Friday, July 16, 2010

A couple of tips?

This isn't a tipping column, but I'll pass on a piece of 'inside information' which some of you might view as a tip. I'm expecting Silken Thoughts to run well at Lingfield tomorrow evening but her jockey Cathy Gannon will only be on her because Tom Queally, the jockey originally booked, got off her shortly after declaration time yesterday in favour of taking the ride on Hard Bargain in the same race. That has to be a tip, doesn't it? (Even if we accept that, on form, Major Art should be very hard to beat). I don't, incidentally, mind at all about the altered arrangement because it was made totally with my blessing: Tom's agent Keith Bradley is the nicest and most helpful jockeys' agent (well, he probably shares that title with Laura Way) and he, predictably, did not tell me that Tom would swap rides, but very politely asked if I might sanction such a change, telling me that the change would not happen unless I were happy to give my permission. As, from our point of view, it meant swapping one good jockey for another, giving permission was no problem, so the change was made. Has Tom taken a better ride? Well, the 'inside information' here is that I really don't know. All shall be revealed.

On the subject of jockey changes, I have to make an update from the preview I gave yesterday: Douchkette (who has managed to find herself in what looks an extremely weak race) will be ridden on Sunday by Danny Cook (3) rather than William. This came as quite a surprise as William was here this morning to school Keep Silent (pictured, left) in a schooling session in which Gemma was kind enough to give the novice a lead on good old Ex Con (pictured, below) - and the last words he said to me as we parted at approximately 7.30 were, "See you on Sunday". However, his agent Dave Roberts had other ideas as he rang me two and a bit hours later to tell me that William would be at Newton Abbot on Sunday, not Stratford. Again, this is no problem because William can do no wrong in my eyes: he's my favourite jumps jockey and goes well beyond the call of duty in helping us to prepare the horses for their races (witness his presence on the Links this morning, which had entailed him making a long journey early in the morning to ride one horse for twenty minutes, and then a long journey home again - and he'll most likely be here again next week to do exactly the same). Under the circumstances, I'm certainly not going to complain that William has, yet again, proved harder to book for a race-ride than one might expect. Still, being free for schooling mornings but unavailable in the races is rather an unusual state of affairs: most jockeys are only too happy to take the money for riding the horses in the afternoons, but try getting them to come in for nothing to work the horses in the mornings! And has Dave Roberts made a good choice on William's behalf? (I don't even know what it is that he is due to ride at Newton Abbot, other than that I think it is a horse trained by Jonjo O'Neill). Again, we'll have to wait to find out.


Alan Taylor said...

He who pays the piper calls the tune !!!
I am sure with your Scottish connection you are not averse to being compared with a piper.Trainers are however paid by owners who have in several recent instances overuled a trainers choice of jockey. The booking of a "top jockey" such as Tom Quealey would please me as an owner as I would expect my horse to perform at least one length better than if a run of the mill"journey man or woman jockey "was on board.If this was not the case it would be pointless calling someone a top jockey. One presumes they get their status because they are better judges of pace,tactics and can ride a stronger finish than their contemporaries.The public rightly or wrongly presume when a trainer has a "top jockey" on board that the horses chances are improved.
By your very nature you are a nice person and would not want to make anyone do anything against their wishes. When a jockeys agent asks you to release one of his jockeys he is giving you little choice but in fact it is a "fait acomplis".It would not be desirable to have a disgruntled jockey,who might not be in "the right frame of mind", on board. One volunteer is worth ten pressed men.
As normal John, trainers are between the devil and the deep blue sea.Happily the situation does not seem to happen very often. I am sure if a jockey turned a ride down on one of your charges which then went on to win you would have a wry smile or even a smirk on your face when seeing him in passing.
If the problem did grow then mayebe a system of provisional(amber) bookings and definite (green) bookings would have to be introduced. Under this system if an agent made a provisional booking a trainer would be entitled to look for other jockeys until the booking was definite. A jockey would not be to happy with his agent if he lost mounts because of a delay in confirmation. Forty eight hours before a race all provisional bookings(amber) automatically become definite(green). After this point the jockey is contracted to ride and no approaches can be made by any party to rescind the booking.The jockey could only back out if providing proof of illness.Under this system trainers would not be cused needless last minute worry and stress. With this system in place the episode were Eddie Ahern did not ride your horse would not happen.

Nathan said...

Good results for team Berry this weekend. Congrats to all...

Fiddling The Facts said...

Both Tom Queally and Will Kenneday made bad choices. Will gave up a winning ride and Tom's mount finished behind Silken Thoughts, who was given a great ride by the ever excellent Cathy Gannon. Two very good runs from the stable's performers to be first and third. Well done trainer!