Monday, August 15, 2016

I keep resisting temptation

The BHA's attempt to fill the races up with horses who ought not to be running continues apace.  Magic Ice is such a frustrating horse.  She started out here, but went elsewhere after she had had her fourth run, in February 2013.  She had been fairly straightforward when she was here, but she returned seven runs and seven months later as a horse very hard to get and/or keep sound.  I ran her twice in 2014 (in July and November) and twice in 2015 (both runs in January).  Another long break ensued before she resumed 17 months later, in June 2016

She was finally sound again by this time and was actually working quite well going into the race, but she ran atrociously and came back bleeding badly from both nostrils.  Anyway, she had another break, albeit a significantly shorter one this time, after that, and she's now back in strong work.  Last week she galloped well on the Sunday so I entered her for two races at Chelmsford today, but four days later she worked atrociously (for no obvious reason, bar that she pulled far too hard in the first half) so it clearly would not have been correct to run her four days later (ie today).

Consequently, come Saturday morning, I didn't declare her for either of today's races.  What happened?  Shortly after 10 o'clock that morning I received the obligatory 'Race re-opened!' text, the usual attempt to try to tempt me to go against my better judgement.  To my shame, I have to admit that I did investigate to see how many horses had been declared for the re-offered race (the five-furlong race - the six-furlong race for which she had been entered had received enough declarations not to be re-offered) but thankfully there were seven horses in the field, so it was an easy decision not to weaken my resolve.

However, if the field had been pitifully weak I probably would have declared her.  She's sound and basically in good fettle (as the photograph in the first paragraph, taken yesterday morning, confirms: she'd been out and done a brisk canter up Long Hill earlier in the morning, but was still feeling fresh enough to lark around with Cottesloe, who should go to Chepstow on Thursday and thus be our next runner) and it is likely that it wouldn't have done her any serious harm to run her.  But, really - a horse who gallops as badly as she galloped on Thursday shouldn't be running four days later, either from her point of view or from the point of view of punters, who are entitled to believe that trainers are sending horses to races reasonably confident that their charges are ready to run to something like their best form.

You only enter a horse if you want to run him/ her in it.  There are really only three principal reasons for not declaring him/her.  Either you aren't happy with his/her condition and you feel that it would be unwise to run him/her; or you feel that he/she won't be comfortable on the likely ground, and that it would be unwise to run him/her on it; or you are running elsewhere, and you can't run in two places at once.  Whichever applies, it is clearly in the interests of neither the horse nor punters for the horse to run.  I know that I keep saying this, but the-offering of races which have not received a certain amount of runners is wrong, whether you are a horse or a punter.

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