Maktoum man questions Race Day plan

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The Independent Online
Criticism of plans for a European version of America's Breeders' Cup came last night from a leading adviser to the powerful Maktoum family.

Michael Goodbody, stud manager to Maktoum al Maktoum, said a European Race Day could never match the prestige of the Breeders' Cup.

Goodbody, speaking at the Gimcrack Dinner on behalf of the Sheikh (whose Royal Applause won this year's Gimcrack Stakes at York), also called for a breeders' representative on the British Horseracing Board and an increase in prize money. But he stressed that his comments on issues which he personally wanted to raise were "not necessarily the views of the Maktoum family".

He described the Race Day, planned for September 1997, as "a wonderful concept" but questioned its imposition on an already busy pattern race programme. "It is hard enough for the racing authorities and racecourse management to encourage the public to attend racing," Goodbody warned.

"One only has to look at the attendance on the Saturday Prix de l'Arc weekend in Paris or the Festival racing day at Ascot, where both meetings have top class racing, to see that the addition of a European Race Day would certainly have a negative effect on both these top class day's racing in Europe.''

He suggested that whatever money British racing puts towards the Race Day (Germany is favourite to stage the inaugural meeting), the cash would be better spent within the industry in Britain.