I EARNESTLY hope that, like a Paul Carberry-ridden winner, many of you are waiting until the last possible moment to submit your entry for the very valuable Godolphin-sponsored stud and stable staff competition. The deadline is 5pm on Monday.

It came as something of a shock to be honest when news filtered through this week that the entry numbers to now have been somewhat disappointing. I hope that the truth is different, and that when the final tally is made there is a significant number submitted. After all, much is spoken about the value of the people who work in racing stables, on stud farms, and in many of the support areas.

Now there is a chance for employers to back those words up with deeds, and to show their staff how much they care. Words are fine and dandy, but more than €60,000 in prizes speaks even louder. Don’t forget too that colleagues, family members and friends can also submit an entry.

The important thing is to go now and do it. The website is itiea.org and you can find out some more on page seven of this issue.

In a week when we welcome a new sponsor for the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, the Bahrain Turf Club who signed a six-year deal with Leopardstown and Horse Racing Ireland, we have an urgent and real challenge on our hands, to keep pony racing going.

The immediate need is to raise €40,000 to pay for insurance. Yes, you read that correctly, I didn’t add on an extra zero.

White knight

In an ideal world a white knight would come to the rescue, but in reality is that likely to happen? Who knows? Look at the long, and distinguished, list of riders who have emerged from the pony racing ranks, and many owners and trainers owe a debt of gratitude to the sector for big race winners.

In addition, many riders themselves owe pony racing an incalculable debt for getting them started. I hope they will dig deep and show their appreciation. The work that is and has been carried out by volunteers in pony racing could never have a value put on it, but wouldn’t it be something else if we all rally now and take them out of their misery?

You can donate on their Gofundme page, details of which are on page four, or give items for their proposed auction. In any case, please do something to help.