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Jon Hughes
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PASS System, Round 2 …. and Has the Race Course Association Learnt the Lesson?
Dealing with racing administration makes you want to tear out your hair, and drives you to drink. Actually I don’t have any hair to tear out, and as an enthusiastic wine drinker I need little encouragement, but you get the drift. Before moving on to the f...

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“Come Friendly Bombs and Drop on Kempton Park” (amongst other courses), with Apologies to Sir John Betjeman
There’s a super book by Chris Pitt entitled A Long Time Gone, which examines the history of racecourses which have closed down. If you ever enter a pub quiz on the subject it is a must-read: “Which track had the Grand Nationals during the First World War,...

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Let’s Give ITV Racing and the Opening Show a Chance to Demonstrate their Worth
It was certainly a tremendously exciting end to 2016 on the National Hunt scene, not least because of the superb runnings of the Colin Tizzard superstars, Thistlecrack, Cue Card, Native River and then, more recently the highly promising staying youngster, F...

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Yes, It’s Resolutions Season Again for British Racing – Time for the Sport to Kick On
I know it’s a bit hackneyed but it always seems appropriate to reflect on the past year and focus on New Year’s resolutions. Mine are easy: weight down, alcohol down, exercise up. Job done then (same every year). On the horse front, I already know that 2...

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The New PASS System Fails its Tests: British Racing Needs to Learn from these Fiascos
In the last blog I covered the launch of the new PASS system that was introduced at the beginning of November. Without repeating too much detail of that blog, the Privilege Access Swipe System (PASS) card was introduced over 20 years ago by racecourses to ...

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Will the New PASS System Pass the Tests of Ease of Access and Enhancing the Owner Experience?
Regular readers of the blog will know that I have been campaigning over a number of years for radical improvement of the owner experience in terms of the way in which owners collect complimentary badges and enter the racecourse. At times I have been very c...

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Remembrance Sunday and NH Superstars – So Many Poignant Moments at Cheltenham
Remembrance Sunday and NH Superstars – So Many Poignant Moments at Cheltenham The general consensus about the three-day Open meeting at Cheltenham last weekend was that it was a mini-festival in many ways: absolutely terrific racing, with lots of current a...

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Announcements Made on the Simplification of Ownership Administration: Full Marks to BHA and ROA.
Ever since I’ve been involved in owning horses the duplication, complexity, expense and hassle of ownership administration has been a complete pain in the backside. I have often joked that it was probably easier back in the days of Queen Anne. Even the po...

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Tales from the Sales: All Too Often the Cards are Stacked against the Owner. <i>Caveat emptor.</i>
October is such a busy month for trainers, their agents and owners, particularly if they are involved in both Flat and National Hunt. The yearling sales have been through their crescendo in the UK with Tattersalls’ Book 1, involving horses with multi-milli...

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Trainer Effectiveness – Assessing Success AND Sustainability. The Need for Stronger Business Skills
There have been some very interesting developments on the National Hunt training scene in Ireland over the last couple of weeks: one sad and one perplexing. A mid-tier Irish trainer, Colm Murphy, who had sent out a number of excellent winners not least Bra...
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