March 15th, 2014


A Bloody Business

My mother was watching the racing from Cheltenham. I heard a kerfuffle, went to see what was up and caught a couple of replays of an incident in which a horse got spooked on its way to the starting line and went crashing into the barrier separating the track from the spectators. Splinters flew, the jockey was thrown, the horse lay wallowing on the ground.

Racing is a blood sport. If the jockey club were a bunch of unwashed peasants keeping ponies in a back field the RSPCA would have had them all in prison ages ago.

Ruby Walsh, the jockey, gave an interview a few days back in which he was silly enough to admit that horses are "expendable". This is entirely true but not what the British public wants to hear- and it inundated him with hate mail and death threats.

"At least it's not as sadistic as bullfighting," says Judy. Agreed. But a damn sight more hypocritical.