September 1st, 2013 | Rebecca's Spotlight

Welcome to my space on the Marten Julian site. Here I write about whatever takes my fancy with some views and reviews of something to do with racing. This month I am talking about relationships, racehorse welfare and racing on Good Friday.

I am genuinely close to some of the Marten Julian clients with regular phone calls, emails and text messages taking place. I have cried recently due to the passing of one of our long-standing clients who was nice enough to call me on a regular basis as well as send Christmas gifts and sweets for my children.  During major race meetings when I work late it is the phone calls and grateful emails that make all the hard work worthwhile.

I believe that the majority of the people in our industry are nice and caring and genuinely want the best so I do become annoyed when ill-informed people make comments about the welfare of horses or jump on the band wagon when a newspaper decides to ‘have a go’.

There is a website called which is currently showing 1006 deaths in 2368 days and say this is the dark side of racing. The top course in 2012 was Cheltenham with 10 deaths and Aintree is number five with six deaths. I can’t disagree as it is sad when a horse dies while racing however it upsets me more that, at time of writing, there are 898,128,939 undernourished people in the world and that 26,873 people died of hunger today. There are also 770,114, 971 with no safe drinking water. Perhaps we should be concerned that there are only 14,700 days left till the oil runs out and 151,296 days till we run out of the current gas sources. Upsettingly over 750,000 people have committed suicide this year.

Like everyone I would prefer there not to be deaths caused by racing but there have been 912, 787 fatalities due to road accidents this year and we still manufacture motor vehicles and drive.

With around 6 million race goers each year in the UK we are the second most popular spectator sport after football. The economic impact of horse racing is valued at £3.45 billion with the industry employing, indirectly, around 85,000 people and in 2012 a tax contribution of £276,000 million was made. Surely these figures show there are more positives than negatives to horse racing.

Racing in Britain is apparently the best regulated when it comes to animal welfare with the standards set higher for race horses than any other domestic animal. We are now at a 0.2% fatality rate of all runners which I think is impressive.

I agree that in the past not enough may have been done to protect horses after their careers have ended but I believe now people are investing in this area and a lot more is being done. Currently there are 7,500 registered former racehorses active in other areas.

It is also worth pointing out that £20 million has been spent in the last decade investing in research, education and veterinary activities to help ensure the British Horseracing Industry is at the top of the game when it comes to welfare.

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry and sorry to the clients who kept checking and then had to remind me to write it! I hadn’t forgotten but life got in the way due to summer holidays and a lot of work!

Just as I was completing this blog I received a press release from The British horseracing Authority which made me shout “No” very loudly in my office. The BHA have decided to accept applications to race on Good Friday.

Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:

“If there are to be fixtures on Good Friday, the Executive were clear to the Board that the fixtures must remain fully in the control of BHA, and meet a number of minimum criteria to benefit both participants and the sport’s customers. We are mindful of the historical sensitivities around this subject, but will seek to establish the net benefit to the sport of racing taking place on Good Friday, and move the debate to one based on the facts that are available. Good Friday is a significant leisure day, so we are keen to fully assess the opportunity for racing.”

I am absolutely furious! Who does this benefit? I understand the logic in that a lot of people are off work and therefore may go racing but at the same time can’t people who work in the industry enjoy a day off every so often?

I am really enjoying the social networking on this matter on Twitter and the comments on the Racing Post Live News page.
Here are some of my favourites:

@Gertumelty: Please @BHAPressOffice don’t have racing on Good Friday as we have the lesters the night b4 we race 361 days a year do we need to race 362 ?

lecrin 2h: Can’t agree with those celebrating expected #BHA decision to stage racing on Good Friday from next year. More rubbish racing. Less IS more.

pauleacottrp: Here’s an idea, how about letting betting shop staff have Good Friday off and inject £1m into the 100s of AW races worth next to nothing.

Annedder: This is ridiculous what is the need to have racing on good friday. The lads and lasses in racing including jockey, valets, stable hands rarely get to have a bank holiday off and deserve one!!