The Crown Jewels

One minute you think there’s nothing to bother blogging about on a windy and wet Saturday (although it’s so far sunny in this neck of the woods) and then the next you find this list:

Summer Olympics, Fifa World Cup finals, Uefa European football championship finals, the Grand National, FA Cup final – in England, Wales & N Ireland, Scottish FA Cup in Scotland, home and away qualifiers in FIFA World Cup and Uefa European football championships in home nation to which they relate, Wimbledon, Open golf championship, Cricket’s home Ashes Test matches, Rugby union World Cup tournament in entirety and Wales matches in Six National rugby championship, in Wales.

Can you guess what it is yet?

These events form the list of the sporting crown jewels that should enjoy protected status and be kept on free-to-air channels according to a government appointed “review panel”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much on there that shouldn’t be is there? (except perhaps for the interminable sport known as cricket), but wot about wotsnot?


No Derby!

The review group, which included racehorse owner and former racecourse board member Michael Pescod, and was chaired by former FA executive director David Davies said, “In order to be eligible to be listed, an event must have a special national resonance and not simply a significance to those who ordinarily follow the sport concerned.”

Where has flat racing gone wrong? The Derby, on a Wednesday, used to have just that. What’s changed? Why does flat racing not resonate in the nation’s psyche in the way jump racing seems to. I can perhaps answer my own question which would clearly include the commercial breeding demands that dictate our heroes are whisked off to stud, but I would rather know what others think?

The wind’s picking up, it looks like rain, it must be the NH Season.

Posted on November 14, 2009, in Horse racing, Jump racing, News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You are right in one: there’s no continuing narrative like you get with Dessie, Red Rum, Kauto et. Plus which the flat all seems to be to do with rich b’stards whereas any old body* can buy a Best Mate out of a field in Ireland.

    I heard the man responsible for the Derby interviewed on the World at One yesterday – he didn’t seem too bothered because he could most likely sell his event for much more now; likewise the test cricket guy was hacked off as he estimated ‘the sport’ would lose about £40 million (he gets £66m now and thinks he’ll get about £22m out of the Beeb.)

    * sure they can :–)

  2. Is this the same Derby that “struggled” to find a sponsor after Vodafone dropped it, now sponsored by that household name INVESTEC…

    I think maybe the flat does not seem as jolly and inclusive as the jumps to an outsider – a bit more elitist perhaps (but you said that). Although a trip to Southwell on a wintry Monday would soon fix that. Perhaps it is just that we have more red button options for entertainment than when the Derby enjoyed its heyday and I don’t really know when that was! Maybe the biggest brand wins; the Grand National is a bigger brand than the Derby.

    Could the Derby can look at how that race came back from the brink and learn something?

    The finer nuances of the flat are for me more appealing, but I have to put my hands up and admit that the grubby reach of commerce taints the thing – it is said that a flat racehorse does not attain its full potential until it is 5.

    As for the cricket, the other week it was reported that the One Day format is struggling and losing viewers in their droves – in India. Now that is serious!

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