Yesterday, as I suspect most/all readers will know by now, ex-Barney Curley related horses, all returning from long absences, landed an estimated 2 million pound gamble, (undoubtedly the blow softened by exchange trading), winning four races at various all weather meetings in the UK.

Nothing a punter loves more than to stick one on the bookies, and plenty picked up a nice payout. Even the bookies sounded almost relieved that the 'Sting' was not greater. Twitter was buzzing with triumphal comments, several blogs quickly celebrated the coup (one going so far as to wonder if Dettori's return was timed to deflect attention, given that he and Curley were once mates!) and, it seemed, almost everyone was happy, even if they didn't participate.

No rules were broken, even though stewards 'noted' a couple of explanations from winning connections (amusingly two of them for different trainers were led up by the same lad) but I thought I saw at least one ride from the vanquished, in each of the last two races, i would personally consider at best ill-judged.

One of the winners, Eye of the Tiger, had dropped 56lbs in six runs, mostly by finishing last, from being a Group Two winner (the John Porter at Newbury) to a mark of 56. Lazarus would be proud of yesterday's renaissance. 

I get all that joy, as someone who loves racing, both as a sport and a betting medium, I'd be mad not to, and certainly no sour grapes from this quarter. Landing a touch is a thrilling part of the sport, and to do it four times in one day is pretty awesome.  It was a grand success for those involved, and I'm not asking anyone to agree with me, (most will not), but the one-sided celebration as though it has no longer term consequences, bordered on the irrational.
 Perhaps it was the moment, and as people reflect, more sober reflection will enable some (though it will not be all for certain) to see that it might not all be good.

In no particular order, these points at least deserve airtime and even if you disagree passionately (again I understand that), i hope some of you might bear with me.
And I'm not saying i agree with all of them either, however some gamblers with a real interest in racing as a sport might do well to at least consider it's not all roses for racing.

1) What about connections of beaten horses, who have long struggled to win races with modest horses for long periods? How might they be feeling? Perhaps (as in one case I noted) a horse that has had five recent well beaten runs, getting 8lbs back from the assessor, but still at best only able to make the frame. Do they keep trying, or perhaps they feel encouraged to go the 'Curley Route' and try to get back more weight more quickly, then disappear for a while before landing a touch?   

Take Milton Bradley, not a man averse to a touch himself over the years, but nowadays runs his sprinters on a very frequent basis. It's a constant battle with the handicapper. Many will remember his horse The Tatling with affection, who competed at the top table in his prime, but ended up after over 100 runs, struggling in Class 7s as an OAP. He still popped up occasionally with a win, but no-one could say he was well handicapped even then. He was fairly handicapped, as are many of Milton's, and the shrewd handler will always find the right race to give his many sprinters a winning chance.
It's a proper traditional contest as it was meant to be, between handicapper and trainer, and probably a score draw.

But how many will continue in the Milton Bradley vein, (for poor prizemoney) and how many will be tempted to go by the other route, perhaps run over different trips for example, by yesterday's events? My contention is that it will only lead to more choosing the latter route.

Punters (the same punters who celebrated unequivocally yesterday's coup) will then throw their hands up in horror at 'out the back' rides, and should they miss it 'on the big day' their view might be a little less charitable next time!

We, as punters, can't have it both ways, celebrate the gamble and then complain about 'out the back' rides.

2) Bookmakers will for sure, not today or next week perhaps, but in their own time, limit yet more online accounts, and we will hear the usual outrage. Watch and wait, it'll happen. So it's another consequence of yesterday, another example of why it isn't all one-sided joy. I'm not saying it's right, (it's cr*p actually!) but just that it will happen.

3) Those 'honest' trainers like Bradley I referred to earlier, will find that Mr Handicapper is even less keen to give horses back lots of weight after a few disappointing efforts, and it is just going to get harder and harder to have horses fairly handicapped? Does that encourage people to continue to own these horses? What do they do? Battle on, or sell up and leave the game? Not something the triumphalists will want to hear, of course, and maybe they will also choose the gamble route, but it's not good for racing as a sport in that sense.
it's another knock-on effect.

4) Slightly disturbing, for me personally, was to see current jockeys tweeting during the day that they hoped the gamble would succeed. Not jockeys riding in that race, agreed, and it's only their opinion of course, absolutely nothing else, but it's about Attitude, and even if I was a jockey of that view, I'd be keeping it to myself! Who knows, one day they might find themselves riding against the last leg of another multi-million pound gamble and it would hardly encourage me to back their ride!

5) it was suggested such a gamble would encourage others to come into the sport. I'm a little incredulous about that idea. Yes, if I was someone sitting in a bookies playing a slot machine and I heard about the gamble, i might spin round and think I should pay more attention to the screen behind me instead of in front of me, and have a few bets - or perhaps I'm a City trader who hears of easy money in racing and have a few more bets, but would I want to become an owner? And would I be the type of committed owner that would be good for the game? Well maybe, but I have to admit to some healthy scepticism.
And I've already expounded why i think some already in the game could easily be equally disillusioned by these gambles.

I'd add (edit as a result of events on Thursday in part) one thing here. Existing punters, especially those not part of the gamble, how is their confidence right now? We had the little matter of the Ann Stokell case at Wolverhampton, where horses were not allowed to run by stewards due to irregularities in where they were trained re-records, many punters felt it was more than a case of a stable 'over the road', a Wainwright gamble from 16/1 to 11/4 (won) on the same day as the Curley coup, and then Ken Pittersson on William Hill radio felt unable to discuss 'on-air' some 'consequences' of Mandy Rowland's Piper's Piping on Thursday, backed from 20/1 to evens, and well beaten, in a race won by 'stablemate' Prohibition at Kempton on Thursday.

It seems to be happening more and more, and I for one (of very many?) have little confidence about having a bet on the all weather right now incase i run into what i perceive to be a fast increasing number of very 'strange' races.

6) Racing is, after all a sport. Sport suggests a fair playing field, where openness and a fair and honourable contest should take place. Not for a moment do I think that means it will always happen, I'm for sure not naive enough to think that, and thinking outside the box, as we saw yesterday, is an exciting part and parcel of any sport.
More cynically, if touched in the penalty area, most strikers (well some, Luis... ;) ) will go down, because they know they'll get more penalties than yellow cards, they play to win while testing the rules to the limit. And so too in racing.

ULTIMATELY then, it's a fine balancing act, one that needs discussion and greater understanding than 140 characters will ever provide. The simplistic soundbyte masks much more and the issues involved are not as clearcut as the Twitterati might care for.

Well done if you were part of the gamble, but it's not necessarily all good for racing, even if it is for your pocket. I might seem like a killjoy, but I'd rather that if it also means I'm a realist. Some, clearly, are not.