Friday, June 09, 2017

Strong and stable?

The best laid plans of Prime Ministers, mice and men.  It turned out that my plan to run So Much Water at Goodwood this evening has ended up showing itself to have been neither strong nor stable.  She has a small cut on the outside of her near hind pastern.  I had a look at it at 6.30 this morning, and it never crossed my mind that it would become an issue.  However, when we prepared to leave at the end of the morning the situation had altered: to my surprise some filling had appeared around it and she was walking uncomfortably on the leg.

One could have hoped that the filling would have dispersed on the journey down there (which it would) and that she'd have been OK to run, but really that would not have been the correct way to proceed.  I am glad that I didn't try that option as she was more sore again on it by evening stables, so I'm at home this evening and so is she.  Still, it'll only take a few days to come right and she should be ready to run again in around a fortnight.  And every cloud has a silver lining: while it was, and is, very annoying, the consolation is that I'll be in bed at a normal time tonight.  I'm still not really back to full strength after the late night at Fontwell on Tuesday, but a good night's sleep tonight should put me right - and ready to go to Brighton on Monday with Roy!

To change the subject and to revert to a subject on which we have touched recently, I did not enjoy watching two more incidents of dangerous riding on Racing UK yesterday evening, one at Sandown and one at Carlisle.  Envoy and Ryan Tate nearly fell at Sandown when Frankie Dettori cut across them onto the inside rail, while Someone Exciting and Lewis Edmunds had an even closer shave at Carlisle when Callum Rodriguez made an even more dangerous manoeuvre across their bows onto the stands' rail.  Both miscreants were found to be guilty of "careless riding", receiving suspensions of four and seven days respectively.

This problem is in danger of getting out of hand, and I only hope that it is addressed by the stewards before, rather than in response to, a fatality.  Calling these incidents 'careless riding' is not a satisfactory euphemism.  This implies that the jockeys  just have a lapse of concentration, possibly even not noticing that the other horse is there.  I just can't believe that that is the case.  I just can't believe that the jockeys are that incompetent, that they go through races half asleep, not paying attention, not aware of what is going on around them.

Race-riding, like soccer, cricket or whatever, is a competitive sport where a level of aggression is essential if one is going to be any good at it.  That's why there are rules, based on safety and fairness, to limit how far the soccer players can push it when they tackle, how far the fast bowlers can push it when they send the ball flying around the batsman's head, and how far the jockeys can push it when they assert their claim as two of them go for the same gap at the same time, or whatever.  The players' duty is to push things as far as the umpires permit - and it's up to the umpires to keep the players' essential competitiveness in check.

This our umpires (stewards) are currently failing to do.  Current practices of stewarding encourage jockeys to ride with insufficient respect for the safety of the other competitors because there is every incentive to go beyond the limit of what is acceptable (because it increases their chance of winning) and very little disincentive (because their mount faces no risk of disqualification, and because in the unlikely event of them receiving a suspension, the suspension is only small).  For the safety of the jockeys, never mind the horses, this matter needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, and the mindset of the riders changed.

As mentioned previously, the current way of thinking is that if the interference does not nearly cause a fall, it is deemed not to exist.  If it nearly causes a fall or does cause one, it is deemed careless.  I don't know how bad it would be, or how many horses would have to fall, or how seriously the jockey would need to be injured (a fractured vertebra clearly not being bad enough) for the riding to be deemed dangerous.  Rory Delargy informs me on Twitter that "in summer 2003 there were 3 cases of "dangerous" riding in a couple of months. Since 2003 there has been just one (horse killed)."

Lynne Jones, mother of the very good apprentice Aaron Jones and thus someone who is obviously keen for race-riding not to be any more dangerous than it has to be, observed yesterday on Twitter (8th June) that there have been "19 Careless Riding decisions in June and we're only on day 8".  Stuart Williams (to whom Aaron is apprenticed) observed on Twitter after the Carlisle incident, "another example of a try to win at all costs ride in the 8.50 at Carlisle and rider very lucky to stay upright; demotion is the only cure ... Racing in the UK has sleepwalked into this being the norm, we are only another race away from a bad accident every day".

We aren't getting strong and stable leadership from Westminster, but please may we have some from High Holborn?

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

congrats to both trainer and owner looked a decent tough performance stopped my gardening to watch well worthwhile