Petty Charges in English Racing, Daily Racing Form, 1914-02-12


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PETTY CHARGES IN ENGLISH RACING. Racing in England is an expensive pastime and burdened with many exactions unknown io owners in this country. Giving an insight to some phases of the case Augur" recently said in Loudon Sporting Life: There is a very interesting and well-reasoned article, by An Owner. on the subject of the ex-renses of racing in the February Hadmintoii. and .villi the views expressed i am mainly in agreement. The .chief couilii:it put -forward by the. jiathor has reference to the inumerabie fees exacted by executives on behalf of certain of their ollicials. For instance, the Clerk of the Course receives 2s. Oil. tf.0 ceiitsi for every entry made, the Clerk of the Scales takes 1s. id. for every runner, and the Slakiiiolder is entitled to one per cent, of the stakes from owners. "Can there be any possible justi-lication for this: inquires the writer of the article in question, and "Why should not charges be male for the services of the judge, the starter, the secretary, and the police force engaged V It would be just as fair." These remarks are ehietly directed against the principal race companies, who. while they earn good dividends, are in the happy pesition of having certain of their otiiciaPs fees paid by owners. If the operations of the companies were barely profitable, there would not lie so much of a grievance, bill where large dividends are earned a little readjustment wouid be advantageous. Then the writer gees on to mention Kpsom and Poncaster, and while he thinks that it would only lie fair, considering the huge prolits accruing from racing at these places, that more should lie done for racing by these companies, is of the opinion that at all events, thev should certainlv pay their own olii-ciils. "Thai a good deal of irritation is caused by the system of charging iminiernblo fees, however small they may be, was brought home to me in the course of mm-" than one conversation 1 had last year with a well-known owner-trainer, who hail hitherto raced in South Africa, where entry fees, as I understand them, cover every tiling, except, of course, travelling and riding expenses. Things are different lure, it is true, in that as a rule, owners I again quote from the Uadminton article are a fairly well-to-do dass. but nor infrequently they are rather unbusinesslike, and not given to analysing very deeply the financial aspect of their hobby. Therein, I think, lies the crux of the situation, and it is only the little man who kicks against the ever-gathering volume of expense with which he is faced in the pursuit of horse-r.icing, I hardly agree altogether, however, with the writer when lie remarks: I am perfectly aware that the little man for various reasons, is not altogether welcome. It may have been so up lo a decade or two ago, but one has only to look round aliout one nowadays to see that practically everyone is welcome who plays the game in the true siurit. "Our owner points out that his slud consists as a rule of eight to twelve horses. If lie makes, say, o0 entries during the season, he is taxed .flST-oO in Clerk of the Course fees, while if one-third of these engagements are met, there is a further taxation of ?KI.;io. If he has the good fortune to win .?.",000 in stakes, he has to fork out another $.10 for Stakeholders fees, making ?:KlO in all, while ir, of course, he does not win a race at all, he is taxed fSU."0 i substantial increase upon his already heavy expenditure. The suggestion is made that now that racing at Newmarket is probably more profitable than was the case twenty years ago, the Jockey Cl.ib could afford to abandon the charges complained of, and so set an example to other meetings, which would, no doubt, be generally followed. Where, however, such charges were vital to the existence of a meeting, there could be no objection to their continuance. I5ut what seems to me to be ludicrous is that owners providers of the entertainment should be lleeced by wealthy companies. Certain companies, to iny own knowledge, have abolished the system of exacting fees, but it would be better, of course, if there were uniformity in the matter, add it is not too much to hope that before many seasons elapse the management of racing business will lie placed on a more up-to-date footing in this respect."

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