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By Larry Cassidy | Friday, November 30, 2012

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.

Fellow HRO blogger Mark Oberhardt made a good point when he suggested that a general ‘think tank’ should possibly be organized where ideas could be put forward with the aim of helping racing reclaim its rightful profile in the grand scheme of things.

I think it is a great idea.

I see it as a three-part process.

Firstly, there is a mountain of work to do even beforehand because, as important as any of those ideas that are forthcoming might be, they will only have an effective and meaningful outcome if the various groups that make up the very fabric of racing come together for the common cause instead of pushing their own agenda.

I can hear you out there saying … yes, and elephants can fly!

We all know the fragmentation that currently exists within the industry which obviously weakens it but that can change, with a big effort admittedly, but the rewards will be worth the pain.

Different groups are represented by different associations. The Jockeys’ Association is extremely strong. I would say it has never been stronger. They take on issues and they want us to go to them with any problem and they will take it up on our behalf. No problem at all, even if you think it is small. That is what they are there for. They take a strong but fair stance on issues with authorities and the jockeys back there association as much as the association backs the jockeys.

In that unity within this particular group of participants, there is a strength that can get things done.

Now, I’m not saying that even we have a perfect system. What I am saying is that if each association got its house in order, like the jockeys, things would run smoother in their own areas, and then if all of the associations … jockeys, trainers, owners, breeders, even bookmakers groups … could recognize their common ground and come together as one, as in Mark Oberhardt’s suggested ‘think tank’, imagine the powerful force for good they would be for racing.

The second part of the three-part process is that it should be a major condition of the ‘think tank’ that it becomes a proper discussion and exchange of ideas … and not just another moaning, whinging, ear-bashing session that so many of these type of meetings can deteriorate into. It would have to be a strictly moderated debate with nobody allowed to hijack the floor for long periods of time with a boring monologue which puts half the participants to sleep.

In fact, all of these negative aspects should not be allowed to take up valuable time at the ‘think tank’ and should be duly short-circuited. Nobody is there to waste time!

The final part of the three-part process is that the ideas will become decisions and, like we do at the Jockeys Association, participants, within reason, then have to stick to their guns to achieve the desired result.

No revolution … just a firmness of conviction that will make authorities understand that these views from the core participants who are most affected by high level decisions have to be taken seriously.

A long way off … maybe, but it can be done.

Obviously the sooner we start out towards achieving that outcome, the better!

Perhaps the first step towards that much needed ‘think tank treble’ would be to find a suitable moderator to help bring the various groups together. That person would need to be highly respected and no affiliations or bias to any individual sector.

With no disrespect to those who have served on various associations for long periods of time, and obviously done some good work, the bottom line is that there needs to be a change in the mindset and motivation of the some of the bodies so that they don’t just talk a good game they actually play a good game.

At the moment they are not getting vital job done of unifying the industry, a goal which even a layman would recognize has to be achieved now in a relatively short-term if racing is to once again prosper in the future.

Till next week,


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