The last two weekends have been blighted by deplorable, unsavoury scenes at two of the countries leading racecourses, namely Goodwood and Ascot, where the violence on show far surpasses the level of brutality often displayed inside a UFC ring.
Please don’t miss-understand me, I do not jest, as this is a serious matter that requires strong and immediate action in order to stop behaviour of this nature becoming the ‘norm’ on British racecourses.
However, whilst I by no means condone or accept the appalling behaviour experienced over the last fortnight, I do think that it would be foolish to merely condemn the sport of Horse Racing when scenes like these sadly happen all to often in modern day society. Take, for example, the first leg of the Champions League semi-final tie between Liverpool and Roma at Anfield last month, where one fan suffered life-threatening injuries following pre-match supporter clashes.
Naturally, much has been spoken about the amount of alcohol consumed on racecourses, with many eye-witnesses recounting stories of drunken men becoming foul and abusive in the build-up to these unfortunate incidents.
I have always been of the opinion that people can enjoy a drink and racing together, and that the majority should not be punished for those actions of the few. That said, clearly something must be done to stop those who have had one too many from instigating anti-social behaviour and casting a dark shadow over the sport of British Horse Racing. And, it goes without saying, time is of the essence.
With more people attending Saturday fixtures, clearly a far greater security presence is now required, and, with due respect, a higher level of training provided to those stewards whose job it is to ensure that situations of this nature are dealt with swiftly and sufficiently.
There are many big meetings on the horizon and the sport simply cannot allow itself to be dragged down by those individuals who prioritise anti-social behaviour over the health, safety and enjoyment of other racegoers.
Sadly, this is just the latest phenomenon to hit British Racing, following on from the ‘keyboard warriors’ who use social media as a modern day playground to abuse and hound both those within the sport and genuine racing enthusiasts alike.
While the methodology may be different, the end result remains the same, and more has to be done to quash the minority who may discourage people from visiting a racecourse or joining in and sharing their views on various social platforms.
Make no mistake, those who hide behind comical names and ‘punchy’ taglines can do just as much damage as a punch or a kick. Hopefully the powers that be can resolve these issues before irreparable damage is done.