Seeing is believing

Horse Racing

Seeing is believing

Gate crew member James Morrison shares his thoughts about spectator-less race day and his work

Observer writer

Friday, March 27, 2020

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James Morrison, who has been a member of the starting gate crew for many years at Caymanas Park, says horse racing with or without spectators present at the Park does not affect his regular race day routine at the gates.

With a ban on large gatherings imposed by the Government due to the outbreak of COVID-19), spectators, including owners of horses, were not permitted to enter the racetrack during the last two race days.

“I have been here for about 50 years now, and this is the first time I am seeing this happening at Caymanas Park, where the races are run without spectators. If someone had told me that, I would not believe them, as I have to see it to believe it, and I saw it here today (Tuesday, March 17, 2020). There is a saying that goes like 'seeing is believing'.

“As to my job routine, nothing has changed. Everything remains the same in carrying out my work. There is no added task for anything, just the same workload as any normal race day.

“The only difference is that when you look into the stands, they are empty, and we are used to the crowd and noise and cheering and this and that. But as to my work, nothing has changed. I just want to say, this is history at the Park, and I am just glad I am here to see it and be part of this history-making moment,” Morrison told The Supreme Racing Guide.

Morrison applauded his company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), for steps taken to help minimise the spread of COVID-19.

“SVREL has done everything to protect us and the public in general, and so I support them 100 per cent. Our health comes first, so I am on board with SVREL, and I hope this thing blows off very soon, and racing comes back to normal,” said Morrison.

Morrison, who graduated from the Crescent All-Age School in St Catherine, came straight into racing after leaving school. He then shared how he started with the starting gate crew.

“I came into the racing to become a jockey. I was an apprentice, but things did not go that way, so I started to groom horses. I was at Kenneth Mattis stables and then went to trainer Alan 'Billy' Williams, and I was very good with horses, and from there, I went to the gates. I enjoy what I am doing and would never leave this job for another,” he said.

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