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In the last half of 2017 I published a series of six blogs about the relevance issue that threatens the racing industry’s future. The response was bigger than expected and out of it has come a collective resolve to act, now called Thoroughbred 21.

We live in a technologically advanced, increasingly urbanised and risk-averse world where people demand a higher standard of transparency. The internet has driven a rapid pace of innovation, resulting in new technologies and disruptive business models displacing entire industries.

Young people are now most active on social media, where content is often inflammatory and not scrutinised for factual accuracy. And with fewer Australians than ever raised in a rural environment, society’s new expectations pose an additional challenge for our animal-dependent industry.

In the race to evolve and succeed in the 21st century, horse racing is struggling to keep pace [click for Blog 1]. Data shows we are failing to connect consistently with a broad fan base outside one or two major racing events.

To ensure horse racing survives and thrives in Australia, our messages must reach beyond the industry’s inner circle. We need to engage hearts and minds using the tools that modern technology gives us.

Now is the time to act. The biggest risk to racing’s future is doing nothing.

So let’s tackle it head on together, right now, as Thoroughbred 21.

T21 is the organisation powered by the horse racing industry, for the horse racing industry, working to ensure thoroughbred racing remains relevant in the 21st century. Our primary goal is to grow the fan base of young Australians with the first round of targets to be hit by 2021.

Changing society’s perception of our industry is an achievable goal. With a holistic, integrated, well-funded and long-term commitment by all industry parties, we can re-position thoroughbred racing within Australian society. Our powerful industry network can drive and circulate the important messaging.

The blog posts I wrote last year drew hundreds of responses. And tellingly, those responses were very consistent: we love our horses, we love our horse racing, and we love our industry, but we’re anxious with a genuine concern for its future survival in 30, 40, 50 years’ time. We want to do something about it, and it needs to be done now.

Ditto from industry organisations, Racing Australia and many of the Principal Racing Authorities. They understand the issue, and they’re willing to support the collective industry in addressing it.

So we have awareness, we have momentum, and therefore we have an opportunity.

The Thoroughbred 21 Vision: Create a paradigm shift in the perception of thoroughbred racing within Australian society to ensure acceptance and relevance for long-term industry growth.

We have three goals to achieve:

1: Use transparent facts, figures and stories to address society’s misconceptions.

2: Raise opportunities for industry organisations to adapt and improve our industry, and assist in ensuring it exceeds modern social standards.

3: Produce positive content and utilise innovative opportunities to regain relevance within the next generation of young Australians.

And here’s how we’ll achieve them:

Step 1: Unite

The first step is to form the Thoroughbred 21 community: a network comprised of passionate and enthusiastic industry participants to tap into our collective broad network of ideas, insights and capabilities.

The T21 community will become the eyes and ears within the industry to identify misconceptions that need to be addressed, find remarkable stories to promote, and distribute the messages to their networks. It will also become a platform for focus group discussions and feedback on upcoming projects. The T21 community will live on Facebook, the digital home of our target demographic. Click this link to join.

Step 2: Collate

Thoroughbred 21 will collate funding, resources and skills from all states, sectors and organisations that have a vested interest in the future viability of the horse racing industry. We will then work to determine the best specific marketing and communication strategy for execution.

Step 3: Act

This is the time for Thoroughbred 21 to utilise its collated resources, skills and support to act. The first task for T21 is to address society’s misconceptions through the use of real facts, figures and stories.

Let’s join together in creating this torrent of change to safeguard the future of our industry.

Between us all, we have the power to move mountains.

Click to view the Thoroughbred 21 Plan.

Get involved:

  • If you or your organisation would like to offer financial resources, technical skills or general support, please contact me.
  • If you wish to join the Thoroughbred 21 community click this link to request admission.
  • Or if you would simply like to stay abreast of our progress, sign up to email updates for this Blog.

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