So I hope that you won't be too concerned to learn that I am currently working on a plan to broker a new sponsorship arrangement with Sputnik International, the Kremlin backed multi-media news agency recently accused of infiltrating British institutions for propaganda purposes. Having donated more than two hundred thousand pounds to Edinburgh University and eighty five thousand pounds to St Anthony's college, Oxford, I'm sure they could make a meaningful contribution to the Cartmel economy - where Russian visitors to L'Enclume are already commonplace.
Sputnik International has close links with the Russkiy Mir Foundation, a government funded organisation established by Vladimir Putin to promote the Russian language, headed up by former KGB chief Vyacheslav Nikonov. The launch of Sputnik Radio, in Scotland, appears to be the latest blow in a propaganda battle which started when Winston Churchill sent emergency aid packages to Russia, during the Second World War, containing condoms packaged with the words "Extra Small" - to make the point that British soldiers were made differently from their Russian counterparts.
Sputnik International don't appear to have a racing correspondent, so I'm hoping to fill that gap as part of our proposed partnership: this week's selection is Ivan Grosny (otherwise known as Ivan the Terrible) in the Betfred Ebor at York.
|Ivan The Terrible - Tip for the Ebor|
To gain some insight into the world of Russian racing, I turned instead to TripAdvisor - where the Central Moscow Hippodrome has accumulated four and a half stars from 29 reviews. I can't read the 28 reviews in Russian but, according to CraigWorldWide, the hippodrome is a good place for people-watching and, although it can be quite cold, it's much better with a cup of coffee and a sandwich - which reminds me a bit of Brighton.
Cartmel Racecourse also has four and a half TripAdvisor stars, based upon 170 reviews - of which 149 rate us either 'excellent' or 'very good'. NatwichFlatley goes as far as nominating Cartmel "The best racecourse in the World!?!".
There are some honest niggles within the reviews too: the viewing isn't great if you like to see the whole race - although we do usually have four or five giant screens showing the racing and there can be few (if any) racecourses with more furlongs of accessible running-rail to see the action close up. One or two reviewers commented on the price of the food concessions, although many also mentioned the voluminous picnics which racegoers are encouraged to bring with them - there are plenty of alternatives to purchasing a burger in a bun.
To help our own propaganda efforts, if you have a good time at the races - please tell all your friends and family (or TripAdvisor if you prefer). And if you don't have a good time, please tell us why - and we'll do our best to improve the services we offer.
Until next time... or as they say in Russia: Do Svidaniya!