"THE HARNESS WHEEL--HOW MANY SPOKES".. Posted by Golden Age.
Harness participants and harness punters are told, on a daily basis, by industry fueled outlets such as dedicated websites either commercial or administrative, that harness racing in Australia generally, and currently Queensland in particular, is a thriving sport. Why then is the base of the pyramid eroding. Why the continuing exodus of the "hobbyist" in the face of all this prosperity. Sadly, at this point the focus is firmly fixed on the policy of directing more and more of the available dollars to to the best horses, (a lesser part of the horse pool)to the detriment of the not so talented animals.( by far the majority). When the hobbyist begins to wonder whether feeding, training and housing a horse, to have it's brains kicked in by better horses week in and week out as the current format and rules allow, (no re-handicap for winners who are drawn in published fields,so can meet the same field from original mark. Last start winners can stay in same class bracket due to condition changes in program at next nomination) he soon decides that their are other avenues for his or her disposable income, and quits the game. Generally he or she does not become an unpaid ambassador for harness, more likely the opposite..
The harsh truth is that harness needs many more owners. These can fall into three categories. OWNERS, OWNER/TRAINERS, and OWNER TRAINER DRIVERS. Importantly, these three groups bring essential money into the game. With this money, they quite reasonably bring expectations of winning races with their horses, or, through place money, defray some of the ongoing costs of racing a harness horse. If we are to attract more owners,much more earning opportunity must be provided for the horse of moderate ability, and it must be provided constantly, if ownership of a harness horse is to be promoted as an attractive proposition.
COMMENT PLEASE AS THE HARNESS SITUATION IS A MANY FACTORED PROBLEM,AND, LIKE ALL PROBLEMS, MUST BE FACED IN A RATIONAL MANNER AND A RESULT FAIR TO ALL PARTICIPANTS BE THE OUTCOME. G.A.