SOME Friday afternoons are filled with trying to come up with a topic to cover in an editorial, but this was certainly not the case yesterday. In fact, the topic changed on three occasions.
The untimely death of Aidan Moffitt in Sligo robbed racing of a real fan and an enthusiastic owner. Aidan was a regular at the races, at point-to-points and at the big festivals in Aintree and Cheltenham. His family and friends will be forever devastated by his loss.
At Castlerea Prison on Wednesday, I spoke with the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, and Aidan’s killing, as was that of Michael Snee, is a matter of great concern for her and her department.
On a happier note, Minister McEntee was on hand to officially launch the brainchild of Jonathan Irwin, Horses for Hope, and this is something that we will cover in great detail in the weeks ahead. It is a project that needs and warrants our support.
Homeward bound from Roscommon took me to the launch of the Punchestown Festival, and before the gates open on Tuesday for the five days of racing, it is probably safe to say that records will be set for attendances. A favourable forecast is good news for most, and a small headache for ground staff. This meeting will be one to savour.
The, on Friday afternoon, the independent review of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) Equine Anti-Doping Programme (EADP) was released, but not in time for a full and detailed appraisal to be done as we went to press. The report is comprehensive and, doubtless, much of the important findings and recommendations will be found in the detail.
Helpfully for those of us with scant time to examine the report before having to write about it, the 18 recommendations are divided into three categories of priority; high, medium and low. Some of the high priority recommendations are already in train, as are many of the others. However, it is good to see them laid out clearly and precisely.
While 18 recommendations might suggest that there is much to rectify or put in place, a note in the executive summary is worth reproducing.
It says: “This review concludes that the IHRB EADP does at least match international best practice in most respects and has made significant advances in recent years. However, a number of recommendations have been made that, if adopted, are capable of enhancing the robustness of the programme’s processes, capabilities and capacities.”
As good as it is, there are always improvements that can be made.