As we all know, punctuality is an essential part of taking horses to the races, presenting them late on the track can cause all sorts of problems, and sometimes a loss of revenue, so it is pleasing to see that a recent crackdown on discretions this by the Stewards seems to have done the trick.
Sadly, the same urgency doesn’t seem to apply to some trainers at trials, and the problem appears to be getting worse, with some meetings running up to thirty minutes late by the time the last heat jumps. While it could be argued that trials running on time is not as important as on race-days, it can cause unnecessary problems.
Some owners, and I’ve been in the situation myself, sneak out (legally or illegally) from work to see their horse run at, say Rangiora. To say that it is frustrating to find that the relevant heat is now to be run twenty minutes later than advertised is, to say the least annoying, sometimes meaning that the aforementioned owner has to leave without seeing his horses run. In an industry where we are desperately striving to show professionalism, that is just unacceptable.
The Trainers & Drivers Assn. has approached the RIB on this, and have been advised that the Stewards are equally frustrated with the situation and are prepared to take action. While they are reluctant to start issuing fines, there are other means available to sanction offenders in this matter.
However, perhaps it’s time for other trainers to have a quiet word to the few that spoil it for the majority, so that trial days can function efficiently to the satisfaction of all concerned.