By Andrew Atkinson

Racehorse owner Richard Hutchings has pointed a finger at the controversial 2020 Cheltenham Festival in March going ahead – having a backlash in managing to get his horse into a race.

“We have a share in a horse with a small trainer on the edge of Dartmoor,” said Richard.

“The horse is a two-time winner, with winnings of about £10,000 and had never had a proper break from racing, until 2019 when she had the best part of a year off.”

Racing was cancelled days after the Cheltenham Festival due to COVID-19. Richard said:

“Then, of course Covid struck. Since racing started again our horse has been balloted out, no less than four successive times in hurdle races, 0 to 100, and she’s still waiting for her first run.

“Do the authorities have any idea how this impacts on the enthusiasm of small owners and their desire to remain involved?”

Richard added: “Is the system operating on a fair basis? This is our second experience of racehorse ownership – and it’ll probably be our last!

“The authorities made a stupid decision over the Cheltenham Festival, in order to placate the big players in the sport. Now it’s small trainers and small owners who are left holding the mucky end of the stick.”

Dee Denslow said he too finds himself in the same frustrating position: “We are a small yard too and are certainly struggling to run horses.

“The trouble is it’s a ’roundabout’ for the horses too. You up their work and have to keep dropping back the work, because they cannot run.

“Then up the work, to be disappointed again. Then, time you get to run, you have the weather etc., to deal with – and a horse that has started to get p… It’s the same with feeding regime.

“There is so much more that goes on behind the scenes, that a lot of people don’t realise.”