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Horse Racing

Matt Chapman’s Monday Yeeehaaa – Flat horses give us season to savour but Panorama doc to show how racing can do better

You hear it all the time. The Flat is boring – it’s the jumps racing that has all the passion.

Year in year out that’s probably true. The support of racing fans for certain horses at Cheltenham will always be more than at Royal Ascot.

SunSport columnist Chapman says the Panorama documentary could make for uncomfortable viewing – but will show how racing can improve

But this Flat season we have some truly special horses to enjoy.

Palace Pier and Poetic Flare are super cool milers, but St Mark’s Basilica, Bolshoi Ballet, Santa Barbara, Hurricane Lane, Adayar and Snowfall are three-year-olds to relish.

Then there are old boys Stradivarius and Battaash to still enjoy, and Love could yet dominate the older middle distance brigade. Addeybb and Mishriff are also out there and capable of huge runs.

Throw in the new sprint star Starman, and Dream of Dreams if he comes back after injury, and you have a host of names that whet the appetite.

This is a good Flat season. And there are fabulous horses to enjoy.

Uncomfortable viewing

Racing is all about the horse, but tonight Panorama will do its best to once again shame the sport.

‘The Dark Side of Horse Racing’ will be shown at 8.30pm on BBC One. The blurb says: “Horse racing is an extremely profitable sport, a £5 billion industry in the UK and Ireland followed by millions. Darragh MacIntyre investigates what can happen to racehorses when their careers end.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to suggest it’s going to be uncomfortable viewing.

In many ways that’s not a bad thing. If there is a problem, then I don’t have any issue with it being highlighted.

But there has to be some reality as well.

Humans around the world are treated a lot worse than racehorses. That’s a fact.

Love of the horse

Panorama also needs to explain to those that don’t know that racehorses would never have had a life if it wasn’t for the sport.

Simply, they would not have existed.

Some might feel the game plucks animals from a field and race them. That, of course, is nothing like the truth.

Racing employs thousands of people. It provides Government with huge income. It also gives many people huge fun and enjoyment.

Added to that, in general terms most who work in the sport do so because of the love of the horse.

In truth, some horses might not always get the retirement we might all wish for. But that’s just the way it is.

The race horse is a working animal. Many have amazing retirements. But it’s a fact not all do.

As an industry we can always do more and do better. But we should also be proud of much that goes on.

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