I am delighted to introduce Scottish Racing’s Review, where we take a look back on our work over the past two years and review the state of the horseracing industry in Scotland
Racing has its highs and lows, and this has been no more apparent than in Scottish racing. On the back of 2017’s success in the Grand National and the Ebor, 2018 saw the Racehorse Owners’ Association award nearly all the Scottish courses with their Gold Standard, and Hamilton Park was rightly crowned Champion Racecourse by the Racecourse Association; the first time a Scottish course has won the award. A particular highlight was seeing Catch Bissett, from Nick Alexander’s yard, being crowned Employee of the Year at the 2019 Godolphin Stud and Stable Awards, with a total of four nominees from Scotland – an excellent achievement.
However, we have also faced tribulations with the Beast from the East and equine flu, which had an obvious impact on attendances and the number of races run.
Scottish Racing continues to play a key role within the British racing industry and informs and engages both the racegoing public, stakeholders and parliamentarians through a variety of channels, events and projects. We are now seeing the benefits of the racecourses’ investment in prize money, fixtures and infrastructure, with attendances having risen by over a fifth, and runners having expanded by over a quarter, in the last twenty years.
Scottish Racing has also increased community engagement activity which reflects the value that diverse charitable groups place on the racing industry’s ability to reach a wide demographic, and we very much recognise how much racing can give back to local and national communities 2018 saw us develop our partnership with William Hill, so that all Scottish courses will have their betting shops, enabling us to enhance our customer experience on the courses.
We were delighted to receive support from the Racing Foundation to research and review Scotland’s education and training provision, and work is in progress to create a charitable organisation to address the current gap in the recruitment and retention of stable staff in Scotland.
I hope you enjoy reading our Review and I look forward to welcoming you to a Scottish racecourse soon.
Sir Ian Good