even Turkey is on there. They get in on nearly everything.
By the way, William Buick isn’t on Twitter but he’s got a fan club. William Buick Fans (@WBuickFans) is a living (well, actually, dead) microcosm of Twitterlife. It joined the service on October 1, 2013 (“a fan page for one of the best jockeys in the world”), churned out 103 tweets and retweets by October 15, 2013, and then stopped. Just like this.
*Actual leaving to be arranged