Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hard to answer

It was a hard question to answer. After Kadouchski's race yesterday, I was asked if I was disappointed or if I was happy with his run. The answer, of course, was 'Yes' to both parts. When you have the 13/8 favourite in a 10-horse race, it is almost by definition disappointing when he fails to finish in the first half of the field. However, when a horse runs as well as Kadou did yesterday, you can't be unhappy. On studying the field, I altered my assessment of the race from it being slightly more competitive than the one which he had won to significantly more competitive. He was clearly going up both in class and in the ratings (by 6lb) simultaneously, so winning the race was not going to be easy. Thus to be beaten only a length (which would have been his approximate margin of defeat had he not been squeezed out in the final 30m) was clearly a good run. I don't think that I can sum it up any better than the Racing Post's observations: "Mostly tracked leading pair, ridden to challenge over 2f out, soon upsides, looked just held when short of room last 100m and lost place" and "Kadouchski has improved of late, but was found out from this 6lb higher mark in this stronger grade ... However, he was anything but disgraced and there will be easier opportunities than this one on Polytrack." So that was that.

I don't like to sound wise after the event, but if I'd had a bet in the race (which I didn't) I'd have backed the winner. We were clearly only one of several live chances in the race, and the shortest-priced of them. I thought that the claims of Mohanad were at least as strong, while his SP (15/2) was considerably more appealing. Not only had he fared far better in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham on his most recent outing (he'd finished 12th of 22 in a race in which Kadouchski wouldn't be nearly good enough even to get a run) than Kadou could ever hope to do, but also he had finished second in his four most recent Flat races, including races at Epsom and Goodwood which Kadou clearly wouldn't be good enough to contest. And, more pertinently, he was, to my mind, dropping 5lb in the ratings, courtesy of the 'free' 5lb claim of Harry Bentley (pictured coming on his third winner yesterday, the 20/1 shot Ellie In The Pink). I was on ATR at Yarmouth with Jason Weaver one afternoon last summer and this lad was one of, I think, five apprentices to ride a winner on the card, and he'd looked very competent, if not very polished, there. He'd clearly gone on from that, having ridden plenty of winners in the UAE over the winter, and at present he can be regarded as a senior rider whose mounts carry 5lb less than they ought. Easy, isn't it? (Of course, if it was that easy, I'd have backed at least one the three winners which he rode yesterday - and of course I backed none of them!). Lest, of course, I fall into the trap of hailing the winning rides as the best ones, I should point out that Rab rode Kadou perfectly, as one would expect - and we possibly might have come very close to the winner's enclosure had a jockey less talented than Neil Callan been on the leader Coda Agency, who finished second, beaten a head. Neil has always been a good jockey, but he has been riding like a demon since his winter in Hong Kong, which has clearly done him no harm at all. He gave Coda Agency every chance not to be run down yesterday - while his victory earlier in the afternoon on Understudy came on a horse on whom very few jockeys would have won. And it's not often that one can say that about a winner. So that was our day yesterday - while our day today was straight out of summer.

We'd had three consecutive unseasonably warm days of 18 degrees last week, but today was forecast to be even better, hitting 21. And I have no doubt that we would have reached that mark. Perfect! So I'll leave you with this seeming mid-summer view of Beverley House Stables, taken on 6th April, with Bean, Frankie, Kadou (looking very perky after his day out) and Ex Con (semi-obscured behind the railings) all revelling in the idyllic conditions.

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