My harness racing mad mate and i , jumped into the car the other night and headed for the track, to catch up on some live harness racing. All excited that we was going to make a killing and fill our pockets, as we each had a few sure things! As we arrived at the track, parking was not a problem as the car park was, well you could say empty, i will not be that hard, but only a hand full of cars, "your sure there on ?" i asked. We head to the gate and paid our $7 and purchased a race book and walked to the main grandstand. We both had planned to have a great night of punting and catch up with a few of the regular punters, share a joke and a drink and have a great night out!
To our surprise, as we walked into the grandstand, there was hardly any one there ! I said 'what have we done to this great sport ? " the atmosphere was gone, no excitement, no bookmakers, it was dead !
We both looked at each other and started to talking about the days when the race track was full, of punters, trainers, owners, family's and the fans off harness racing, what has gone wrong ?
We both struggled with our bets, had a few drinks, went for a walk down to the paddock, in the end we called it a night and left the track before the meeting was over, all in all it was a boring night at the track.
So when i got home, i started to write down a few things that i believe, has made the race track a lonely place.
Firstly it was Sunday night, this does not work if you want the track to come alive again, need to find away around this .
Secondly, the action is to far away, who ever was the bright spark that decided to put a harness race track on the inside of gallops tracks needs their head examined, plus after the race the winner and place getter's don't come in front of the grandstand, just straight off the track and back to the barn.
Thirdly, where are the club officials, not one committee member any where to be seen, they should be walking about and make sure the fans are having a great time. Even buy then a drink or take then down to meet a top trainer or driver.
Fourthly, there is nothing to do between races, this is one area where clubs can take advantage of the situation, drivers interviews, meet the horses, video replays, iphone apps, poker, ladies clubs, even turn one bar into a entertainment area with live music.
I could go on and on, like a broken record, i don't want to sound like I'm bagging the industry out, there has been some great work done by many people, but if some states don't start to do something, and just sit back and rely on turn over, they will die, and I'm sorry but my home state will be one of then.