Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sign of the times

I have a theory that one is better off buying young fillies than young colts because, if the horse achieves something, the filly will have some sort of value at the end of her racing career, while a colt (who will presumably be a gelding by that stage) won't, irrespective of how well he has done. However, currently this theory doesn't seem to hold water (although I hope that this is only a temporary situation, because one hopes that the bottom which has recently fallen out of the breeding market will return at some point when racing and the country's general economy return to something like health). I found out just how little water the theory holds yesterday when Anis Etoile (pictured returning to the winner's enclosure after a bumper at Uttoxeter in 2009) failed to attract a bid at Ascot Sales, despite boasting a decent pedigree (she is a half-sister to the stakes-placed hurdler Serpentaria and her dam is multiple-winning half-sister to the Ascot Gold Cup winner Celeric) to go with her National Hunt victory. A year or two ago she would definitely have had a value as a National Hunt broodmare - but now, 'no bid'. I am pleased to say that she has subsequently found herself a good home as a National Hunt broodmare in Ireland, where she could well breed a high-class jumper, so the story does at least have a happy ending. But, even so, it is still a sad indictment of the times.

Still, things could be worse. For instance, one could find oneself booked to ride a horse in a steeplechase whose form figures read PPUUU. That's the fate which befell poor William on Monday. The same horse's form figures, predictably, now read PPUUUU. This was the horse's first run for over six months, I presume because of a rule which dictates that a horse who fails to complete the course on five consecutive occasions can't run for another six months. Anyway, the statutory six months of intensive schooling produced the result one would expect: the horse appeared to jump the first OK, but then blundered at the second, blundered at the third and blundered at the fourth, at which point a (presumably relieved that the ordeal was about to end) William fell off. But you can read all that in the Racing Post - to get the true lowdown on William's day, however, you have to read his thoughts on Twitter. If you do, you'll know that he cheered himself up in the evening by eating fish pie.

I'm particularly enjoying the twitterings of William (seen here mentally composing a tweet while riding Alcalde earlier in the winter) now that James Main's trial in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' star chamber has finished. Unfortunately it appears to have had neither a happy nor a just ending. Admittedly James Main was also guilty of falsifying his records which is a serious matter but, surely, not one for which a vet should be struck off - but his principal crime appears to have been doing what his client asked him to do by giving the horse a drug which isn't illegal and which isn't harmful. It isn't against the rules of racing (nor the law of the land) for a horse to be given this drug, only for him/her to run later in the day of its administration - but, if he/she does run after having received this drug, that's the trainer's responsibility, not the vet's. Anyway, that's all water under the bridge now - but as I have said in a previous chapter, the coverage of the trial made for good reading while it lasted. Even if, as with all good soap operas, pretty much none of what was said (under oath, I'd imagine) appeared to be true. And that's the beauty of William's twitterings. You can watch Coronation Street or East Enders, be bored to tears by the inconsequential daily activities of Albert Tatlock, Ena Sharples or Dirty Den, and know that none of it actually happened. You can follow the James Main show trial and know that, while the events happened, the way that they are portrayed bears pretty much no relation to reality whatsoever. Or you can follow William on Twitter (WTKjockey) and know that he is 'telling it like it is'. Right down to the smallest details. The one mercy is that he doesn't appear to twitter when he's sitting on the lavatory. If he had done, I suspect that we'd have heard plenty of tweets from him on Monday morning.


Alan Taylor said...

Out of the closet.
John as to your great knowledge of Coronation Street you are obviously a regular viewer. You may continue to be a closet watcher or offer the excuse that you have to watch it because Emma is an avid Corrie fan.(a catch 22 situation). Surely as a feline lover a mention for Minnie Caldwells cat,Bobbie,would have been appropriate!!!

John Berry said...

Is that the cat on the roof in the opening title sequences?

Alan Taylor said...

As always John your depth of knowledge knows no bounds.Hope some corrie questions appear on your quiz nights. Have you ever had a MENSA rating John. I tend to ignore them as cleverness does not necessarily mean the person has common sense, which I think is the better assett.