Every year, the Melbourne Cup brings those who know nothing about horse racing into the interest of the betting agencies as they have a stake in a horse. Though as a big race gains attention, come out are the haters of Horse Racing in general. Now i am someone in different media; movies, music, sports etc. If you do not like something that i do not like, that is fine as it is all objective. If you do not like Footy, then so be it. If you do not like Horse Racing because it doesn't interest you? So be it, no issues there. The issue i have though when people become justice warriors, saying "I do not condone cheering an animal in sport for fun". Now this bothers me for a few reasons.
Firstly, these horses are born to run. Now not all horses want to at some point, fair enough, but most are born to. I remember my Dad's favourite horse when i was growing up was Lonhro. After his last race, he was paraded around Rosehill, crowd cheering and Lonhro was bowing his head as he walked past. Is that a horse being forced to race? How about his jockey Darren Beadman, used to say all the time he would sit back and coming around the turn his ears would start to prick back, Beadman would constantly pull him back to not go too early as he saw a horse in sight that he wanted to chase down. Then would give him a squeeze at the right time, off he went. Is that a horse being forced to race? Or how about footage i saw once at a provincial race meet, in the distance you can see a stable, there was a horse just lounging around. When the horse left the barrier he started running with them in the distance. Is that a horse being forced to run? Or the famous story of Phar Lap in the Agua Caliente, split his hoof and blood gushed out as he went lame on the straight, but kept going and won despite the jockey trying to putll him up. Is that a horse forced to run? Horses that breakdown, well that can happen just running around in the paddock.
Secondly, these horses are treated like royalty. They have the best vets, facilities, food, vitamins, pools, grass, shelter everything they need they have. Now of course some trainers cannot afford it and do the best they can, but horses are royalty. Had these thoroughbreds been born in the wild their life expectency is way less than in training as a race horse. Now not saying all horses are treated the same, there is a sheer minority that get treated poorly. But overall they are treated well. Also, whipping is a big talking point.
Lastly, It does wonders for the Australian economy. Listen to Peter V'Landys a few years ago, he said simply that Racing NSW makes a lot of money and is needed. Alan Jones was the same too. Now they are promoters of the sports, but it is true. Racing is good for our economy. Now, if something is good for the economy but people or animals are suffering for it then of course it doesn't matter how much money it makes for the state and country. But in the majority it is good for the economy as the horses benefit themselves.
If you do not like horse racing as it is not your thing or simply just do not want to see an animal risk injury? Ok fair, but do not abuse those who enjoy. My dad loved horse racing a little bit more than footy, but he was also an animal lover. He was a meter reader, once he read the meter at a stable around Warwick Farm. As he went in search for a meter and came across a few horses sticking their heads out of their pens. He patted them and mentioned what beautiful creatures they are. It hurt him and myself seeing horses breakdown. It is unfortunate, but as mentioned it can happen just running around in the paddock or they starting acting up in the stables, kick out and shatter their cannon bone.
I love Horse racing, not just due to the betting, but the horses have their personalities. I love watching old races of the likes of Phar Lap, Kingston Town, Lonhro, Sunline, Might and Power, Makybe Diva, Manikato. Just in awe of those horses and the champions of today and just watching them, even benchmark racing from time to time i like watching as a horse could steam home at the end, such a great thing to witness. Even stories my dad would tell of horses like Tails who would carry on when about to be put into the barrier, would be a right pain in the arse. They would leave him alone then all of a sudden just walked into the barrier unassisted. Then would run well also.
Side note a great betting story from my dad, who taught me everything he knows about racing to me, well most of it. He was at Rosehill one day, looking at about mid 80's. His mate and him had a look at bookies for race 5, a horse named 'Imperial Baron' was odds on favourite, like $2.00, not budging. Though the second and third favourite were around $8-10, different bookies had them higher. Anyway, they thought no point he is going to win, save our money for next race. His mate went to get a beer while my dad instead made his way down to where they keep the horses to get them strapped up and that before they run. He loved just looking at them and the process of getting them ready, again he just loved Horse Racing and the analytics behind it. Anyway, he saw Imperial Baron mucking up, kicking around and then his front hoof kick a piece of equipment and starting limping. My dad looked on, as one of the assistants went to get the vet and trainer. After examination the vet said "No, good". So my dad rushed up to his mate and yelled out to put $50 on the second favourite, his mate saying in not such a polite way he is an idiot, but dad said to trust him and do it. Ended up getting the second favourite at $11, as soon as they did that over the speaker announced "Imperial Baron has been scratched". Second favourite went on win and $550 winnings.
Anyway, sorry for long boring story but Horse racing has a place in my heart, i could not watch or bet on it for 2 years after dad died, i used to always ring him for a tip or talk about a race. I remember i was watching at a pub with my mate one day and i didn't know what to look at for the day as i had been out of it for a while, and i legit picked up my phone to ring my dad, still had has number and was about to press call. That is how engrained it is on me. I love it and it's uniqueness.