HAPPY New Year to you, your family and friends. It has been a year like no other for most, but we can now hopefully look forward to better times, especially with the expectation that vaccines will be fully rolled out in the coming months.
Before that happens, we are going to face plenty of challenges, and maybe some unexpected bumps on the road. However, if the past year has taught us anything, it is by working together that we can overcome all obstacles. There is strength in unity – divided we will fail.
Unfortunately we are being bombarded on all sides by bad news, negativity and a growing hostility, especially on social media, none of which helps. Instead of embracing and celebrating success, there is always those who try to undermine everything.
So, as we start a new year, a fresh chapter in our lives, perhaps we can all consider taking some time out this weekend to distance ourselves from the people who only look for negative headlines that serve to tarnish our sport and business.
I am acutely aware that there is a growing narrative surrounding the issue of drugs in racing. I am not naïve and understand that this has been a problem, not only in Ireland but on a global scale. It continues to be a priority for racing authorities.
However, I cannot let claims that Irish racing is somehow not being rigorous about testing go unchallenged. Where is that evidence? When leading sports writers suggest that the levels of success Irish horses have enjoyed globally is down to not competing on a level playing pitch, I have to ask again – where is the evidence? On what are they basing these claims?
No matter what area of life one is involved, there will always be cheats. Any business, sport or other activity that allows them to operate without sanction will ultimately face ruin. Racing is not immune, but it is, to my mind, doing its best to make sure that these rogues are weeded out. The authorities must be supported in their efforts to keep the sport clean.
Saying that drugs are the biggest problem in Irish racing, and failing to provide evidence to support this claim, is disingenuous. Not only that, but the world of social media, which answers to no one, then allows such conjecture to be taken as fact. The damage done is hard to repair, and our sport is debased. We must guard against this at all costs.