SENIOR Jockey Club management staff can be forgiven if all they want to do with their television set at the moment is hurl the remote control at it. They face the imminent and, as far as they are concerned, the most unwanted arrival of racing from Macau on the screens - something they could surely have avoided with one neat paragraph in a contract. What's more they've had to perform an embarrassing volte-face in their conceptual approach to English language programming. Those who set the new parameters, within which the Jockey Club's version of the Racing Night Live programme was to operate, made a glaring oversight. They simply overlooked the fact that the overwhelming majority of viewers of Racing Night Live are Chinese and are using the Nicam system. The tote board and the horses may not be exhilarating television, but they can be followed in two languages and they are what the Chinese viewers like to see. Hence the flood of complaints to both the Jockey Club and ATV and the reversion to the tried and tested format of seasons past - that tote board and those horses in the paddock. As far as Macau is concerned, and as Robin Parke astutely pointed out in this column last week, a simple exclusion clause in the contract between the Jockey Club and ATV, barring ATV from covering other racing without prior Jockey Club consent, would have sufficed. Hopefully, the same person or persons who came up with the ATV blueprint, which lasted all of one week before it was thrown into the bin, did not also negotiate the new contract with ATV. This tale of woe gets worse if senior colleagues among the Chinese press are correct - and in these matters they are usually well informed and scrupulously accurate. When the question of Macau racing on ATV came up for discussion in the press box at Sha Tin on Saturday afternoon, my esteemed colleagues were at pains to pass on that whoever negotiated the Jockey Club contracts with local radio did include clauses preventing them from broadcasting racing from other jurisdictions without Jockey Club consent. So you will not find racing from Macau being broadcast on the same radio channels which also broadcast Hong Kong racing. This is patently not the case as far as the television contracts were concerned. On the subject of racing on television - and staying out of the issue of personalities where I would have an obvious bias having been connected with ATV for the past five seasons and friendly with the guys who now cover the racing on television - what has happened to Race Card, the show which used to review each weekend meeting on ATV world? When the Jockey Club took over the English language programming on television they confidently predicted they could do a much better job than ATV - they could include this and that, they had superior technology and, on top of all this, senior management gave an explicit undertaking that there would be no loss of editorial independence. They stressed they would invite guests on to their show who were independent of the Jockey Club and, anyway, their own presenters would be perfectly free to criticise Club policy or stipendiary stewards decisions, should they see fit. The experience so far suggests this is not the case, as was suspected and stated at the time. There has been a loss of independence, not because of the Jockey Club's presenters and not because guests haven't been invited. The loss of independence goes deeper than that and is objectively evidenced by the lack of a review show. The Jockey Club management now has full responsibility for English language race programming and this at their own insistence. They forced themselves on to ATV and it is facile to attempt to say, 'well ATV could do a review show of their own if they wanted'. That the territory's race fans can no longer review the weekend's racing at their leisure in English is the Jockey Club's responsibility and the Jockey Club's only. This has caused much comment, not just from the man in the street but from the professionals - the trainers, the jockeys and those punters who make a living from the game. Even some senior Jockey Club voting members are known to be vexed. How do I know? Because they've told me. The question then has to be asked, why has the review programme been axed? A very obvious answer is that such a programme would necessitate editorial comment because not too many meetings go by without action, or inaction, from the stipendiary stewards. By axing the review programme, paid Jockey Club television presenters are not put in the position of repeatedly examining the decisions made by paid Jockey Club stipendiary stewards. Or even more contentious in the hands of a Jockey Club employee, they are spared the embarrassment of highlighting rides, for whatever reason, that the stipendiary stewards may have failed to spot. In short, the scrapping of the Race Card programme is the antithesis of editorial independence as well as showing a disregard for the viewers who want an English review show. This may not have been the deliberate intention of the Jockey Club's management staff when they failed to reprogramme Race Card but it is the undeniable effect.