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THE SUNSHINE COAST NEWSPAPER COLUMN: FOUR CORNERS - BUT ONLY ONE SIDE OF THE STORY

By Graham Potter | Friday, July 13, 2018

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

The Four Corners television program which aired this week started with the premise that ‘all is not well in the sport of kings,’ alluding to several troubling aspects ‘behind the glamorous façade.’

The theme was valid, up to a point, but wholly misleading in its execution.

Of course, racing and its broader accepted identity faces an on-going battle in terms of maintaining a respectable level of integrity in a world where big money can be made and where some will be tempted to cheat to gain unfair advantage. The general welfare of racehorses, past, present and future also remains an obvious point of concern. Again, this is an on-going challenge facing the racing industry which nobody can deny.

These points were well made but, in a related point of reference, it should be noted that racing, particularly in recent years, has continually stepped up a range of counter measures to uncover the cheats and to have policies and procedures in place to ensure the healthy and safe transition of a horse from birth to racing to post-career paddock.

Both tasks, by implication, are a work in progress. Sadly, and this is not a racing failure but a human nature fault, there is always someone willing to push the legal boundaries related to how they present their horse at the track … as there will always be somebody who does not do the right thing in terms of properly looking after a horse in his or her care.

But that doesn’t tell anywhere near the full story, as facts presented in isolation rarely do.

Any responsible commentary on the above would also tell the other side of the story. Four Corners didn’t do that … which is why the perception many who have gained from their story is misleading on a grand scale.

By far the majority of people in racing abide by the rules and love their horses … in fact most, particular those core workers on the ground, are in the game for the love of the horse. So, it is a slight on their good name to taint their industry with a negative story highlighting the actions of a few and palming that off as being a fair comment on the overall state of the industry.

Clearly a follow up program about all of those who work hard towards the betterment of the industry with the horse’s well-being at heart … including those who groom, ride and train horses and those who work tirelessly to re-home them when the racing career ends … would be appropriate.

After all that would only be fair … that is, if the intention was to give the public the full story in the first place.

Nobody is holding their breath!

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