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FROM THE SHERIFF'S DESK: THE EVEREST, THE MELBOURNE SPRING AND QUARTER HORSE RACING

By John Schreck | Wednesday, October 18, 2017

John Schreck, a former Chief Steward in both Sydney and Hong Kong, has seen both the colourful and the dark sides of racing. His wealth of experience and his deep knowledge of racing matters across the board is unquestioned and the reputation he built as a racing ‘lawman’ remains firmly entrenched in racing’s history. Schreck’s personal blog, ‘From the Sheriff’s Desk', appears exclusively on HRO.

The Everest passed its first test at Randwick on Saturday. The turnover, the on track attendance and the race itself all represented positive factors in what was, without doubt, a successful raceday.

The business plan that put the race in place is a unique one and, as such, there does remain a point of concern as to whether such a plan can be sustained over time.

The old adage ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’ comes to mind. I think it applies in the case of The Everest ... not in any negative way as some might interpret it ... but rather as a means of putting The Everest’s debut performance into perspective.

Certainly, it is to be hoped that the business plan for the race can be sustained.

It is also to be hoped that those who are running racing in Sydney today put as much money and effort into promoting the Doncaster Handicap next year, for example, as they put into promoting The Everest.

The Doncaster Handicap is acknowledged around the world as probably the best mile handicap that is run anywhere. It has, of course, created a lot of tradition and a lot of wonderful horses have won it. Giving it that extra marketing push will not only promote the Doncaster race-day itself, but it will help people to remember what a great race it has been for some time.

Of course you have to have the budget available to do these things but one of the clear lessons from The Everest is that if you promote something well enough it can be a success.

Therefore it is to be hoped that the high octane level of promotion that administrators applied to The Everest can filter through to their marketing approach of other races such as the Doncaster and produce similar positive benefits for the industry.

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The focus this week turns further south to Melbourne and the Caulfield Cup where the Aiden O’Brien trained Johannes Vermeer is the current ruling favourite.

The Melbourne Spring has always been acknowledged as a wonderful time for horse racing and these days it is acknowledged as such everywhere in the world... and that is because of the international horses that come here and the interest they create.

They absolutely add a new dimension to our racing.

There are still those who criticise international runners for coming here and trying to take our money. I think those people are very short-sighted. It can only be good for the country’s racing profile.

The Melbourne Spring ... it doesn’t matter what anybody says ... you are not going to beat it.

The racing there has developed over such a long period of time to such an outstanding level. Over Melbourne Cup week they will get somewhere between 300 000 and 400 000 people to the races for the week ... which is just incredible.

That is what tradition can do for you.

As always, it is the most exciting time for racing in the country and this year will be no different.

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Interesting commentary from David Fowler in his blog on HRO about a push to establish a Quarter Horse Racing code in Queensland.

They’ve been talking about quarter horse racing for fifty years that I know of and haven’t been able to get it off the ground so I think it will be some way off.

That doesn’t mean they can’t get it going. Maybe this time they will, but you would have to wonder how it would work and I can’t see how Racing Queensland could administer it as a fourth code because it would be against all of the local rules.

If someone can get it over the line that is their business and I wish them well but, as I say, they have been talking about quarter horse racing for years without being able to bring it to fruition so I don’t think there is any quick and easy solution to the problem they face in trying to secure a place as an individual racing code.

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