Thursday, January 26, 2017

More questions than answers on a bitterly cold day

Brrrr - very cold today.  We've had a lot of frost over the past week but the pleasant surprise of the trip to Wolverhampton on Monday was that, having left home in very cold weather, we found that it was much milder over there; and it really was a rather pleasant evening, as this skyscape suggests.  We had a slightly disappointing run with Hymn For The Dudes, but it wasn't a bad run, so if he comes on for the run  (which one is entitled to hope that he will do as he hadn't run since May) then hopefully he should be up to showing some decent form in the forthcoming weeks and months.

We were back to frost here on Tuesday, but that was no hardship as it was an absolutely beautiful day in glorious, if cold, unbroken sunshine.  Wednesday we had freezing fog, but that wasn't too unpleasant, unlike today.  Today it has been bitter, the first day we have had this winter when it has remained subzero all day.  In fact, I think it was colder at 4pm than at 4am.  Our taps were working this morning, but the outside tap was frozen up when we started evening stables at 3.30, while the water-trough up in the field, which had been filled by Abbie in the morning, had frozen over during the day.  And it felt much colder (even colder) than it actually was because, unlike in the recent days which had been blissfully still, we had a stiff wind.  Ughhh!

So we've reviewed our first runner of the week (and first Flat runner of the year).  On Saturday we shall have our second and third runners: Dervish in the 1.50 at Lingfield and Kilim in the 8.45 at Kempton.  I'm looking forward to that.  It's hard to be optimistic about Dervish's prospects in his race as his form is not very good and he will be an outsider, but he seems to be quite a nice horse.  He only arrived here from Luca Cumani's stable 17 days ago so I don't know as much about him yet as I will do subsequently, but I would hope that he has some sort of future.  It will be interesting to see how he runs, and I don't think that he will be totally disgraced.

Kilim should have some sort of chance at Kempton, notwithstanding that the overall profile of her career has been disappointing so far.  It's a fairly typical Kempton handcap in that quite a lot of the horses in the race look to have some sort of chance, but I hope that she is one of them.  Anyway, it'll be feasible to do the round trip with the two horses (ie going Newmarket - Lingfield - Kempton - Newmarket) but it will be a long day: I'd imagine that I'll leave here around 9am and doubt that I'll be home much before midnight.  But that's not because either racecourse is a long way from here or from each other (Newmarket to Lingfield is about 95 miles; Lingfield to Kempton is about 40 miles; Kempton to Newmarket is about 90 miles) but simply because there is such a long gap (nearly seven hours) between the two races.

Ah well - it could have been worse!  We were scheduled to be in the last race at Kempton at 8.45, but that last race has been divided and we have been lucky enough to end up in the first division of it (at 8.45) with the second division not being until 9.15.  It'll be odd going to Kempton, bearing in mind that I've been heavily and publicly involved in the debate over its future over the past week or so.  I can't see that I'll receive any adverse reception from the racecourse's staff (quite the opposite possibly, bearing in mind that I'm trying to prevent them losing their jobs) but I'm not expecting to be invited up to the directors' box for a glass of sherry!

Thank you, Neil Kearns, by the way, for some very good feedback.  Re your questions about horses making the running , some horses are suited by doing so in the right circumstances, while some are unsuited by doing so irrespective of how slowly the race is run and thus how much the race in theory suits front-runners.  I rarely like to see one of ours making the running simply because, largely for psychological reasons and because the leaders generally endure greater wind resistance, it's often easier for the horses who get a tow through the bulk of the race.  The other thing is that if a horse is best suited by a strongly run race (and plenty are) then making the running can be a solution to a solution-less problem.  In other words, if such a horse makes the running at a slow pace, then the race is still not run to suit him; but if he makes the running at a strong pace, then he is creating a situation which will suit his rivals, because strongly run races generally suit the horses who don't make the running.  As with so many things, there often isn't a right answer.

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

Fascinating analysis the one factor i hadn't considered was the wind resistance factor and that actually makes a hell of a lot of sense , and whilst i can see you can set a race up for the others i still find it odd that more dont try and make it rather than rely on what is often a dodgy sprint - either way if they dont try and make it then i really dont think connections can moan too much if they get caught out in the final sprint