Cheltenham exec guilty too in Cross Country fiasco

Sitting round the table at a management meeting at Cheltenham you will find, arguably,  the most experienced racecourse executives in the country.

Even if today was the first running of the Cross Country Chase they’d be liable to take a fair bit of the blame.  The fact that they’ve staged plenty such races should mean that by now, course layout, dolling off, signage and jockey briefings should be as close to perfect as you can get.

CH4 reported that Ruby and AP avoid these races because of the risk of bans for just what happened today and that should be another spike in the boardroom chairs reminding the exec of their responsibilities. A scattering of inexperienced jockeys riding a long way on a complex layout is as potent a recipe for racing-disaster as you’ll find.

I’ve no doubt there will be changes for the Festival though that might be too late to pull back together the shredded reputation of these events. Ed Gillespie is a standout figure in racing, not least because he’s one of the few who’s willing to admit blame when things go wrong at his track. He should, I think, put his hands up and take at least half the blame for today’s balls-up.

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