Ed Pownall takes on the role of ‘Professor Pownall, Image Consultant for Horseracing’, whose job is to help horse racing ‘overcome the perception of the sport to the wider public’, in his newest skit about the ‘de-poshification’ of the sport.
Last week, leading British horse racing organisations formed a unified ‘Industry Commitment’ as part of a vow to improve diversity and inclusion within the sector, and help it to ‘grow and thrive’ in the future.
Pownall takes viewers back to an earlier time when the sport was synonymous with the ‘upper echelons’ of society in the short clip.
“There was a time when to work in racing you had to be a retired Major with a double-barrelled name but now, believe you and me, things have changed,” he began. “Even people who keep their title of Captain can enter the upper echelons of the horse racing industry nowadays.
“Horse racing loves nothing more than a panel and an acronym, and so the DIRSG has been created – the Diversity in Racing Steering Group. They will no doubt steer horse racing in the right direction so I will leave that to the DIRSG.”
He added: “As a result, I have set up the EPWANPTCTTR – Encouraging People Who Are Not Posh To Come To The Racecourse.”
Overlaid with archive footage, Pownall observed the ‘top hats’ and ‘knee-length skirts’ on show at the Royal Ascot, whilst the Cheltenham Festival was a ‘green swathe’ of tweed.
“The powers that be have kindly agreed to my idea of banning everybody from all racecourses for the whole year to wipe the slate clean,” he continued on.
“As Royal Ascot is so aggressively posh, they’ve agreed to ban crowds for two successive years to make sure that we start completely from scratch and get rid of all the lah-di-dah. That’s not to say that Ascot have not tried in their implementation of non-racing activities a couple of years ago for the common man, like fighting!”
However, he noted that ‘the iron fist of the old guard soon crushed the momentum that was beginning to build’.
“Once the ban on crowds is lifted, the whole of racing will be embracing the commendable forward-thinking, ahead of its time, ground-breaking formula of ‘de-poshification’ of racing, adopted by Aintree Racecourse.
“Going forward, we will stick with the concept of strict dress codes for men. It goes without saying that socks will be strictly banned, ties are of course banned and shirts must be undone at least to the third button.
“Those with ankle tags will be allowed free entry and there will be regular competitions for the best decorated ankle tag.
“So come racing from wherever you’re from, even if you didn’t go to boarding school, come racing!”