Monday, July 17, 2006

The sun still shines

Well, it's bloody hot here, which is great. Or should be great, except that one isn't best placed to appreciate the heat when one is poorly, and I've got a cold. Still, I'm not a whingeing Aussie, so I'll battle on. One should never feel sorry for oneself, and I received a timely reminder of that this morning. The sun was in the sky, but I was feeling that all wasn't well with my world, in addition to all not being well with me. My mobile rang, and I found myself speaking to what sounded like a fairly positive Michael Tidmarsh. In answer to the stock question of "How goes it?", I briefly poured out my frustration of La Gessa having sustained a setback which has made her an absentee from Yarmouth tomorrow, refraining from pointing out that Rem Time had been eliminated from her engagement at Wolverhampton today, a 49-rated 6-year-old being ruled out of a 35-55 handicap. When I finally drew breath, Michael politely brought us round to the matter in hand, which was that he'd been warned off - yes, warned off, not had his license withdrawn - for six months as a result of the cause-undetermined caffeine positive from My Chinese King's win at Eagle Farm in May. I had one of these about four years ago, and considered that my £800 fine was stiff. I just can't believe it - and the chattering classes here are agonising about whether these jockeys have been harshly treated. When I suggested to Michael that he apply to the Queensland stewards for $2,500 per week to make up for it - which is what Lynch and Williams are getting for doing nothing other than ride out just now (which Michael, of course, isn't allowed to do) - and which they won't have to pay it back if found guilty - he remarked that they'll probably apply to have their cases adjourned to extend the hand-out. No such luck for him, I'm afraid. Anyway, the gist is that I had no right to feel sorry for myself, particularly as Michael, who must be devastated, sounded remarkably chipper. His phlegm put me in mind of Gary Moore, who faced journalists on leaving the stewards' room in Hong Kong a few years ago carrying, I think, a 5-year warning off with the truism "Well, the sun will still rise tomorrow". I would be proud to possess the strength of character to face adversity with such equanimity. What I would also like to possess (I think we have it here, but I can't see the Brisbane Courier-Mail rallying to the cause) is access to a press which, if one pointed out how one had been shafted, would think it worthwhile to go on the offensive. I don't know if the ATA provides the support that trainers here have grown accustomed to receiving from the NTF, but I do like to think that the Racing Post puts itself out to help people who have been treated badly. Good on ' em.

Anyway, what better to do after getting that off my chest than to have another whinge? In this case, about the lack of response to my postings. We've had one short and inconclusive addition from Ayman, whoever he may be, but basically we only have good old Dickie Sims to keep the banter flowing. And, of course, he's been no use the past few days as he's been trying to juggle his sleeping hours to watch Andrew Strauss playing for a slow-motion draw. So come on, please sign up, because it would be great to get some feedback from someone who doesn't have an axe to grind (Dickie, of course, is still sick about being banned from the Meet The Gang section).

One possible talking point is the on-going battle to prevent terribly-named gallopers from taking over. We suffered a setback yesterday when Poor Tactic's (yes, that isn't a misspelling; possibly Dickie named him) won at Perth. Fortunately we fought back tonight when Mull Of Kintyre three-year-old Mull Of Dubai was beaten a Windsor. What's wrong with these people? They don't deserve to own horses. Named At Dinner, Lunch Was My Idea, It's A Roofer, Let's Facet, In Dream's ... Jane Chapple-Hyam's awkward three-year-old maiden Double Bay is out of a mare named Once To Often. For sheer laziness, the owners of Presenting Copper take the biscuit: he's by Presenting, and his dam is Copper something or other. Happily, there is some sort of natural justice at work, because while these horses have been doing nothing recently, Warsaw Pact won last week - by Polish Precedent ex Always Friendly. The people who chose that name deserve success.

On the subject of people deserving success, I had a heart-warming visit to Takeover Target and Joe Janiak on Saturday afternoon. I am in awe of the horse and his trainer. I'd been a bit concerned on seeing the horse going to post on Friday, and again when he faded so uncharacteristically tamely in the final furlong a few minutes later, but the following afternoon he was out in his paddock, mooching around without a care in the world. He and Joe were made for each other. He's having a break now, and Joe's going to aim him at a big sprint in Japan at the end of the year if he's going well when the time comes. Joe's worked wonders to do what he has done with him and, while the show isn't going to run and run, there may be another scene or two yet. While the horse can still race well and safely, he'll keep him going, and then he'll know when to call it a day. Joe was lucky to run into Takeover Target, but the opposite applies too. It's been a privilege to meet them.

4 comments:

dickie do da said...
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D.D. Fan Club said...

One day down and only 182 to go. Woke this morning at 6.30am, the latest time for at least six months. How have I been getting up at 3.00am for the last 5 years.Of course I know why, and most who read this will know the answer to this question.It dawned on me this morning why the stewards were excessively tough on me.Pay back time for the Kiwi's clean up at Qld carnival and recent Aussie losses to All Blacks and Tall Blacks.
Lots to do today. I was directed by Qld Stewards that horses in my care must be removed in 3 days. I have arranged for John's lovely filly Somewhere Safer to spell in the Gold Coast hinterland. We have cancelled the lease we had on My Chinese King and his owner will place him with local trainer Pat Duff. Pat is a very good trainer and top bloke with it. I wish them both all the best.
Now to the positives. Spare time for golf and fishing (and shopping too Sarah). Liam, my 14 year old son beat me by 6 strokes in 9 holes last sunday.And I'm not a bad player!!!. I am pissed off that I will not be able to take John and Emma racing when they visit later in the year.
As I mentioned to John yesterday. Now I have a conviction, I know what it feels like to be Australian.Shame I missed out on the one way sea cruise though.

Commander Collings said...

We may not be able to go racing with you but a round of golf sounds a good alternative. We've had little practice in the last year - the odd round at Bury and a windswept links course at Golspie in the Scottish Highlands where my parents live.
It's great to hear you so positive and I'm sure Somewhere Safer will enjoy her break.
Looking forward to seeing you all in November.

click-on said...

John,

I wholeheartedly agree about the unimaginative naming but this, as in many other matters to do with racing in Britain, is a perfect example of the sport eating itself alive. In truth, however, it matters not one jot what a horse is called and offends only the aesthetics of our once great pastime.

Racing's administrators are happy to give away the game's heritage and allow Classic races to be sponsored and we all stand idly by.

Furthermore, if we are all happy for horses to run in the '0898 My Bathroom's Better Than Your Tipping Line Maiden Stakes', then we can hardly complain at an owner's lack of literary flair or knowledge of the Greek Classics.