Thursday, August 29, 2013

Whingeing poms

Another good run yesterday at Carlisle from Ethics Girl (seen cantering happily to post under Franny Norton).  We see it so often that the older horses are vulnerable to the unexposed youngsters, and so yesterday's race was duly won (by five lengths) by the only three-year-old in the race.  Ethics ran well in behind him: there was a bunch of four relatively close pursuers - comprising three horses who had won easily last time out and Ethics Girl - and she came off third in this four-horse race, ie fourth in the race.

She'd have been beaten half a length and the same in this race for second place, but actually was beaten a bit more than that as we were squeezed out on the rail in the final 20m by the third horse shifting in.  Still, she ran well on a lovely surface, proper "good fast ground"; and if this lovely weather persists, she should get another bite at another cherry in another coupleof weeks - and we've just got to hope that we don't run up against another young 'rod in a pickle' (as people used to say, but seem no longer to say nowadays).

It's so tough, this handicap system: there's just so little incentive for people to race these most admirable of horses, because the tough, genuine exposed old handicapper, whose connections are always trying and who always tries, is always going to be vulnerable to the younger, well-handicapped improver - and the financial system of the sport means that one ends up with precious little to show for a series of good, genuine runs - and yesterday's run was yet another good, genuine run.  Ah well.

Still, we won't complain, particularly because there's already been enough complaining this week.  And I'm thinking particularly about the communal British wailing, gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands which has followed the announcement that the yanks aren't, after all, going to make two-year-old races at the Breeders' Cup Meeting Lasix-free.  I am, as you may have gathered, very, very anti-medication, far more anti-medication than nearly all other British trainers - but, really, in the greater scheme of things, does this Breeders' Cup thing matter at all?  In other words, does anyone give a s**t, other than those who haven't thought it through.

Point one to make is that this doesn't create an uneven playing field.  Every horse running in the races is allowed to have a shot of a powerful diuretic (which appears to help a horse to run faster, which is understandable as he's thus carrying a lot less fluid) a few hours before the race.  (And no horseman/woman is forced to give his/her horse a shot.)  And point two is that, compared to the other unnatural things which are allowed to be done to imperfect horses to try to make them run faster, a pre-race diuretic isn't really a big deal.  If we're worrying about muddying the waters of the selection process for the breeding shed, should we really be worrying too much that we're favouring horses who respond disproportionately well to a diuretic?

This really isn't a big deal when one considers that horses are allowed to run in these races, races which identify the sires of the future, after having had wind operations; after having had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from fetlock or knee joints, chips which have formed as a result either of the horse's innate unsoundness or of the trainer's ineptness (or both); with long-lasting cortico-steroid anti-inflammatories in their fetlock and knee joints which lessen the discomfort resultant from the horse's inability to cope with the work he's been doing, etc.

There'll be plenty of British runners, both at the Breeders' Cup and at every British race-meeting, who come into at least one of these categories (although not from this stable) - and, under the circumstances, I don't think that Britons in general are in any position whatsoever to look down on any racing jurisdiction simply because it allows horses to receive a diuretic on race-morning.

On a more positive note, the weather remains lovely, as today's photographs (ie all bar the one in the first paragraph, which was taken yesterday) show.

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

well i didn't see that coming given your position on drugs

however i can see where you come from

seems to me this is a case of small steps

how about no drugs in any race run on turf anywhere in the world

as one of the big arguments of the pro drug lobby is the regime on dirt is too severe a test for thoroughbreds what would the respone be to a turf drugs ban?

anyway onto the blog title i am a pom and i whinge where have the oz found the giant with the tree for a bat it aint fair whinge whinnge whinge

other matter is there a better pure wicket keeper man or woman than englands sarah taylor ?