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By Larry Cassidy | Friday, July 8, 2011

Larry Cassidy currently has forty-two Group 1 successes behind his name. He is a multiple Premiership winning jockey having taken out three titles in Sydney and one in Brisbane. Larry’s View, the personal blog of this top class rider will appear on horseracingonly.com.au every Friday, workload permitting.

Another standoff hit Queensland racing at Doomben on Wednesday, the details of which have been well documented (see separate story: Doomben standoff shoots racing in the foot).

I wasn’t there on Wednesday but, as a jockey you do feel frustration when disagreements like the one which emerged between Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club come down to being sorted out on a race-day. That shouldn’t happen.

Like others before it, the problem should have been headed off and addressed way before it could affect a race-day. It’s frustrating for all racing participants when this sort of situation arises, particularly for the customers … those people who had gone along to have a bet.

Having said that, I do have some understanding about why it could happen on occasions.

A similar thing happened with the jockeys when we were looking for a pay-rise. We had tried different avenues with no luck and, in the end, we had to target a race-day to let the authorities know we had to be taken seriously … I guess even to try and force their hand.

The last thing we wanted to do was put a meeting in jeopardy, but we had been placed in a corner.

I can’t talk for either of the parties involved in the confrontation on Wednesday, but it seems like the powers-that-be squared off obviously with the message that it was their way or no way, and that became the major sticking point which threatened the meeting.

Somehow, I guess, each were trying to force the other’s hand, just as we were doing when we protested the jockey pay-rise situation. As in the jockey’s case, I am sure no-one actually wanted the race meeting to be abandoned.

The only sure result in the Wednesday standoff was that there had to be a compromise along the line.

There was … and the meeting finally went ahead, but it was a no-win situation for all concerned and it would have been far better for racing had things been reined in a lot earlier.

There has got to be a lesson in there somewhere.

I don’t like getting involved in the politics of racing. It’s ever-present but I prefer to leave that to others, although I still have to follow what happens as it affects me.

What happens generally in racing is that the different participants look after themselves first and foremost. Everyone is probably for themselves … jockeys, trainers, management and that fragmentation is the root of most of the grievances that the industry faces.

If the participants were to work together, it is a no-brainer that things would work more smoothly and generally be run better. There is no ‘scoop’ in that revelation.

Yet somehow, even though everybody is aware of the advantage of doing that … few ever try to do it. I guess nobody wants to take a backward step or ‘lose’ any of what they have but, if they are genuine about safeguarding racing’s future, those old, established attitudes have to go out of the window once and for all.

The changes that will lead to representatives of different sectors of the industry working together have to happen if racing, as we know it, is going to survive.

Most definitely that has to happen.

Doubtless people have been saying that forever, but there will come a time when it will hold absolutely true and racing will pay a heavy price if the warnings are not heeded.

Perhaps it’s time to start making things happen instead of waiting to be washed away by the tide of pessimism.

Till next week,

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Larry Cassidy
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