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Fakenham: where we stand, where we're going; LETTERS.

I REFER to the unfortunate incident (November 20) where a jockey took the wrong course at Fakenham. Steve Dennis was most critical in his article (November 22), to which I now respond: vvWhat can we do about reducing the incidence of jockey course errors? First, we will revisit any recorded incidents concerning the taking of the wrong course over the years and work closely with the BHA and other interested parties to once again see what we can do to reduce the occurrence.

We next race on December 10 and I hope we will have something in place by then.

However, it is essential that a jockey knows which circuit he/she is on in order to ride the last circuit to give the horse the best chance of winning or being placed. It is no good for them to wait until they see the last fence dolled off; it would be too late!

vvSteve comments: "Fakenham is one of those bucolic huntin', shootin' and fishing racecourses."

I am not sure if this is supposed to be factual or derogatory. If factual, then I suggest he comes and sees us and then he will have a better idea of what drives our business. If his comments are derogatory I will not take offence at being called rustic, if that is what he means.

vv"Someone left a fence paddle on a fence."

The comments [clerk of the course]David Hunter made were not to place the burden of blame on someone else. He explained to the stewards what went wrong; that it should never have happened; that the attendants had been briefed; that they were experienced casual staff, and apologised. That is taking responsibility. Future raceday briefings will emphasise the importance of 'fence kit' being put away.

vv"There are no poverty-stricken racecourses now that the flood of media rights money is washing into their coffers." This is too big a subject to cover in a few lines, but it is no secret that Fakenham's media rights income is essential to our business plan. It is this arrangement that allows us to keep our prize-money up and balance our books, and long may it continue.

VVFINALLY, Steve, you can have the job that you volunteered for.

We will provide the fence equipment and pen and paper; come and write your column as my guest. Please have a day with us bucolic huntin', shootin' and fishin' types with an egalitarian ethos to jump racing. You may be surprised at what you find!

I look forward to meeting you and also resolving the matter that is under review with the relevant parties.

David Lyles Chairman, Fakenham
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2012
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