Thursday, December 11, 2014

Makes no sense at all

I haven't written anything on here for a while, and the fact that we haven't been having any runners is barely a quarter of an excuse.  As I'm quoted in the Racing Post today, though, on the matter of gastric ulcers, I probably ought to write a brief chapter tonight, not least to put in a request to see if anyone knows what I was supposedly talking about. Apparently I said (among several other sentences which are easy to understand), "There is no question of the BHA frowning on its use because it doesn't unnaturally build a horse up, or make them unnaturally strong, or unnaturally better able to thrive on his work".  I wouldn't go so far as to say that I didn't say that, but will content myself with observing that it's such a disaster of a sentence that it's just the sort of drivel I might well have said if I had been on my second bottle of Scotch of the morning - and with asking if anyone knows what it means, please?

This takes us neatly on to the last time I commented on here on the subject of the rules.  This took place after Russian Link had run at Fontwell, in a race in which a horse fell on the bend, and the jockey who was penalized for causing the fall was deemed guilty of "careless" riding.  Anyway, I observed that it seems to be the norm that interference which is knowingly and intentionally committed is generally filed away by the stewards as 'accidental' interference coming from 'careless' riding.  I didn't find too many people telling me that I was wrong, although one pundit on Twitter seemed to think that I was being harsh on the jockey in question.

(I actually take the direct opposite view, that it was the pundit who was being harsh on the jockey - as were the stewards - by saying that he might have caused the interference carelessly, accidentally and unwittingly: good jockeys know exactly what they are doing and don't ride around in a dream, so I feel that it's under-estimating their competence to go on about 'careless riding' and 'accidental interference' - not, of course, that they mind this slight, because it brings the happy consolation of meaning that they receive shorter suspensions than ought to be the case.)

Anyway (and I'll get to the point now) I was consequently very pleased to read an article in the Racing Post a week or two later in which Paul Hanagan made exactly the same point - and he's probably qualified (ie more qualified than me) to ruminate on the subject.  And he has more time to ruminate on the subject, because he has plenty of time on his hands while he recuperates from the injuries which he sustained when his mount was brought down in a pile-up at Wolverhampton a month or so ago.  The gist of his views is that the stewards are far too lenient in their policing of races, far to quick to avoid apportioning blame for interference and falls, and have thus created a breed of young jockeys who ride with far less regard for safety than they should, simply because they know that ruthless riding increases their chance of passing the post front without significantly increasing the chance of their mount being disqualified.

To move on to a different aspect of falls, I am sad to say that Britain's most famous patient, Jamie Insole, is not our only injured jockey at present: another of our riders, Paddy Aspell broke his wrist in a fall at Kempton on Monday night - which might surprise you as, compare and contrast with Jamie's case, he has managed to sustain this injury without finding himself in the glare of publicity.  It certainly surprised me as I watched RUK's coverage of Kempton that night and was given no hint that this might have happened.  The fall took place off-camera, and I didn't even pick up that he'd had a fall, never mind that he'd been injured in it.

The irony was that earlier that day I'd looked to see which days Paddy would be race-riding this week, as I was planning to ask him to ride Senator Matt through the stalls one day, as preparation for him riding him on his debut at Kempton on 22nd December.  That plan obviously fell through, but I was lucky to find another of our very good, very helpful and very under-used local jockeys, Robert Tart, able to oblige.  You can see him and Senator Matt this morning in this paragraph - and in the earlier paragraphs you can see some pictures taken over the past few days on the occasions when our very up-and-down weather has been relatively pleasant (if, admittedly, cold).

1 comment:

M Anderson said...

Great photos as ever John.