Launched six months ago, Kick Up has as its ultimate goal the breaking down of anti-racing sentiment.
More than a year in the making, the organisation is the brainchild of a group of passionate young racing professionals.
Tired of the perceived mistruths spread by protest voices about many aspects of horse racing, the group set out to use fact–based messaging, driven mainly through social media platforms, to try to set the record straight and challenge the views of those who wish to see the demise of the sport.
Godolphin marketing and media manager Tanita Vella, who is a proactive and passionate member of the team that’s ‘kicking up’, could not be happier with its progress.
“When you reflect on the impact it’s made and the international attention it’s had in such a limited time frame, from limited resources, both human and financial, it’s pretty incredible,” she said.
“We are getting tagged in a lot of posts and we are getting asked by many regions what we can do there to help.
“It certainly has, from the standpoint of how much international attention it has garnered, shown that we have this loud minority spreading untruths and it has shown the need for this concept, which is really exciting.
“I think the biggest impact is how the industry is responding. There is a real conscious effort in broadcasts and with the way they report on things that happen at the track. People are aware of what they are saying and how they are saying it and they look to us and ask what the facts are.”
The group is heavily focused on informing and arming younger generations with sets of facts and information, so they can form a more balanced view about racing.
“The younger target audience are very active on social media and influential and impressionable. What we are seeing is that they often believe what is put out there, most of which is challenging for us.
“Until more recently, we didn’t realise there was this area that was so against horseracing. It’s mind-blowing when you think how much they believe what they are saying,” she said.
Next Friday, June 9 at Randwick Racecourse, the group will host its first workshop and has extended an invitation to industry stakeholders and participants to attend and contribute thoughts and ideas and share the challenges they face “at the coalface”.
“For too long, anti-racing aggressors have controlled a false narrative about our sport on social media. Our aim is to win back a balanced share of the voice,” Vella said.
“In the social media and digital communities session, we will discuss how and when to reply to mistruths online, methods to grow our Facebook community group and positive social media messaging. We need the public’s help to build our tribe and empower our peers to combat the misinformation.
“An idea shared is more powerful than one that’s hidden, and a community is stronger than divided individuals ever could be.”
Godolphin Australia managing director and Victoria Racing Club director Vin Cox will MC the event and has been a huge advocate of the organisation’s ambitions since its inception.
“This was set up by the next generation. We old hard–heads live in the racing bubble and are oblivious of the threat to our industry that is driven by the activists and propagated by those that believe them.
“Their passion is to be applauded and they are taking the cause up of their own volition. The young generation are feeling the heat from these activists and antis that are out there. Perception is the greatest threat to our industry,” said Cox.
A not-for-profit outfit, Kick Up has been self-funded by those involved and largely built off the back of good intent, a lot of hard work and research.
The challenge for Kick Up is how to mobilise those in the industry that benefit from its impact, to get behind it for the long haul and help ensure it remains sustainable.
Anyone interested in attending next week’s workshop in the Owners Room at Randwick should get in touch with Maggie Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org.