Sunday, June 09, 2013


When the weather becomes very good out at sea, the ship becomes becalmed.  The weather has become good here (well, not strictly true as we've been overcast over the weekend and consequently colder, but basically it's settled and dry, and was lovely through the week, as you can see) and I feel that we've become becalmed.  We have a tiny string 'to go to war with' as the journoes would say and the majority of them don't want to be running on fast ground.  So that leaves us with just a handful (well, a fingerful, ie one, ie Ethics Girl) who has her preferred conditions at present.  And she, of course, won't be running for another 17 days - by which time, naturally, the heavens will have opened.

I was exhausted come Saturday.  We'd had runners on five of seven days and that really took it out of me.  Tommy at Lingfield on the Saturday (1st June, Derby Day).  Ethics Girl at Fakenham on the Sunday.  Monday clear.  Tuesday Gift Of Silence at Yarmouth.  Wednesday clear.  Annia Galeria at Thirsk on Thursday (pictured in paragraph one); and Grand Liaison at Newmarket on Friday (pictured in paragraph two).  Of those five, only Ethics Girl and Annia are fast-ground horses.  And of that pair, Ethics is the only one still in training: Annia came over here as a last resort, her racing days in Jersey having come to an end, and now that we've run her in peak condition under her perfect conditions and she's finished halfway down, seven lengths off the winner, it's clear that she's now ready for a career change.

So I don't think that we'll have a runner this coming week.  Zarosa (pictured here on the Al Bahathri on Friday) was entered today at Nottingham, an option which we didn't take up because of the fine weather and consequent dry track; and she'll have an entry on Friday and another one on Sunday (ie seven days hence) but we'll need a change in the weather for those to provide suitable options.  It might happen, but I won't hold my breath.  It could well be the case that Ethics Girl at Carlisle on 26th June is our next runner - particularly as I won't be in a hurry to send out either Grand Liaison or Gift Of Silence again, having run them on ground which they didn't enjoy this week - which isn't a great thing to be saying on 9th June, but there you go: becalmed.

Mind you, one could have been questioning the decision not to go to Nottingham today with Zarosa, bearing in mind that the official going description was 'good, good to firm in places', which implied that the ground was very close to being good (which common sense suggested was impossible, as the weather has been very  dry) - and, although she's happier when the ground is softer than good, there's no reason not to run her on good ground.  However - and I'm not at all endorsing the treasure trove which is the data provided by the Going Stick - the Going Stick reading suggested that we were wise not to be there.  Today's Going Stick reading at Nottingham was 9.0, and here are some others from the past couple of seasons - and remember that the lower the reading, the wetter the track.

7.7 - good to firm
7.7 - good to firm (good to firm in places)
7.5 - good to firm
8.2 - good to firm (good in places)
7.4 - good to firm (good in places)
7.3 - good to firm
8.4 - good to firm (firm in places)
7.6 - good to firm (firm in places)
7.1 - good to firm
7.9 - good to firm (firm in places)
7.1 - good to firm
7.9 - good to firm (firm in places)
7.7 - good to firm
5.9 - soft (good to soft in places)
6.8 - good to soft
6.2 - soft (heavy in places)
9.3 - good to firm (firm in places)
7.2 - good to soft
7.0 - good to soft (soft in places)
7.4 - good (good to soft in places)
7.9 - good (good to firm in places)
8.9 - good to firm
8.1 - good
7.2 - soft (good to soft in places)
8.1 - good (good to soft in places)
8.6 - good (good to firm in places)
8.4 - good (changed to good to soft during racing)
7.7 - good to soft (good in places)
7.7 - soft
9.0 - good (good to firm in places (today).

So what can we conclude (other than that Going Stick readings aren't worth the paper they're written on)?  9.00 apparently is softer than 7.1?  7.9 is good to firm (firm in places) and is also good (good to firm in places)?  7.7 is both soft and good to firm?  Soft (heavy in places) is softer than soft (good to soft in places)?  Well, of course the only lesson is that time spent taking or contemplating Going Stick readings is time wasted - but, even saying that, I think that, when taken in conjunction with the fact that common sense says that the ground had to be reasonably firm today, the 9.0 Going Stick reading suggests that we pulled the right rein in not taking her up there to be beaten and jarred up today.  So instead she spent the afternoon in the field with Ethics Girl, as you can see - and, as you can also see, its dry underfoot there too.

Final thought for the night: the video of the ride at Ripon which earned Raul de Silva a 12-day suspension is surely another piece of evidence which Eddie Ahern will tender in his appeal against the severity of his penalty (10 years' disqualification).  Especially as Raul's mount, unlike Judgethemoment, was a horse who might have won if ridden better.

1 comment:

David Winter said...

Can somebody tell the ignorant racegoer why the going stick information isn't calibrated to a set standard that reflects the approprite number with a set going....why is this so difficult .?....surely, if the stick is uniformly made it will replicate the same number in any part of the country !!!
I am thinking that it isn't the stick that is at fault: more likely the scurrilos clerk of the course anxious as ever to maximise the field numbers.What is sickening ( as I use the word advisedly ) for the owner and trainer is the waste of time and money in transporting an animal, maybe a couple of hundred miles, on false information. The costs inherent in racing are inconvienient enough
without the sport itself inflicting unnecessary pain as an
addendum. A case could be made that half of Mr Berry's week was wasted : what other sport or business would act in such a selfish manner.
Maybe we should send the owners to visit the errant clerks to explain why they have a trainers transport bill for £200 to race on totally unsuitable ground unding up with a jarred up horse !!!!. Who would be a trainer ????