We have another good horse on our hands, perhaps a great one, in Sprinter Sacre. He runs fast, jumps well and looks good. Racing For Change will be seeking ways to make the best of him and his promise. Unlike Frankel, we know that, barring injury, Sprinter Sacre will be around for a few years, which is a further bonus.
But how do you get across to a non-racing person just how exciting a horse is? That is always the problem. People have no current context to place Frankel or Sprinter Sacre in.
It’s fine for us to cry brilliance and speed and but even we, the experts, would be hard pushed to just look at a horse or a race outside of the context we are used to. Think about this: you lose your memory and spend some time in hospital. One sunny day you wake up and see a race on TV, a dozen horses galloping round Tattenham Corner. Fairgrounds and cheering crowds are in the background but the sound is turned down.
Would you be willing to bet you are watching The Derby? Could it be a class 3 handicap? A selling plate?
Horses running fast mean little to non-racing folk. With football, everybody can applaud a wonderful goal; they know how difficult it is to score one, even if they’ve never played the game.
So how do we convey the brilliance of good horses? How about circulating a nice colour graphic to the media showing Red Rum only halfway along the Grand National run-in while Sprinter Sacre is passing the post? “When Red Rum was the same age as Sprinter Sacre, this is how far behind he would have been.”
You needn’t go in to ratings, or different trips to complicate matters. To many, Red Rum was the greatest horse of all time: full stop. Racing should use that perception to help the public give some context and to whet appetites for coming along to see ‘The horse who would have hammered Red Rum”