Friday, May 10, 2013

Evapotranspirational brahmae

Gee, we're getting off lightly.  This very unsettled weather hasn't really worked its way over to this side of the country.  Well, it has as regards wind (today was really windy, so much so that I've postponed galloping some horses until tomorrow, as it just wouldn't have been fair to ask them to gallop into that headwind up the Al Bahathri) but not as regards rain: I doubt that we've had a millimetre over the past couple of days, while anyone who has seen Chester will know that they've had plenty over there.  While if you look at these photographs from this morning, you'll know that it was rather splendid here.

Frankie has had a couple of entries.  He was in at Wincanton yesterday, but the ground ("good to firm, firm in places", with astonishingly high Goingstick readings of 10.2 on the 'chase course and 10.3 on the hurdles track) made it a no-brainer for me not to want to run him there.  Much to my surprise, plenty of people took a different view with their jumpers.  There were 13 runners in the race which we declined to contest (described by the Racing Post as "run in near gale force conditions on very quick ground) which surprised me - although the fact that five of them were pulled up suggests that giving the race a miss probably wasn't a bad idea.

As it is, he'll now run on Sunday at Worcester.  The ground is currently described as "good, good to firm in places", so that should be fine.  More disconcerting is the fact that, apparently, there has been "33.3mm (+2.5mm) of moisture lost to evapotranspiration in the last 10 days".  Does anyone have any idea what this means?  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Are there any linguists reading this who can translate this into English before Sunday so that I can head off to Worcester with something like a vague idea of what has been happening there?  (And this pronoucement prompts the observation that poor David Hunter is the one who is accused of giving weird bulletins, and yet this is far, far stranger than anything David's ever posted on Fakenham's site).

Just another brahma from Worcester.  The day had one of the races which annoy me: a race is left blank in the calendar, so that trainers can suggest conditions for a race, which will be framed two weeks before the race.  This is ludicrous.  It's just a recipe for ensuring that nobody runs in the race.  Good trainers generally have some degree of forward planning in their strategies.  I tend not to do my planning at the programme book stage (ie a couple of months before the race) but the calendar comes out four weeks before the race, and from this one gets some sort of idea of what options one has coming up.

So a race which doesn't exist at this stage is unlikely to appear on the radar of anyone's future plans.  It's so silly anyway.  People shouldn't only be thinking about race-planning a couple of weeks before the meeting takes place.  If one looks through the programme book a month or two before the event and realises that there's a scarcity of one type of race coming up, then that is the time to highlight this deficiency to the authorities.  But only coming to this conclusion once the calendar has been published is ridiculous, and pandering to the disorganised trainers at the expense of their more professional counterparts.

The true brahma came at a recent Lingfield AW meeting which featured small fields all the way through.  The smallest field of the day, inevitably, came in one of these last-minute races.  Apparently whatever its conditions were (10 furlong fillies' handicap, say) were ones which no fewer than four trainers had requested - and (strange but true) not one of these four trainers had a runner in it.  The whole process smacks of unprofessionalism all the way through - and the race in this category at Worcester on Sunday is even odder than usual: it closed on Monday but was then scrapped and re-opened at a different distance, with this new race closing on Wednesday.  I hardly need add that it has attracted the smallest field of the day - which one suspects might get smaller still between now and post-time, as three of the seven declared runners are from the same stable.  I blame evapotranspiration myself.

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