Do you remember what a horse looks like? The last Borrowdale Park race meeting was on January 8 and due to heavy rain there is no chance of another before February 5.  Being a racing insider you may be a little bored but will be in no danger of forgetting the thrills and excitement provided by your favourite pastime – and the magnificent animals responsible.

It is hard to accept that the majority of people living within a 50 km radius of our racecourse have no idea what they are missing.  That must change and you can help it happen.

Once upon a time Borrowdale Park’s stands were packed with enthusiasts of all races, but somewhere along the way we lost them – a grievous mistake  Now we need to get them back.

A while ago I read an article on Facebook which originated on a WordPress blog entitled Blinkers Off.  I probably gave out the link at that time – https://blinkers-off.com/2016/04/17/connecting/

Our circumstances are very different but the message remains dynamic. The author, Nicolle, was vaguely aware of the USA Triple Crown races and eventually made it to a race track, and…. “That day, I may not have left the track with much more than I showed up with, but I left with something I never had before: a burning need to keep coming back.

“It made no sense to me.  Horses were gorgeous, of course, and I wanted to be around them.  But, from this outsider’s perspective, Horse Racing seemed concentrated on two worlds, neither of which would ever have a place for me.  Either you had to be glamorous enough to befit the Sport of Kings, or you had to have grown up around horses. “

However the racing bug had bit and she went back for more although those first visits were “solitary affairs”.   With the help of racing feeds on Twitter Nicolle began to feel less of an outsider and with that came the realisation that many racing outsiders were lacking one thing – a connection.  Please read this article because it says so much more.

I am sorry to say that at Borrowdale we are not making much of an effort to supply that  vital connection, although racecourses around the world have woken up to the fact that outsiders have to be encouraged to be insiders if racing is to survive.

Ashleigh Hughes, originally from Zimbabwe but now based in Gauteng, has an excellent Facebook  page, Love Racing,  https://www.facebook.com/groups/LoveRacingSouthAfrica/ which is full of information for racing outsiders . In addition she is also on Twitter, spreading the word, and has been known to round up groups of outsiders and get them to a race course for further indoctrination.

Have a look at Ngong’s Facebook page – Ngong Racecourse – where some goodhearted people have already shared news about Borrowdale Park.  The Jockey Club of Kenya –https://www.facebook.com/Jockey-Club-of-Kenya-495496583839544/– are also in on the act and presently plugging the Britam Kenya Guineas with vigor.  Ngong is a smaller centre than Borrowdale but right now they can teach us a thing or two.

So how can you help?  By liking, sharing and commenting on everything you come across that mentions Zimbabwe racing, starting with my Facebook pages Mashonaland Owners & Trainers and Zimbabwe Owners & Trainers .

The MOTA page includes Zimbabwe racing, and international racing, because we are part of a worldwide community and this makes life interesting.  Zimbabwe Owners & Trainers is for those who only want to read about Borrowdale Park.  It has its followers but the Mashonaland Owners & Trainers  page is far more popular.

These two pages have never had any form of paid promotion.  That is why the liking, sharing and commenting is so important…it attracts attention.   I am very grateful to those who are already doing this but more help is necessary.

Last but by no means least is Twitter – @zimracing – which could be our major weapon, because thousands of Zimbabweans are busily tweeting away but not following racing – yet. Unfortunately, one could count on ones fingers the Twitter account holders, based in Zimbabwe, who have a real or vested interest in Borrowdale Park.

Right now racing in Zimbabwe is battling a bit, but we have been there before, and we are still here.  Let’s do what we can to keep it that way.

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