IT seems a world away from the emptiness of the last two years to see a packed Fairyhouse stand and then Olé Olé Olé being sung with gusto in the stands before the Irish Grand National on Monday.
It generated a bit of debate on whether this ‘volume’ was welcome, simply a younger attendance enjoying the day or if it might be vaguely threatening to other racegoers, to have a large group singing loudly while also drinking.
Irish racing has generally not fallen foul of the aggressive behaviour, often accelerated by too much alcohol and drugs, which seem to have taken a grip of summer racing in Britain.
Generally speaking, what appeals someone in their 20s and those 30 years older are poles apart. I never really got the sniping at lads not visibly wearing socks – it’s just the fashion. Have 20-year-olds and 50-year-olds ever been seen in the same attire?
What did seem worth noting from the weekend is that horse injuries or deaths in action do not always register too high or cast a shadow on proceedings to those enjoying themselves on the track.
The fatal fall of Blackbow at the last earlier on Monday was not nice to see but, while we remain so much on the defensive over horse deaths in action, it seemed safe to say that it did not engage too much with those on track.
We should perhaps note, after all the focus on the two deaths in the Grand National and calls for more changes, that on this evidence, it doesn’t appear to lessen the attraction or put off a new younger audience. It did not seem to put the dampner at the racetrack that it briefly did to those watching at home and who commented on social media.
A huge amount of the summer racing attendances are only partially engaged in the racing.