Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rules is rules

Thank you for kind feedback comments from the past chapter(s).  No scope for either good or bad feedback from our runner today, Grand Liaison at Leicester, as she's a non-runner.  She thus illustrates the nonsense of people complaining about how supposedly easy it is not to run a horse once declared at the 48-hours stage.  It isn't: it's unnecessarily complicated, as she is demonstrating by heading to Leicester having already been declared a non-runner.  She doesn't like fast ground, so we've set a rule that she won't run if the ground is any firmer than good (ie if the word 'firm' appears).  You have to draw a line somewhere, and that's where we've drawn it.  I generally think that that's a good rule if one has a horse who does not like fast ground.  She's ready for a run and we're very keen to run her, but there's no sense with a fragile horse in making the risk of injury any more higher than it needs to be.

All week the forecast has been for a cold, wet change coming in at the end of the week.  At declaration time on Thursday morning, the ground was 'good to firm, good in places'.  Rain was forecast, and we clearly did not need a lot of it for conditions to come right for us.  It would have been wrong not to declare: our worst nightmare would be not to be in the race, and to turn on the TV this afternoon and see the ground turning soft at a rain-lashed Leicester, which at that point was a live possibility.  Anyway, come this morning it was still 'good to firm, good in places'.  It is currently forecast to start raining there at 5pm, and then to rain all night.  We'd be fine if the race were tomorrow, but that's no good to us.  We've given her every chance to run; and it was, to my mind, the correct course of action to declare her - but the weather has not gone our way, and it would be wrong to run her.

So I withdraw her.  Well, it's not that simple.  I can take her out on a self-certificate (ground) but that would mean that she couldn't run for a week; and there's a race for her at Wolverhampton on Wednesday.  If I just take her out, I am fined for a non-runner.  I can take her out because of ground if (a) the ground has changed since declaration time or (b) she goes to the races.  If the ground had changed (which the forecast suggested that it would do) I would have run her.  The reason why I'm not running her is because the ground hasn't changed - so part (a) does not apply.  So (b) it is - so she's at Leicester at present, which is ludicrous.

In retrospect, I wish I had not declared her as it would have made today easier, but it was clearly the correct thing to do.  We want to run her - and I believe that that is what we are meant to want to do - and there was a live chance of conditions being right for her.  It is just a nonsense.  I'm just pleased that only she has had her day cocked up, and not me, or one of the staff, too!  A local trainer, Denis Quinn, has a runner in the race, and he has been kind enough to take her up there for me, and to show the authorities that she was there.  She'll spend the afternoon in a stable at Leicester, eating hay and dozing.  And then she'll come home, and get home around 9pm.  Ludicrous.  But rules is rules, I suppose, whether they are good rules or bad rules.  And rules must be obeyed.

On which subject, there is one very good rule, ie the one which makes sure that we don't go down the road of running all the races over short distances.  The specifics are that each programme must contain (at least) two races beyond mile, and that the total length of two of the races beyond a mile must be at least two and a half miles.  It's a good rule, and it's good that it's enforced.  Well - sort of enforced.  Redcar on Thursday has one 5-furlong race, two 6-furlong races, two 7-furlong races, one 8-furlong race, and one 9-furlong race.  And that's it.  For God's sake!  Makes me feel a real mug for having gone to all this trouble to adhere to the letter of the rules in withdrawing this mare this afternoon.  Why bother?

1 comment:

M Anderson said...

Ridiculous that she has to travel up there, to prove a point.
Rules are rules but yet again common sense does NOT prevail.
But at least you're on the winning trail so soon in the season thanks to Roy. Well done Mr Berry.