Racing celebrates a real win for McCoy; RESULT!
THE fear after the heart-warming triumph of Tony McCoy in the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award is that racing has shot itself in the hoof.
Racing mounted a concerted campaign to get McCoy over the line.
Races were named after him - the same thing happened to my uncle Egon Spoon - and you couldn't go to a racetrack over the last few weeks without seeing a 'vote McCoy' stunt or without a tie on. Even crisps were named after him.
But the worry in racing's corridors of power yesterday was that such stage-management will turn off the very people it is supposed to attract, just as I regularly do.
Please forgive me for raining on the parade but I do have a history of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Only yesterday, for instance, while helping out at the local soup kitchen I mistakenly blurted out: "For goodness sake hurry up, some of us have homes to go to."
Racing reckoned a McCoy triumph in the BBC vote would convert non-believers.
But there is a danger that all those people who give racing a wide berth because of the faintest whiff of fixed results will say that what they witnessed on Sunday night amounted pretty much to a fixed result. There were no 'vote Hoy' campaigns when Chris Hoy won, they say. No 'vote Calzaghe' persuasion when Joe Calzaghe won; and no rhyme or reason when Greg Rusedski won.
If McCoy is such a deserving recipient, they ask, why the need for a campaign?
But what they fail to recognise is that McCoy's victory - 14 years after Frankie Dettori missed out despite his epic Magnificent Seven achievement - is a sign that racing is getting its act together.
The sport has so many warring factions that it's hugely encouraging to see that when it acts as one voice it has the power to move the nation.
Racing was yesterday celebrating the real McCoy - and, despite what the critics say, it should also celebrate a very real victory.
RACING CERT Tony McCoy