Friday, July 18, 2014

Either/or - ludicrous

Of our three runners in a week (Thursday last week to Wednesday this week) two were at evening meetings and one was in the afternoon.  Evening racing really does take it out of you, so I'm very pleased that the two evening meetings were relatively local (Epsom 100 miles from here, Yarmouth 70 miles from here) while the most distant one (Catterick, 195 miles from here) was in the afternoon.  But for which I'd be even tireder than I am now.  (And you can tell how tired I am, with my coming up with a word like 'tireder', when 'more tired' would surely be less inelegant).

And I am indeed tired now, very tired - not least because we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm at 4.30 this morning (Friday).  Even running at 3.30 in the afternoon at Catterick means a late night, so I began yesterday extremely tired, and  I was really looking forward to plenty of sleep last night - but, with one of our three dogs (Bean, seen in the first paragraph this evening, having regained her composure) being very frightened of thunder and lightning, that did not come to pass.  Tomorrow will be a very late night too, with Gift Of Silence set to run in the 8.15 at Lingfield which means that I won't be knocking off until around midnight, and that's already on my mind this evening - so I fear that I'm going to run out of energy tonight before it's time to head up to the July Course to take advantage of my first, and almost certainly last, opportunity to hear Brian Wilson sing.  Ah well, that's life: one can't do everything. We've always known that.

The great thing about today has been that, although it started raining at around 4.45 this morning after the thunder and lightning had been frightening us for quarter of an hour and rained for around two hours, we've ended up with a terrific day: it was still very warm even when it was raining, while this afternoon and evening have been 30 degrees, with a very warm breeze and plenty of sunshine.  Tomorrow, though, is forecast to feature thunderstorms and heavy rain in various (unspecified, of course) parts of Great Britain - and therein lies the uncertainty.  There should be no doubt about Gift Of Silence's participation on the AW at Lingfield tomorrow night (provided that she doesn't do anything really stupid in the stalls, which she's never done yet; but it could happen one day as she isn't good in them, as she isn't very patient) but I've declared Zarosa for Recar on Sunday and (I'll whisper this) that means that we might have another non-runner.

With Indira (non-runner at Beverley on Tuesday) it was easy: we had 'our' ground at declaration time, so we could declare happily - and if the ground changed (as the forecast suggested might happen) then we could withdraw without any problems because the ground had changed, notwithstanding that the forecast had strongly suggested that it would change.  With Zarosa at Redcar on Sunday, though, the situation is very different: we don't have 'our' ground at all today as she likes soft ground and it's currently pretty quick up there, but the forecast strongly suggests that it will ease markedly in advance of her race.  They are expecting thunderstorms tomorrow up there, with rainfall possibly in excess of 20mm, so we'd be mad not to have declared her.

But if the forecast is wrong (and forecasts tend to be wrong about six days a week) and they don't get significant rainfall, then we clearly don't want to be heading up to Redcar.  So what would we do in that case?  What we wouldn't be able to do would be to withdraw on account of the ground (unless we took her on the 440-mile round trip, which would be a very expensive expression of madness, bearing in mind that we would be planning not to run) because, even though the ground would clearly be very different from what one would expect from reading the course's ground and weather updates, the ground wouldn't have changed from what it was at declaration time, so that option wouldn't apply.  She would (fingers crossed) have nothing wrong with her, so she wouldn't be coming out on a vet's certificate.  So "self-certificate (ground)" is what it would be.

And therein is the nub.  One is only allowed a finite number of self-certificates, and even those few attract criticism from the casual by-stander.  But we can live with that.  But what is annoying is that, after we have perfectly justifiably declared for Redcar on Sunday, if the rain doesn't come and we don't run at Redcar, we wouldn't be permitted to run her in her next possible race, a two-miler at Chepstow on Friday (and, as we know, it generally rains in Wales).  It's difficult.  At declaration time this morning, I knew that if I declared her for Redcar on Sunday, she would not be able to run at Chepstow on Friday come what may.

If the forecast rain does indeed arrive at Redcar, that's no inconvenience, because if she runs at Redcar on Sunday over 14 furlongs, I won't want to back up over two miles at Chepstow five days later.  But if the forecast rain does not arrive at Redcar but it ends up being wet at Chepstow seven days from now (and don't ask me whether that is or isn't going to happen, because it's impossible to get a worthwhile 7-day weather forecast) she wouldn't be allowed to run in her perfect conditions, which would be bloody annoying.  That's madness - but that's the rules, I'm afraid.

So this morning I had to make a decision as to which meeting has a greater chance of providing cut in the ground: Redcar two days from now or Chepstow seven days from now.  It's ludicrous that I should be in an either/or situation, basing my choice on my best guess as to weather patterns which even professional meteorologists can't predict.  It shouldn't be an either/or situation at all.  I've declared her at Redcar, so if she runs there, I won't want to run her at Chepstow; and if she doesn't, she won't be allowed to run at Chepstow.  Absurd.  So she won't be entered for Chepstow (whose entries close tomorrow, six days in advance of the race). I'm obviously hoping that Redcar ends up on the soft side on Sunday - but, having opted for Redcar in this ridiculous either/or situation, I'm hoping even more keenly that it doesn't end up wet at Chepstow!

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

Yes its stupid yes its ridiculous but until we have declared reserves for any over subscribed race it will always be so
If you declare and take the place of a balloted out horse who wants to run and then pull out on ground grounds then I for one if the ballotted horses owner would be seriously *******off if I could declare as a reserve I would be happier
Where there is no over declaration then frankly the only losers are punters/bookies and honestly - even though I am one of the above - in the great scheme of things are frankly irrelevant - so what does it matter in the end horses first rest a long way back
And by the way glad to see you borrowed my strap line for your last blog