Thursday, April 25, 2013

Justice moves with jaw-dropping and unprecedented speed

Gee, we've had plenty of news today.  Well, we haven't really, as we've arguably only had news on one subject (well, that's not true, but within racing it is) but, on that one subject, we've had three years' worth of news in one day.  We've all become very accustomed to racing's god of justice moving in very mysterious, and even slower, ways.  And when the offences which have taken place involve a breaking of the laws of the land, as well as of the rules of racing, the case is handed over to the police (ie Kieren Fallon, who turned out not to be guilty anyway - or, one might say, the use of drugs which aren't licensed for use on animals in the EC) which takes even longer.

In 2002 I trained a horse who tested positive to a stimulant (theobromine, a derivative of caffeine) which did not affect his performance (he finished tailed off - so if it had affected his performance, ie had stimulated him, I dread to think how badly he would have run without it) and about which neither I nor my staff knew anything.  Caffeine is present in every cup of tea or coffee we drink, or every square of chocolate we eat, and it is inevitable that from time to time there will be a positive theobromine test, simply because caffeine is everywhere.

Anyway, this was as neglible a dope-test case as you could imagine, and any time spent in investigation was time wasted as there was nothing to find out - and yet it went
on for months as the coppers nosed around forever before presenting their and my findings (which were that there was no explanation, and for which I was duly fined).  Compare and contrast, as they say, with this week: the test results of the most major doping case of my lifetime came through on Monday - and it was all wrapped up in an afternoon three days later.  Couldn't be better, what?

Well, no, I rather fear that it could have been done better.  This debacle has put racing on the ropes and it has put Sheikh Mohammed on the ropes.  And what both racing and Sheikh Mohammed needed was to be exonerated.  Well, for sure one could argue that exoneration has taken place - but could one say that it has taken place after lengthy and thorough investigation and consideration?  In other words, has it taken place in a way which will make the man on the Clapham Omnibus believe that the findings are worth more than the paper they're written on, or will he just feel that there's been a show-trial and a white-wash?  Well, I'll leave you to decide your answer to that one yourself.

To happier news - well, we did have a lucky break this morning (over and above the fact that the sun shone throughout another warm day, after a slightly murky start).  On Monday I entered dear little Grand Liaison for the National Hunt jockeys v. Flat jockeys handicap at Sandown on Saturday, the race which Silken Thoughts won last year under Aidan Coleman.  When the entries came out and I saw that she was #21 in a race in which 12 horses would get a run, I felt that she was odds-on not to get in.  I had lined up fall-back options next Wednesday at Ascot or Pontefract - but this morning we received the pleasant surprise that she had scraped in as saddle-cloth 12, as only 20 of the 35 entrants were declared.

So that's lovely: it's the race I'd selected for her resumption and - win, lose or draw - it's a great meeting for owners or trainers to attend as competitors. We'll be competing against Aidan Coleman this time, which is a pity, but we should be OK anyway as we've drawn the excellent James Doyle - even if the trainer happiest with the outcome will surely be Gary Moore, who has drawn his son Ryan.  In truth, though, there will be 12 top-class hoops in the race, so you'd be happy with any of them.  If the horse is good enough, any of those jockeys would be good enough - so let's hope that our little filly, pictured here under Lucinda on Monday, is good enough to complete her four-timer.

4 comments:

Alan March said...

Sadly, I'm in the cover up, whitewash and scapegoat camp John. All down to one man? Vets who don't know what they are injecting? Really? And does the buck stop with Al Zarooni, or the manager who appointed him and is quick to deflect blame?

David Winter said...

John

This has happened too fast, too shallow and smacks of carpets and sweeping [sic].
Surely after the incidents last April with the "pain killers" Simon Crisford should have checked on a regular basis that Al Zarooni was performing in a profesional manner. I feel he should fall on his sword [ scimitar] as ultimately he is responsible for Godolphin's overall performance. To say he can't be responsible for every medication a horse is given is missing the point. Surely the Al Zarooni winning ratio of 39% must have given cause for surprise at the least especially as he was working with similar material to Bin suroor.

David Winter said...

John

This has happened too fast, too shallow and smacks of carpets and sweeping [sic].
Surely after the incidents last April with the "pain killers" Simon Crisford should have checked on a regular basis that Al Zarooni was performing in a profesional manner. I feel he should fall on his sword [ scimitar] as ultimately he is responsible for Godolphin's overall performance. To say he can't be responsible for every medication a horse is given is missing the point. Surely the Al Zarooni winning ratio of 39% must have given cause for surprise at the least especially as he was working with similar material to Bin suroor.

David Winter said...

John

This has happened too fast, too shallow and smacks of carpets and sweeping [sic].
Surely after the incidents last April with the "pain killers" Simon Crisford should have checked on a regular basis that Al Zarooni was performing in a profesional manner. I feel he should fall on his sword [ scimitar] as ultimately he is responsible for Godolphin's overall performance. To say he can't be responsible for every medication a horse is given is missing the point. Surely the Al Zarooni winning ratio of 39% must have given cause for surprise at the least especially as he was working with similar material to Bin suroor.