Matt Chapman: Super Saturday of racing shows why we don't need Jermaine Jenas to promote our sport | The Sun

OH how I’d love to just write about some of the awesome horses running on Saturday afternoon.

But that would be the easy route.

So much is accepted and so little rarely questioned in the world of horse racing that I need to get a few things off my chest.

I’ve not met a single person who thinks a person closely associated with one sport is a good option to promote another sport they have nothing to do with in the eyes of the general public.

CAP DU NORD (3.15 Doncaster) is nicely weighted and a top each-way bet in the Sky Bet Chase.

The ground should suit and canny Christian Williams can ready one for a pot.

In other words, AP McCoy would not be top of the list to advertise weight-lifting, and Frankie Dettori unlikely to be considered to promote synchronised swimming.

But that’s what Great British Racing (GBR) decided was clever when they chose ex-footballer and soccer pundit Jermaine Jenas to front an advert to try and get people back racing after Covid.

This week, unsurprisingly, it was revealed the project had failed dismally.

Typically, GBR chose not to hold its hands up and admit it had wasted £1.6 million on the exercise. That’s a lot of cash that could have been used to really make a difference in so many areas of the game.

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Instead, first we were told horse racing had to fight for its relevance.

I mean who knows what they actually even mean by that? But just go with it for now.

Then it was revealed a survey suggested people were very keen to go racing. Unfortunately, that discounted the relevance claim.

But keep with me here. Because out came another backtrack.

We were then informed even though people were keen to go racing, we couldn’t take that for granted.

Talk about going round in circles.

Just say you failed.

GBR is linked with, and so not surprisingly similar, to the British Horseracing Authority.

Both — unlike normal folk like you and I who make mistakes every day of our lives and are quite happy to admit it — find it impossible to ever actually tell it as it is.

It’s just excuse after excuse.

There is nothing wrong with a cock-up, even if it has cost £1.6m.

And in general, other than the odd crusade, I am fairly sure those at the BHA and GBR want the best for the sport.

If they could just be honest, and not talk to all of us as if we are stupid, it would all be a lost easier to comprehend.

If I had £1 for every time a child or family have asked me to give them a ‘Yeeehaaa’ on course I could fund the sport myself.

But GBR would never latch on to anything like that. It reminds me what outsiders in this sport are up against — it’s about who you are and who you know.

If GBR wants to justify racing’s relevance. . . talk about the jobs it provides, the money it raises in taxes, the love given to animals by those in the industry and the fact that without it the thoroughbred would be extinct.

At a time when we are all trying to convince Government that betting on horses is a justified and fun pursuit, you could even discuss its role as an intellectual sport — rather than the hell and chance of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals where failure is guaranteed — and a pastime that keeps people happy on a daily basis.

So how about today’s racing? Well, quite simply, it’s brilliant. I’m off to Doncaster rather than Cheltenham, but the action is quality.

At Prestbury Park we go again for a two-mile smash-up between Energumene and Edwardstone. I expect the former to win.

He is the class act and this course should suit him better than if the race was at Ascot.

For us fans, it should be a more interesting race with a few more runners thrown in.

When the Clarence House was abandoned last week only Amarillo Sky faced the big two, but this time Editeur Du Gite, Funambule Sivola and Sizing Pottsie throw their hats into the ring. Fair play.

Also at Cheltenham are leading Gold Cup hopes Protektorat and Noble Yeats who fight it out in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase.

I think it is between those two and my money is on Protektorat who you couldn’t help be impressed by in the Betfair Chase last time.

Throw in legend Paisley Park, who struts his stuff in the Cleeve Hurdle, and what a day we have in store.

He might be 11 now, but I think he can down these and win the Cleeve again.

The horse is some testament to his great trainer Emma Lavelle!

Former Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante, who is in the Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster, is the star turn up north for Nicky Henderson.

She’ll get the job done but is not a punters’ price at her odds.

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We have a fantastic day of racing ahead.

Relevance? It’s there for everyone to see.


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