The Racing League commenced last night at Newcastle Racecourse, but some enthusiasts of the sport are not as enthusiastic about the new competition.
Featuring 12 teams of between two and four trainers, three jockeys stable staff and a roster of 30 horses, the league will see competitors race for a total prize pot of over £2 million across 36 races.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned News UK and its talkSPORT radio station, LADbible Group’s ODDSbible online betting community, social investment platform eToro, and social marketing media firm The Goat Agency will act as sponsors as individual teams.
However, speaking on to Shane Anderson of bettingexpert’s Jump to It, bettingexpert tipster Stephen Harris and ‘horse racing regular’ Ed Quigley expressed scepticism at the new project, with Harris arguing that the league will divert investment which could be better used elsewhere in the sport.
“If we’re going to have some new investment in this sport, let’s get it targeted at the racing we’ve got, and make it more competitive and have less of it,” he stated.
“Have two meetings in the afternoon and two in the evening, make sure there’s a minimum of eight runners in any race, otherwise you scrap it, and make sure there’s a minimum prize money level of five grand to the winner – otherwise it’s just becoming a race to the bottom.
“This sort of sideshow, all it’s probably done is taken runners that would have been running at Goodwood and Epson. To be quite honest. you’re actually just diluting the product to have some gimmicky concept that no punter is going to be vaguely interested in, or will remember, when it is scrapped in a few months time.”
Quigley, meanwhile, shared his view that the concept of teams does not fit the horse racing format the same way it does with other popular sports, due to racing having very individualistic overtones.
“I do admire anyone trying to come up with something creative and something fresh and something different, because I do think there’s too much racing going on, so at least if we’re going to have too much racing on let’s have it with a twist and a jovial kind of attitude,” he began.
“But, sports are often split up into team events or individual events, and racing sells itself, by and large, as an individual sport. You get punters, who follow the individual horse – ‘I always back that horse, I always back Frankie Dettori when he’s riding’ – it’s sold on its individualism.
“Then you get sports, which are tribal for want of a better phrase, like football or club rugby, where you have an affinity with your team or club, forged into the woodwork, woven into the fabric through years throughout communities.”
Source – bettingexpert YouTube Channel