It’s fair to say that, despite the system being generally accepted as being a good way of handling integrity issues in the harness racing industry, the RIU/JCA have, for various reasons over the past couple of years, taken on the image of ‘bogey men’. In the new year, the bureaucratic structure will change, with both bodies being governed by one Board, known as the Racing Industry Board.
Whether that move is a good thing, which was recommended by the Burgess report, will only be known in time. However, there is what many people think is a more important aspect of the change, that being the management structure and the personnel involved. Rightly or wrongly, there is a general feeling that many of the problems currently confronting us, is a direct result of people in the management and their attitudes. The Association has made its’ opinions known through various avenues, and it is to be hoped that, with new blood involved, the atmosphere of mutual respect that was evident for a number of years after the two bodies were set up, can be restored.
There will always be differences of opinion between license-holders and Industry bodies, however the current overwhelming feeling out in the field is that there are people in some quarters who are convinced all those involved in dealing with horses are criminals of some description. Until that can be changed, we are in serious trouble.