‘Spare A Thought For Ukraine’

The Centaurian says…

Whilst we enjoy the thrill of racing at one of the finest racecourses in the world – namely Borrowdale Park – and think there is scope for much improvement – there are others whose lot is best described as dire. Seriously dire.

This week I would like us all to spare a thought for the horse racing industry in Ukraine.

There are two race tracks in Kyiv and neither has operated since crazy man Putin launched an invasion into that sorry country two weeks ago. It is hardly surprising. What is worthy of our awe is the fact that trainers and owners are still risking life and limb to go out of Kyiv each day to the racecourse stables to feed and care for some 350 horses – just 20km from where the front line is on fire.

They have enough feed to keep their charges alive for about a month but thereafter all will depend on them having access to those villages from where hay may be purchased and transported back to the stables without being blown to kingdom come.

The situation at Odessa seems even more fraught with the Russians set for the coast, ready to bombard and then invade. The course was built by the Tsars in 1890. Here, they and the other wealthy hoipoloy gathered to see, be seen, drink champagne, eat caviar and bet on the best horseflesh in the Russian Empire. Much has changed since then.

The racing industry was on its knees before Putin’s intervention with purses reported to be as little as US15 per race – yet the horses were and are being cared for properly – so far.

Clearly, there is absolutely nothing we in Zimbabwe can do – apart from praying for an early cessation of hostilities and a return to some sort of sanity in that part of Europe.

It seems clear to me that the Ukrainians are not going to give up and become vassals of Putin and his cronies. They are brave and determined not to lose. If I am right, this means Putin must fail. Let’s hope this all happens sooner rather than later – bringing respite to all Ukrainians and their horses.

The Centaurian10 March 2022

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