I HAVE, on more than the odd occasion, taken to print to express disappointment with our national broadcaster when it comes to their coverage of racing, especially when they have glossed over major international success.
I believe it is correct to call them out when this happens, but it is also important to be balanced, and to offer praise when it is deserved. To this end, well done RTÉ Television for the decision to broadcast three additional Nations Cups live this summer.
The broadcaster already covers the Dublin Horse Show and the Aga Khan Trophy, our Nations Cup of Ireland.
Ireland will have three other point-scoring opportunities in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup, Europe Division 1 series, and armchair fans will have a chance to see the action live from Sopot in Poland, Rotterdam in The Netherlands, and at Hickstead in late July. Our moment of reckoning will, appropriately, come with home advantage at the Dublin Horse Show.
The move to primetime coverage for showjumping has been a work in progress for some years, and given the pre-eminence of our riders for many years, it is time that the sport got due recognition. During the pandemic the HSI Masters was covered, but competitions of that standard were few and far between. Hopefully this new round of coverage will increase awareness of our successful international riders who, week after week, enjoy global wins.
At the end of last month Ireland was responsible for almost one in five of the Top-50 riders in the world, with Conor Swail in a lofty fifth position. Our nine riders in this group lead France (7), Belgium (6), Germany (5) and Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the USA with three each. That’s the definition of success.
This paper encourages comment from readers, and we are more than happy to accommodate letters to the editor, once they are verifiable and not libellous. A notable percentage of letters we receive are anonymous, or the author wishes us not to publish their name. Our policy on letters is that we must have a name and general address attached.
This week I received a plea for the racing powers to provide one race per card for trainers who have had few winners. The writer offered no clue as to their identity, signing the letter as ‘a very concerned racehorse trainer’. Given the passion of the valid points it makes, it is a pity that the writer feels in some way intimidated and cannot put their name to it. Perhaps they would like to contact me directly.