Biased C+3 course tarnishes reputation

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 March, 2010, 12:00am

After last week's 'lead and laugh' C+3 meeting at Happy Valley, perhaps it's time the Jockey Club bit the bullet, took a leaf out of the greyhound racing booklet and simply cut the field sizes for those meetings by half and run them more often.

What the hell - throw coloured rugs on them, too, while we're at it.

Twelve runners on the C+3 seems way out of kilter with the requirements of the layout and, in the end, all punters really want is to be on the horses which find the rails.

That should be so much easier with the field cut in half and it removes confusion about what might occur when the 'obvious leader' in a field has the annoyance of having drawn wider than gate six.

Any argument that the C+3 is unattractive to punters falls down in the booming turnover figures - most Hong Kong punters like situations where they can trim the field down and simply put a line through half of the runners and the C+3 apparently fills that bill.

Sure, one runner drawn out wins every now and then - mildly irritating to the public - but with six runners that wouldn't be such a problem.

Seriously, though, the tragedy of the reinstatement of full-scale C+3 meetings is that Happy Valley has ridden so well in all other rail positions this season.

All of the most experienced riders have commented on it - the A, B and C tracks have allowed jockeys to ride proper races - but the same jockeys have also been unanimous in their condemnation of the C+3, which demands that horses are ridden more like motorbikes than animals.

In a jurisdiction bent on promoting the excellence of its racing product, find the front and win is not an acceptable shop window in which to present that claim.