Monday, March 13, 2017

Time reveals all

Gosh, some days this training game seems incredibly hard.  I thought that Hymn For The Dudes was certain to run well at Chelmsford on Saturday night.  He didn't.  He ran extremely badly.  Two furlongs from home the race looked between him and the eventual winner as they were the only two horses travelling easily; 100 metres later it was clear that he was going to finish out the back.  I've rarely seen a horse stop so quickly.  Bloody frustrating - but, then again, no lives were lost; plus we're already hardened to disappointment.  Days like Saturday, though, make the rare days when things go right seem all the more special - even if I've never been lucky (or skilled) enough to have a day go as right as today went for Chris Gordon, who ran five horses (which will be a fair proportion of his whole stable) and they all won.  It's hard enough at our level to win one race in a day, never mind five.  Superb.

Aside from our disappointing trip to Chelmsford, things haven't been too bad.  The weather is really bucking up, and bucking us up too.  Today was very pleasant, and the place is really drying up too.  The forecast for (at least) the next three days is similarly good, so we can say that spring is here.  The weather really is a big factor in one's enjoyment or otherwise of life when one is working in a stable - I always say that the weather is both the best part and the worst part of the job - so it really provides a massive fillip when it comes good.

Aside from that, we have Cheltenham to enjoy.  Thanks to having been on the panel for a Cheltenham Preview in the Racing Centre (ie New Astley Club) last night and having thus done some homework to prepare for that, I am reasonably au fait with what is likely to be running (as far as one can be in an era when, thanks to the Festival having too many races, it is impossible to predict what races some of the good horses will be running in until, in some cases, the runners are cantering to post).  Regarding the handicaps, Neil, I think that we had better just wait to see who wins what before drawing any firm conclusions re the fairness of things.  Basically, in each race we shall find that one horse turns out to have been better handicapped than all the others.

The likelihood is that some will be GB-trained and some will be Ire-trained.  It is, though, not quite as simple as saying if a horse has a higher rating in one country than another, he has been unfairly treated in that country: the two lists are completely separate, and they don't necessarily even run in parallel.  That would be like saying that because the BHA handicap list, the Racing Post ratings list and the Timeform ratings list might between them have a horse on three different ratings, two of the three must be wrong.  In fact, all of them could be correct, just as all could be wrong.  Time, as always, will reveal all.  By the way, to honour Danehill Dancer (an excellent sire of racehorses, sires and broodmares who sadly died today) I have included a photograph of him as a two-year-old in November 1996 in his box at Rathmoy Stables with my friends Michael Tidmarsh (who was Neville Callaghan's head lad at the time) and Richard Sims.  Happy memories, eh - and weren't we all so much younger then?

No comments: