If the racing industry thinks the daily “moving of the goalposts”, the “concepts” not followed through, the sinister overtones and undertones and Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes surrounding the surreal chain of topsy-turvy events of untouchables and how power corrupts and draws lines in the sand involving Peter Moody, the trainer of the great Black Caviar, means that what happens in Australia stays in Australia, it is going to wake up with a massive hangover.
The Moody Blues is traveling through Days Of Future Passed at break neck speed down Highway 61 with nothing cloaked in white satins, everyone concerned riding a seesaw and, again, Dylan singing how nobody’s right when everybody’s wrong. Retreading familiar ground with shifting, sifting sands underfoot is for racing writers and social media forums where, like assholes, everybody has an opinion.
From the outside looking in, what exists is a great divide- a chasm- and a spillover effect into how the sport is viewed, whether one can reverse the pain it’s going through, if this might tarnish the legacy of Black Caviar, and how a house is not a home if there’s no one living there.
The whole sad episode- and it has been and continues to be one long drawn out dark corridor leading to convoluted plots and subplots of almost Hitchcockian proportions where us, the audience, is Jimmy Stewart watching through his Rear Window, but unable to do anything because we cannot move.
The more this plot thickens and unravels with other subplots happening somewhere else South of the border down Mexico Way with loose ends flip flapping and yet to be tied together, the image of the sport is not just being bashed, it’s being pummelled, kicked in the groin, and with everyone so intent on showing they have bigger balls than the next person, all one sees is a weird melange of penis envy, The Wild Bunch, Monty Python, Criminal Minds, Keyser Soze lurking in the background, and no one knowing- or caring- who’s wearing the white hats. Maybe no one is- and here lies the problem.
Like Icarus, horse racing has been flying too close to the sun for too long. Its wings have been burnt before, but it’s been able to glue them back and get back on track. Tenuously.
The “Moody Blues” exposes far more about an industry that’s always been under the microscope and relegated to being the black sheep and Rodney Dangerfield of sports.
The Feel Good stories are few and far between and, for those who are constantly looking for something positive to say or to write, they keep coming up short. A constant barrage of negativity keeps dragging down an exciting and often enthralling sport with so much to give. And, for this to change, horse racing must stop making an arse of itself, must stop being its own worst enemy with few outside friends, and face some home truths about the quality of the very people who are meant to make the sport rattle and hum, but who are, well incapable for the simple reason that many are one dimensional, they are arrogant, they are ignorant, they are geographically challenged, and, despite all the ying yanging about- here comes the mantra again along with the rain- “engaging the new and next generation of racing fan”- they are piss poor at doing this.
Horse racing has only one CEO in a racing club who truly gets it and supports those he intuitively knows and understands that, for all their weirdness and occasional decisions to swim against the current to, like that chicken, get to the other side, they deliver. They just want to feel loved. But when baggage weighs these people down, they either bail or they bite back.
For myself, for example, there are no heroes in horse racing. Being in awe of jockeys ended almost thirty years ago. There are a handful of riders who are acquaintances, but- and, one supposes it’s how they have been brought up and when money creeps up overnight and corrupts- there’s a laughable sense of entitlement where there shouldn’t be any. These are not rock stars. These are not Prince or Tom Cruise or other famous short people. These are athletes who happen to ride horses- and way too often need to come down off their own high horses, smell the dim sum, and be great ambassadors for the sport that’s given them a career instead of being spoilt overnight legends in their own lunchtime surrounded by sycophants while the gravy train is still running on time. Same goes for racing executives, who often look down that blinkered, myopic path and fail miserably at being great ambassadors for a sport that desperately needs worldly diplomats to spread the gospel to those millions of heathens- those non-believers in this Sport of Kings, who are saying, Convince me- all those non-believers with a buffet of choices as to how and where and with whom to spend their time and money. This includes advertisers and sponsors- two very different support groups for the sport, by the way- and who wish to reach specific consumer bases, and with their very own wants and needs and business KPIs to meet.
Even in this area, horse racing falls short as those marketing the sport ride off half-cocked, whooping it up with a mighty “Yahoo!” but shooting blanks at all those moving targets asking that same question: Convince me. Convince me why I should play in the same sandbox where I keep reading about cheats, lies, spies, and another game of thrones played on a warped and uneven playing field?
The Peter Moody case is much more than about the Peter Moody case. It’s about the image and perception of horse racing at the bottom innings of 2015. It’s about whether to drink from that half empty glass as usual or switch to that half full glass. It’s how the racing industry is seen by other industries that might wish to be its partner on a global scale, and are saying, Convince Me.
Where there’s no trust, there’s only mistrust, and horse racing has trust issues. And it has enemies outside of that square peg. This is where The Art Of War comes into play and where, what should be a thriving industry, where one is only as strong as its weakest link, needs to come together as one, set aside petty jealousies, vindictiveness and arrogance and ignorance and put forward a bold front without the various masks and the night of the long knives? But can it? And will it allow itself to morph into everything it is not today, but can be tomorrow- and leave behind those Days Of Future Past?
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc, Fast Track Global Ltd