Thursday, October 03, 2013

A long day and a wasted journey - but no harm done

A long day, but not a hard one.  Newcastle and back in a day is a fair trek, but happily I wasn't driving today which made life much easier: in fact, so easy that I read nearly all of the current Dick/Felix Francis paperback 'Bloodline', and still had time for an hour's sleep between Doncaster and Catterick.  The icing on the cake would have been if the horse (Gift Of Silence, pictured going down before and coming back after the race) had run well, but she didn't.  Neither did her fellow-grey travelling companion Almost Gemini, neither of them being seen to best effect on the very fast ground.  Mind you, I'd thought for much of the journey that we might have been going to encounter very soft ground, as it rained all the way from Newmarket to just south of Newcastle.  But Gosforth Park, in the outer northern suburbs of Newcastle, managed to miss this deluge, despite being heavily overhung with gloomy grey clouds and buffeted by damp winds all afternoon.

In one sense, it would have been a cock-up had the ground eased, because Zarosa had been entered, but not declared because of the overwhelming likelihood of fast ground.  I was facing up to feeling stupid, but as it turned out it was the right decision: if Gift Of Silence, who won at Yarmouth on fast ground two starts ago, was unsuited by the ground, Zarosa would have really disliked it.  We've probably been led astray by Gift Of Silence's win on fast ground, because basically she is better with some cut underfoot.  When she won, she recorded a Topspeed figure of 54, and she then recorded a figure of 51 the next time on similar ground - whereas her best figure is 70, recorded on slow ground in May when she was beaten a head by Qanan over a mile.

She can gallop OK on fast ground, has won a maiden handicap on it over six furlongs, and I'd be happy to run her on it again under certain circumstances (ie in a weak race) - but she is better on softer ground, and on today's very fast surface she just couldn't gallop fast enough.  Still, no harm done; but let's just hope for a better run tomorrow.  And as regards the ground tomorrow, I've no idea what Russian Link's preference will be.  So tomorrow might be instructive, if nothing else.  Our former inmate Platinum Proof (pictured on Side Hill 362 days ago) ought to have a very good chance in the second at Southwell (on last year's form over an extended mile he's only a pound off being top-rated on Topspeed, and he really should be a better horse now as an autumn three-year-old, over and above being considerably better suited by tomorrow's mile and a half) so let's hope for a mighty double for horses who have spent part of their racing careers in this stable.  One's got to live in hope!

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

Stalls are a farce currently if you are well behaved you are penalised
It would seem to me that several things ought to happen firstly some races should be run without stalls each week to serve those who can't cope
The loading order should be preset ie one in first two second etc possibly against any perceived draw bias where there is large field say twelve plus load one and seven first etc
The number of opportunities should be limited for entry first go led in second go with a shove third go hood or whatever after that you are out
Also because some horses will struggle to cope with this the all weather tracks should be encouraged to run repeated stalls trials on days when racing is not taking place
I find it very frustrating to see horse x ridden by top jock trained by important man forever going in last whereas ten pound claimer from small stable frets its chance away waiting for the highbrow entry to deign to play