Sunday, June 16, 2013

Every day is like Sunday

Another summer Sunday.  Which is OK, other than that we'd have liked to have gone to Doncaster with Zarosa.  I've read and heard a lot spoken recently (mostly by Dale Gibson) about non-runners, saying how terrible they are because they hit jockeys hard financially.  However, what's the option?  Not declaring the horse in the first place - and that would only hit jockeys harder.  A jockey has, after all, more chance of collecting a riding fee from a horse if he is declared to run than if he isn't!  I'd love to have run Zarosa (pictured in this paragraph making the most of her unintended day off) today, and so would her owner Roger Vicarage, especially as she's in great form and she was in a race in which she, on her right ground, would have been hard to beat.

However, she's clearly shown that the softer the ground, the more she relishes it.  This is very easy to understand as watching her one can see that she brings her front legs up high as she gallops, and riding her one can feel her hitting the ground hard, even at the canter.  I've only ever galloped her on the Polytrack and that, a lovely giving surface, always feels a bit firmer than she'd like.  So running her on ground firmer than good would both minimize the chances of her winning and maximize the chances of her coming home sore.  So why did we declare, as the ground was good to firm at declaration time, and good to firm this afternoon?

Well, earlier this week we'd seen the two-miler at Nottingham on Thursday run on soft ground, when it had been good to firm on the morning of the race, and the two-miler at Chepstow on Friday run on good to soft ground when it had been firm at declaration time with negligible rain forecast.  It was galling to have foregone those two options - so on Friday, when it was good to firm at Doncaster but the forecast predicted that there could be up to 9mm of rain falling there in the next 48 hours, we had to take the chance and declare.  That, at least, would give us a chance of running (and a jockey a chance of collecting a riding fee), whereas if we didn't declare, such chances immediately dropped to 0%.

Anyway, I think that they had about 3mm of rain, the ground remained at good to firm, and we didn't run.  As our jockey knew all along would be the case if the ground remained faster than good.  The decision was taken around 8.30 this morning once the going conditions had been re-confirmed.  Our jockey was immediately told that we wouldn't be running so he wouldn't have a wasted journey, and Weatherbys were informed shortly afterwards (at 8.57).  Have we done anything wrong, other than (a) give the filly every chance to run and (b) resist the temptation to run her when the chances of her both running below form and jarring up were unacceptably high?  I know that one can't please all the people all the time, but I'd be disappointed if our actions are deemed by anyone to be unacceptable.

On the subject of pleasing all the people, I'd imagine that all the people who read Steve Dennis' four articles on evening racing (at Windsor,Yarmouth, Kempton, and Sandown) in recent Racing Posts were more than pleased.  They were outstanding  This was feature-writing at its best: you'd never see anyone more perfectly sum up the loveliness of Windsor on a summer's Monday evening or the sheer nothingness of Kempton's evening meetings, fixtures which (for no obvious reason) probably exceed all others as regards complete failure to put on a jolly good show.  Yarmouth from the perspective of Keith Dalgleish's travelling head girl was excellent, as was Sandown seen from an alternative way of observing Frankie's come-back trail.

Of all Steve's many outstanding phrases, the one to take top billing surely had to be "Yarmouth, the coastal town they forgot to close down, although a drive along the seafront before racing leaves the impression that they've just remembered".  Outstanding!  Which brings us nicely along to our Royal Ascot preview, which will be that on Tuesday, aside from Shamexpress (pictured with Paul Kouris twice above) contesting the King's Stand, Exeter Road will have a runner, namely the Don Cantillon-trained La Estrella (great name
for a male horse) in the Ascot Stakes, from which the startling total of 35 horses were eliminated.  Odd choice of race for a horse who is reputed to have bad tendons, but there'll be method in Don's apparent madness.  (Probably doesn't do any harm, if one regularly runs a good horse in sellers or claimers and one doesn't want to lose him, to overplay his potential for tendon trouble).

Anyway, what's the connection?  Don, of course.  Am I the only person to think that he bears more than a slight resemblance to Morrissey?  I put this to RUK a couple of years ago when they were asking for look-alike suggestions, and Don kindly posed for a photo (and even started singing 'You have never been in love ...' when I explained to him what it was all about) as the channel didn't have a picture of him.  It all rather fell flat as Richi Persad was presenting the show and he'd never heard of Morrissey - and then they put the picture of Don taken the previous day alongside one of Morrissey taken 30 years previously.  Don and Morrissey would be about the same age and my point was that Don in 2011 looked slightly similar to Morrissey in 2011 - not to Morrissey in 1981!  Mind you, this cock-up probably made a minor brahma more brahmatic than would have otherwise been the case.

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

Loving the photos
When dale Gibson pays the training fees he can comment on non runners till he does he should refrain from whinging you can't run on the wrong ground its pointless end of debate
It takes a lot to get a horse ready to race it is guttiing to all connections when you have to pull out