Dual-purpose trainer Alan King: Sunday night racing is an “appalling” idea ahead of new fixture trial at Wolverhampton (Picture: Edward Whitaker (Racing Post).
Alan King has spoken out ahead of the debut of Sunday night racing at Wolverhampton this weekend.
The card kicks off at 5.30pm at Wolverhampton and rounds off at 8.30pm, the latest a card has ever taken place on a Sunday in the UK, and is the first of six Sunday all-weather cards between this weekend and March 10 as the British Horseracing Authority trials something new.
Exclusive interview with trainer Alan King: Sunday racing is an “appalling” idea ahead of new night fixture trial at Wolverhampton
Dual purpose trainer Alan King has hit out at the new Sunday night fixtures ahead of its debut at Wolverhampton this weekend, with racing taking place between 5.30pm and 8.30pm
The seven-race Wolverhampton card has been popular however, attracting 203 entries with £145,000 in prize money up for grabs across the card
King says he feels sorry for the tracks that have had successful Saturday meetings now moved to Sundays instead
The trainer adds he doesn’t enjoy training as much as he used to as he finds it “relentless” and revealed he is cutting back his training operation
Sunday night racing is an appalling idea
I can be selective. I have very few runners on a Sunday and I will continue to try not to. Why do we have to be racing on a Sunday night though? I think it is appalling.
I think we will have to see how the new fixture list impacts. I feel sorry for the tracks that have done well on a Saturday afternoon getting big crowds in and they are going to have the races moved.
Horse racing is relentless – I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to
I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to! It is relentless. Look back at say Fred Winter’s day. There was no summer jumping, no evening racing, no Sunday racing. It was a very nice way of life.
When Sunday racing was first mooted we weren’t going to race on Mondays. But that didn’t happen. The product is getting more and more diluted.
The fixture list is too big. I have been saying for some time, there is far too much racing.
The Gambling Commission are clueless with affordability checks – more and more will turn to the black market
I don’t know where they are coming from. The Gambling Commission just doesn’t understand. They are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Most of the problem gamblers to my mind are the guys on slot machines and casinos, going in with a credit card.You can’t win on those machines.
I don’t see what right they have to ask for this sort of information. It is worrying. If they don’t back down, more and more gambling will go on to the black market and no-one wants that and no-one wins from that. Even the Government would lose a huge amount of income and racing would be in a serious state.
I am cutting back on my operation – a few smaller trainers might get squeezed out soon
One or two smaller trainers will get squeezed. I am well down on numbers, probably 25 jumpers fewer than last year. Mainly because in the last 18 months five or six really good owners have died and they have not been replaced. Plus I have several other owners who are in their 80s.
We are going to cut back. I have given notice on our second yard Sharpridge so I won’t be training from there next year. I shall be training 90 horses from Barbury and I have to look to get the quality up as well.
I can’t get into the position where Sharpridge is only half full and get it back to a number I enjoy. That would be tough financially and I am pre-empting that. I am 57 this year.
We need to keep prize money up as we can’t keep losing horses to the Middle East and Australia
The Gambling Commission is a huge worry if it goes the wrong way. It’s a pity because prize money has been going up quite substantially.
There is certainly not the gulf there was between England and Ireland now. It is closing all the time and it would be a great shame if they suddenly knock us back.
We need to keep trying to get prize money up because we can’t afford to keep losing these Group 3 horses disappearing to the Middle East or Australia. That is hurting.
Let’s hope there is a solution but anything to do with the Government and the Gambling Commission doesn’t fill you with a lot of confidence.
The UK will eventually reign in Ireland’s dominance of jumps racing
We will match Ireland. Even some of their Graded races are worth less than ours. The big issue, for instance from talking with Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson the other day, is getting their good novice chasers started is almost impossible because there aren’t any races.
The sport has to be careful. You’ve got to bring these young horses through. They are saying the fields are too small.
I started following racing in the mid 1970s, good novice chases never had big fields. Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter as trainers with only four or five runners. That is where you made your future champions. Young horses need to be taught to do their job.
The Qatari’s are going to be huge players in the future of horse racing
Cheveley Park and David Thompson, Sheik Hamdan Abdullah and Sheika Hissa, his daughter, are still keen but on a much smaller scale. Juddmonte is still buying as well. They seem to be very keen. They were never the size of Godolphin but it was a larger operation but they were very focussed on quality.
Nothing lasts forever. As a kid there was Nelson Bunker Hunt, who was huge, who tried to corner the silver market and went down. Robert Sangster in his pomp was huge as well.
There will be new ones – I think the Qataris are going to be huge.