It is often said that change for change sake is not a good thing and it seems that horse racing in T&T must once again confront this "change" phenomenon now. One for which we remain totally unprepared.
Although the departure of key racing officials over the last few weeks has garnered significant publicity in the local media, the racing public remains in the dark as to the reasons behind the departure.
While we have heard one side of the story, it is essential that the other side of the story is also placed into the public domain so an intelligent assessment can be made as to the merits of the various arguments put forward.
In the absence of both sides of the story being presented, local racing will continue to be subject to rumour and innuendo, neither of which is good for the sport given our delicate position.
Local racing desperately needs some good news at the moment and it seems as though the only place we can find that at present is the performance of some of the three-year-olds that have graced the local race track so far this season. In this regard, we have witnessed two very smart colts – one locally bred and one Jamaican bred. Both of which promise to make this year's "Triple Crown" series one to remember.
The champion two-year-old colt of the year, Regal Intention has continued this season from where he left off last year with comfortable victories against all generations. At the same time, locally bred Making Headlines, who showed great potential in his two juvenile starts has continued his improvement with two facile victories, first in the Royal Colours Classic in which he established his superiority over his locally bred contemporaries and then against the older generation over 1,750 metres. A match-up between these two colts is eagerly awaited by turfites.
If we add to the spice, the champion two-year-old filly She’s So Spectacula, who has yet to race for the season, then the three-year-old crop of this year might prove to be one of our best in many years.
In addition to this year's three-year-old crop, there are a number of positive developments with respect to the imported class, which could result in a very competitive series of racing among the top class. We have the return on the highest rated animals in the country, Thisonesforron and Whisper Light and they will almost always give their supporters an honest effort.
Last year's Gold Cup winner, Nuclear Power, has already shown that she will remain a significant force over all distances of ground with a powerful finish into second place over 1,200m, a few weeks ago.
Then we have horses such as Pauseforacoors who started off last season very brightly before fading away in the latter half, who could be much more the finished article in this year. Thisonesforron’s stable companion, Awesome April, the winner of the Sian’s Gold Sprint on the turf, looked equally effective on the main track and could be another one to set the pulses racing this season.
If connections of Princess Suri can also get this filly back to her best for a campaign this year, we could witness a number of very competitive races for the top class horses.
With the horses doing their part to sustain interest in the local sport, it is essential that the administrators get their act together. The spate of changes at the leadership level of the sport is not good and needs to be remedied immediately. Governance in the sport must be improved significantly and immediately if the gains being made by the performances on the track are not to be wasted.
It might be time for the T&T Racing Authority and the Betting Levy Board to get involved in the management of the Arima Race Club if the club cannot prove to all and sundry that they are doing what is in the best interest of the sport.
As it stands at the moment, as the delays continue in terms of payments to persons in horse racing, there is a sense of inevitably, which cannot augur well for the future of the sport. Of course, all of the above presupposes that grooms, jockeys, trainers, owners and horse racing staff are critical to this country.
We all know that the government of the day has other urgent matters to deal with, rather than worry about horse racing. But do they, have the honest conscience to admit that horse racing has lost its birthright and benefactor in terms of the lotteries system, which was taken away on the premise of real support but which has turned into a dastardly lie.
As the future looms dark, sadly we could lose the chance to all be privy, of what promises on the race track to potentially be one of the best years of horse racing, the planned Jetsam Awards at the end of March, may give a hint of the state of the sport, with a low attendance and lack of interest anticipated. It has been stated, that soon, tickets may have to be given away free for anyone to attend.
Let us hope, that whatever signal comes forward, it is recognised and appreciated. Enough of the male egomaniacs, time for teamwork in horse racing.
Time is now; Time is here; Time is running out.