Following the commencement of the Racing League last week, reactions from the betting industry have been mixed, with some welcoming the new format whilst others argue it goes against the nature of the sport.
Speaking to host Dave Orton of the Racing Post’s What a Shout, tipster, Paul Kealy, and bet365’s Head of Racing PR, Pat Cooney, shared their views on the new league.
From a bookmaker’s perspective, Cooney had some positive input on the tournament from a business perspective, looking at a project through the lens of a betting industry operator.
“I like the idea from a company’s point of view,” he began. “You’re given six handicaps for 12 runners and £50,000 in prize money, so from a turnover point of view these are structurally sound races and so forth, but buried away on a Thursday evening? It doesn’t really do it for me.
“It was good for them that Laura Pearson and Hayley Turnover rode winners, which opens it up for a different type of audience. I wish it well we’re betting on it outright, we’re quiet on it and understandably so, but you do need the top jockeys there that’s for sure.”
Noting that many of the ‘top-jockeys’ were not involved in the inaugural event of the series due to the clash with the 2021 Goodwood Festival, Paul Kealy argued that the tournament is too exclusive and ‘not fair’.
“So many trainers and so many horses are just not going to be eligible because they’re not in the teams, they’re not allowed to run. You can’t have this all exclusivity in racing, I don’t get it. Now, the Racing League originally said they wrote to every single trainer, and didn’t get that response.”
He added: “If this is such a success and everybody decides ‘I want to be part of this next year’, the Racing League is going to have to turn around and say ‘no thanks’ to 90% of the trainers in Britain, because they only want a certain number of people, and that’s just wrong.”
Kealey also shared a viewpoint held by racing enthusiast Ed Quigley, who last week expressed his opinion on bettingexpert’s Jump to It that the team-based format of the new league is not suited to horse racing.
Commenting to Orton – who regarded the debut fixture as a ‘soft launch’, Kealey continued: “The team concept quite simply doesn’t work in racing, people aren’t going to jump behind and say I’m behind Team Arena or Team talkSport.
“You’re not going to start wearing t-shirts and caps and all sorts, it will be meaningless to most people. People who bet on horses want to back a winner, you don’t care what colours it is, who owns it – you want it to win when you have a bet.”
Building on Kealey’s remarks Cooney added: “It’s a slow burner, if I was at Newcastle yesterday I wouldn’t be walking out with a Team Arena scarf round my neck.”
Source – Racing Post YouTube Channel