15 NOVEMBER 1997, Page 28

Formula Two

MY racing correspondent, Captain Thread- needle, writes: Plans are afoot or ahoof in Portman Square, secretive headquarters of the Jockey Club, to have horse-racing reclassified as Formula Two. Informal approaches have been made to Tessa Jow- ell, the minister of public health. The tobacco companies used to be among rac- ing's best sponsors, until they were driven out by ever-tighter bans on advertising. Now the government is proposing an exemption for Formula One motor racing. Without this, so Miss Jowell explains, For- mula One would go away to the Far East and uncensored pictures would be beamed back to our television screens, where chil- dren might see them. This argument must apply with equal force, or lack of it, to other kinds of racing. As a concession, the Club might allow horses to be fitted with small outboard motors, on a basis devised by its handicapper, or more simply to have them rated by their horsepower. Proposals to give or lend £1 million to the Labour party, or to put some business in the way of the minister's family, have been rejected, since she has explained that this would make no difference. Once Formula Two gets going, the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup can resume its place at York as the highlight of Imperial Cancer Research Day.