Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Competing well

Another lovely day.  Today was a great example of my belief that if one thinks that racing horses is a matter of winning or losing, one's missing the point.  It's a matter of competing well or not competing well - and it's perfectly possible that two (or more) horses can compete well in the same race, while obviously only one of them can win (particularly now that photo-finishes can separate horses to a margin of less than a millimetre).  I'd say that three horses competed well in our race at Lingfield today - and Roy Rocket, although he didn't win and didn't finish second, was one of them.  And that left us feeling very proud and very pleased.

We had five rivals today, of whom three could boast little solid form, while two had been doing very well recently, the favourite Fitzwilly having won well under William Kennedy in a juvenile hurdle at Market Rasen before running two good placings in staying Flat races, and Noor Al Haya having run a few places in addition to winning over two miles two starts ago.  And the result was that those two horses plus Roy (who'd never been placed previously and who was clearly a lot less seasoned than the other principals) fought out the finish, a fair way clear of the rest.  Roy came off third best, beaten just under three lengths, but he did everything right in the race, ran straight and true all the way to the line, and would have finished a couple of lengths closer but for being checked quite badly coming down the hill.

The brahma was that the horse who interfered with Roy was our former inmate Ollie, who ran a very disappointing fifth (and who can't be blamed for cutting across so sharply in front of Roy - he was wearing blinkers, so wouldn't have seen Roy on his girths).  Ollie (pictured here in today's blissful summer weather) is slow and lazy, but everything that he used to do here suggested that he'd thrive as the distances increased.  He duly stepped up for his new stable on his first start at a mile and a half recently when finishing second (in an admittedly desperately weak), coming off the bridle mid-race but whacking away to plug on for second.  He looked nailed on to improve again for today's further step up in trip - but, having moved into second halfway up the straight, he knocked up really badly in the final furlong.  I hope that he's OK, as he's a lovely, sweet little horse, and one's always concerned when one sees a horse shorten stride that badly in the closing stages.

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