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Racing world has a lesson for fiscal policy

Most citizens of Ireland are lucky, in that other than those living in Dublin, the size of their towns or cities does not deprive them of access to the countryside, or its way of life.

Four or five years ago, a primary school teacher in Dublin was holding a general knowledge question-time, when he asked: ‘where do we get our milk from?

A little boy raised his hand, and replied to the teacher’s nod, ‘out of a bottle, sir’. It was quite probable that the only time this little boy had seen a cow was hanging up in a butcher’s shop as a beef carcass. Country life allows people to become familiar with animals and to work with them.

Humans have used cattle to provide them with milk or beef, or leather for shoes, or even for pulling ploughs.

They have used horses to carry their soldiers into battle and to fight from horseback. Some horses are plodders and spend their lives pulling carts or ploughs.

The athletic ones are shared between racing over jumps or on the flat.

This is where the use of handicappers comes into play. It accesses the ability of each horse and allocates a weight for them to carry, inclusive of the jockey.

The best horses carry the most weight and give the lesser quality ones a chance of winning. It is like the Finance Minister directing his heavy taxation against the top earners.

Richard Prendergast



Co Cork


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