Hall of Fame jockey Glen Boss answers racing’s big questions

Hall of Fame jockey Glen Boss comes back up to Sydney after two months away riding in Melbourne and he’s got plenty of ideas and opinions of how to ensure racing reaches its full potential.

WOMEN IN RACING

When eventual champion AFL coach Kevin Sheedy arrived at Essendon in the early 1980s he told the club it was only working on three cylinders.

He explained to officials that the sport was only really reaching half the population and that women needed more involvement in the sport.

Boss said racing could also do the same on the back of the success of female jockeys in recent years.

“I think the girls have really come along in the last five years,” he said.

“People used to say they were too weak and it’s the biggest load of bullshit of all time.

“I really encourage the girls and I know that punters are really in their corner now.”

Walk into any TAB or TAB area in a pub on a Saturday and it’s virtually all men in there punting.

Getting more women enjoying the form guide, and not just the fashion, would take racing to new heights in the decades ahead.

“The girls should be really pushed forward and promoted because they are doing well,” Boss said.

“My wife loves backing the girls. Women can help take the sport to another level. They can open up a big audience for us.

“Women ride stacks of winners because they’re quiet on them and go within them. That’s how you get the most out of a horse. You don’t interrupt their stride.”

Jamie Kah is flying the flag for women in racing and Boss says it can only be good for the industry.Source:Getty Images

TOO MANY TRACKS?

With four metropolitan tracks and five provincial clubs, Boss feels a few big decisions could benefit the sport long-term.

“There’s too many race tracks,” he said.

“They won’t want me saying this but Gosford and Wyong aren’t particularly great places to ride at. They’re tight turning tracks.”

The more punters there are the bigger racing gets, it’s that simple.

Boss thinks a new racing centre, with a big track containing a long straight would be much more appealing for punters than the bias Canterbury circuit which is getting to the point where punters have lost confidence betting at.

“I’d love them to build a purposely built super track one day where there’s two races tracks at the one complex and every horse had it’s chance to win. That’s what punters want and without the confidence of the punters we’ve got nothing,” Boss said.

“I think Canterbury has run it’s course. If punters aren’t confident enough to bet on it, it’s got to go.

“People might be upset about me saying this but I think Warwick Farm and Canterbury should be sold off and we could find some land to build a super centre that we could race at most days of the week.

“Crowds will be there for Randwick and Rosehill for the big days, but realistically we don’t need the crowds there for the other meetings but we do need the turnover which creates prizemoney and stimulates the industry.

“We don’t need crowds outside the big carnival days. We need more people who have the confidence to bet.”

Boss has also called for racing to take one day off each week so the participants “can catch their breath”.

Glen Boss celebrates winning the Darley Sprint Classic at Flemington on the final day.Source:Getty Images

WHIP USE

Boss doesn’t want the whip to be banned and he’s got plenty of reasons for that even though he’s not a big whip rider.

He never hits a horse hard and, frustratingly, has been criticised for not being hard enough with the stick in the past.

“The whip is just a reminder to say this is when you have to be at your best and you don’t have to belt them to do that. I just touch them and they know,” Boss said.

“The girls are so good because they’re balanced and quiet.

“It’s a tool and we need it because horses need to be pulled into line and guided every now and then. We’re sitting on a half-tonne animal and people have no idea how quickly they can do things.

“A tap on the shoulder and bring them straight back. I love the horses and I wouldn’t want to hurt one.”

What frustrates the jockeys is that it’s people who don’t ride horses are mainly responsible for pushing a whip ban.

It’s not only a safety tool but an accessory to enable a horse to perform to its best.

“Eventually I think we’ll be reserved to backhanders only but we should never get rid of it,” Boss said.

“If you were driving down a freeway and I took the steering wheel away from you you’d be scared.

“Humans are like horses. If you don’t have someone to push you, you won’t go to another level.”

Bivouac and Glen Boss thump their rivals in the Group 1 Darley Sprint Classic.Source:Getty Images

CLASSIQUE LEGEND V BIVOUAC

After Bivouac’s scintillating win in the VRC Sprint when he demolished a Group 1 field I asked Boss if he was better than Everest winner Classique Legend, saying he’d obviously be bias towards the Godolphin star.

“Not at all,” he snapped back.

“Classique Legend beat him fair and square in the Everest so is he better than Classique Legend? Not on the scoreboard.

“They’re both outstanding. I just wish we met him in The Everest third-up. That’s the only thing I would say, but I still don’t think we would’ve beaten him because he beat us by three lengths. It’s good pub talk.”

Boss only had two winners in Melbourne this spring but they were two of the carnival’s biggest races.

“You’d cop a Cox Plate win every time you went down there and I thought I gave Sir Dragonet a great ride in the Cox Plate,” Boss said.

“It was probably the difference between winning and losing. I thought my ride was the best ride in the race. Damien Oliver’s was good too.

“I expected Bivouac to win his race. He’s at a different level now and in the autumn he’ll be even more mature.

“He’s colt that’s really confident and he made good horses like Libertini and Nature Strip look pretty ordinary.”

MELBOURNE V SYDNEY JOCKEYS ROOMS

Boss said there was a few little differences between the boys and girls in Sydney compared to Melbourne but made one big call on the quality.

“Out of the top 10 jockeys in Australia, I’d day eight of them are in the Sydney jockey’s room,” he said.

“I think it’s more intense in Sydney because the competition here is tougher.

“The guys in Victoria are a bit more relaxed. The camaraderie in the rooms is very similar and there’s a lot of love in the rooms.”

Glen Boss – fitness freak

Veteran jockey Glen Boss has been working out with fitness guru Trent Langlands ahead of the spring racing carnival.

PACE IN RACES

Earlier this year stewards were critical of Nash Rawiller’s front-running ride on Mushaireb when he set a strong pace before being run down by Fun Fact to run second at Randwick.

Rawiller claimed staying races in Australia were “run too slowly” in his defence after the race.

So are they?

“That’s all up to the jockeys. We run races how we want,” Boss said.

Boss quickly wanted to dismiss a myth the average punter might have when it comes to judging the speed of a race.

“People think the leaders control the speed and that’s not the case at all. It’s the jockey running second,” he said.

“The leader sets the speed but doesn’t control it.

“They can choose to make the speed faster if they like. The jockey in second controls the race because if the one in front is going slow he can move and if it’s going quick enough he won’t move.”

Damien Oliver is one of only four jockeys to reach 100 Group 1 wins in Australia.Source:Getty Images

100 GROUP 1 WINNERS

Boss, the three-time Melbourne Cup winner, sits eighth on the all-time Group 1 wins as a rider in Australia and is so close, yet so far from 100 majors.

He feels if he stays fit and rides of for a few more year then he’ll reach the mark only achieved so far by George Moore, Damien Oliver, Roy Higgins and Jim Cassidy.

“I’ve got six international Group 1s and 88 in Australia,” Boss said.

“I guess they won’t count the overseas ones here. It would be nice to get to the 100. They’re hard to win though.”

Originally published asWhy Boss thinks racing’s future lies with women

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