WELCOME to 2022, and hopefully it will be a better year for the sport of racing. It is certainly not my intention to reopen old wounds, but it is also important that we, as a collective, don’t just bury our heads in the sand and keep using the mantra of ‘moving on’ when faced with difficulty.

Yes, we do have to move forward, and we have to realise that the past is that – the past and gone. However, it we do not learn from the past, acknowledge our mistakes, and resolve to make things better in the future, then we are simply aping what the ostrich is alleged to do.

Inappropriate behaviour, drug abuse, whether human or animal, governance issues and animal welfare are all matters that seem to raise their heads again and again in our world. What are we doing about it?

Of course it would be naïve to think that we will not face challenges, whether of our own making or thrown at us from outside, but we have to be able to answer and deal with them, confident in the knowledge that we at all times adopting best practices.

If we find that something needs improving, if regulations are lax, or if wrongdoing occurs, we must address the issue and make the necessary changes. As a sport and as a multi-billion euro industry, we must ensure that we can defend ourselves against charges made, and stand over what we say. We, as individuals, do not accept shoddy practices when it comes to goods and service we purchase. The same principles apply to us.

It is my firm belief that we have a world-class sector, one that we can be proud of and we can promote with confidence. I am also clear that any wrongs should be called out.

Each and every one of us, within our own different bubbles, should take time as we begin a new year to look at what we do and ask the question: is there any way we can improve?

If the answer is no, then we can be proud of our business or organisation. If, on the other hand, you think there may be some tweaks needed, or even some changes to be made, why not get the ball rolling and don’t kick the can down the road – a common enough trait at times – and hope that the problem won’t recur.