I HAVE worked long enough in public relations to know the media, be it television, radio, print or digital, thrives on two things: bad news and stories planted by people who want to sell stuff.

Bad news consists of nasty things that fascinate ordinary people – like brutal murders, deadly chemical spillages and natural disasters.

You could include, too, the predictions about Brexit such as: forecast lorry queues on the M20 outside Folkestone Racecourse (which don’t really matter seeing as the track is closed anyway), shortages of Magnum ice creams and the possibility that your mobile phone might not work in Germany. Although, of course, they also fall into the category of being planted by people who want to sell you stuff – or possibly by politicians who are terrified of change and concerned they may be required to grow a backbone.

Any stories that could be mistaken for good news are inevitably sponsored by people who want to sell stuff. So, if follows that the research that demonstrated that dog-owners live longer was probably sponsored by Pedigree Chum and the story that told you that chocolate is an aphrodisiac owes its origins to a Valentine’s Day press release from Cadbury’s.

Horseracing rarely hits the headlines, but it was inevitable the sport would attract some attention when it announced fixtures would be abandoned due to an equine influenza outbreak.

“How many racehorses have died of equine influenza?” one journalist asked.

“Er. None yet,” I responded.

“What biosecurity measures are you taking?”

“Well, it’s a bit like an outbreak of nits in a school. We don’t want the horses to rub their heads together or share the same equipment.”

The suspension of racing was a bad news story – it will cost the industry a sizeable chunk of money and it continues to be incredibly frustrating for many people who are involved. But like many bad news stories, it hasn’t been quite as traumatic as some of the media would have liked.

Now racing has resumed, we’re following the more traditional media route – pretty much encapsulated by everything I write in this weekly column. It’s good news: Racing is back on!

Yes, of course we’d like to sell you something. Go online and buy a ticket to come to the races. In the next week there are fixtures in the North at Carlisle, Wetherby, Doncaster, Sedgefield and Newcastle.

If you’re the sort of reader who prefers bad news, I have a selection for you: It’s recent Kelso winner Shades Of Midnight, who holds two entries at Haydock today.