Gloucestershire jockeys' agent Chris Broad backs changes to make end of jumps season 'special'
LEADING jockeys' agent Chris Broad has backed plans to make the final day of the jumps season 'special'.
He said that the British Horseracing Authority's decision to make the Bet365 Gold Cup fixture at Sandown on Saturday, April 26 a stand-alone meeting would help the sport promote it as a top attraction.
Broad, who books rides for leading riders such as Jason Maguire, Noel Fehily, Sam Twiston-Davies and Timmy Murphy, said the move could pay off in the long term.
It was announced by the BHA as part of a raft of changes to the end of the season, including introducing a four-day break for professional jockeys before the start of the next campaign.
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Broad, based in Westbury-on-Seven, said: "I think the best thing they've done is not have another jump meeting on the same day, so it is the final day of the season and they can really promote it – I think that's a plus.
"They're trying to make the final day a special day and if there's no other jump racing that day so it's not watered down, in the long term I think it probably will be a good thing.
"If they get some good supporting races to go with the Bet365 Gold Cup I'm sure they will attract the crowds.
"At the end of the day I see what they're trying to do and with numbers dropping I suppose they've got to try something."
Broad said the four-day break, instead of starting the new jumps season the following day, would probably be welcomed by the top riders.
He had mixed thoughts about the decision to make Bet365 Gold Cup day a jumps-only card by switching the Flat races which were run that day to Friday.
Broad said: "I quite liked it because you had the top jump jockeys mixing with the top Flat jockeys like Jamie Spencer and Kieren Fallon, so I thought it was a good mix.
"But it meant both sets of jockeys were only going there for three or four rides.
"I'd say, 'Why fix it if it ain't broken?', but the BHA obviously thought it was broken and they're doing what they think's right.
"So in general no one likes change – it can be controversial – but I imagine in the long run it will probably be all right.
"The top jockeys, the ones riding every day, they'll be happy to have those four days because they would have been flat-out with the festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree.
"Maybe the lads down the pecking order won't welcome it quite as much, but those meetings will be moved elsewhere anyway.
"In general it won't make any difference to anyone else in racing, from jockeys' agents to stable staff.
"It won't help me at all because I'm working five days ahead anyway."
The first jumps meeting after the break will be the Hunter Chase meeting for amateur riders on Wednesday, April 30.
The BHA will announce the national fixture list for the whole of 2014 next week.
The BHA board have agreed in principle to race-meetings being staged on Good Friday.