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Racing's resilience

By racing editor Pesco Greko

Posted April 29, 2012
horse racing in focus plus bets on atom bomb attack
Dead cert: One of these horses will probably win. (Check bottom for credits)

The sport of kings has so far remained largely immune to the onslaught of commercialisation even if you can buy Frankie Dettori's frozen pizzas in Tesco's.

When I watch flat racing now, I marvel that it hasn't been entirely swamped by the mean corporate beast.

The reason it hasn't is it only regularly engages 10% of the British population.

And 10% isn't quite enough to spur corporations on to screw with it like they have with football or cricket, for example.

Horse racing is, at the moment anyway, relatively safe from Sky; and racecourse attendance hasn't yet been decimated by the high street bookie and the internet.

Admittedly, the old hands in the game still talk about the days before Arab money, while the internet exchanges have changed the character of the betting jungle.

But so far the rough edges of betting and racing haven't been entirely swept away like dirt as they have in the poker world.

They talk about cockroaches surviving a nuclear holocaust but I'd throw in the old fashioned rails bookmaker as an equally meritorious possibility.

Bookmakers are like jewellers and bakers.

They've been around too long for anything to f--k them over now.

Despite the ever increasing internet invasion, the same thing goes for cash and books.

They're all too resilient to change and disaster.

I like to think of a punter who, having survived an atom bomb, is scrabbling through the charred rubble trying to find his bookmaker, a betting slip waving in his hand.

On it the words: "Atomic attack before 2020: 5,000/1".

Picture credits

Top and thumbnail: Original image by Toursim NT ; rejigged by Ignatius Rake.

For licensing information click the above link.

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