Monday, August 21, 2017

Hope Is High - but when is it ever not?

More busy days, including today.  However, I should just put fingertips to keyboard before I turn in simply because the next two days will see us on the road again, to Brighton tomorrow and to Bath on Wednesday.  We shall, presumably, have an outsider tomorrow when Kilim (pictured in the final photograph, after exercise today) runs at Brighton, and then on Wednesday I guess that Hope Is High is likely to be close to favourite (yet again!).  We have got to the stage where I'll believe Kilim winning a race when I see it - but at the same time I've been waiting all year to take her to Brighton to see what happens, and she's on bottom weight in an unremarkable race.  So one would hope that she might be competitive.

Hope Is High, by contrast, will carry a huge weight (9:12, compared to the 8:01 on Kilim's back).  That will include a 6lb penalty for her wide-margin victory at Yarmouth last Wednesday.  I would guess (we shall know tomorrow) that her rating will rise by roughly 6lb for that win, maybe a pound more, so there is no significant advantage or disadvantage about backing up under a penalty.  I have, though, decided to do so.  She is clearly in great heart, and it is a suitable race.  (Most of the low-grade handicaps from August onwards are 3yo+ rather than 4yo+, and the horses aged four and above seem rarely to win the 3yo+ races - so this one, like the Yarmouth race a 4yo+ contest, looks appealing).

However, at least as pertinent is that it is a qualifier for a valuable staying-series final at Bath in mid-September.  Hope is already qualified for that, courtesy of having run in one qualifier.  However, she only finished third in that, thus earning not a huge amount of qualifying points.  For the final, the elimination process will not be done, as is usually the case, from the bottom of the weights upwards; rather, the horses who have accrued the most points in the qualifiers will get first priority, and then on downwards.  One can only speculate whether the race will be oversubscribed or not, and if so by how many.

However, the race is abnormally valuable by the standards of middle-of-the-road horses (as most of the competitors are likely to be) so one might guess that plenty of people are likely to want to run their horses in it.  It certainly appeals as perhaps a very nice option for Hope.  Therefore it makes sense to give ourselves another opportunity to collect some qualifying points and thus move her up the order for getting a start in the final.  Let's hope, therefore, that she will indeed earn some points in Wednesday's race, beyond merely collecting the obligatory one point for taking part (unplaced) in a qualifier.  As ever, we shall travel in hope but without exalted expectations.


wayinfront said...

Beautifully written, as ever. I'm struck by the quality of both wording and composition. A pleasure to read.

If there's a writing competition for trainers, I think hope would certainly be high that you'd bag first prize. Odds on rather than odds against I should think.

neil kearns said...

not only can the man write he is a tactical genius - master plan landed at Brighton beautiful ride from Nicola
just for my own interest but how big/small is Kilim looked like a pony in the race sure you weren't running a two year old against her elders !!!

Alan March said...

Bravo team

John Berry said...

Thank you very much for those comments. Yes, Neil, Kilim is very small. She'd be 15 hands, but not much more; and very slight with it. Ludicrously, I always ride her, which makes no sense as common sense says that she'd be much better suited to a rider a foot shorter than I am. But she can be very headstrong, and neither of the others really like riding her, so I stay on her. It's just as well that I never see myself on her because if I did, I'd say that the combination looks ludicrously unsuited, and change it - but as I never see us, I am happy enough with that. And I do enjoy riding her. She can be very headstrong, but she's very straightforward once you know her and have confidence in her, which I do have. And there is no harm in her at all.

neil kearns said...

What a sensational ride by SDS even at the one pole I thought all was lost you should get in the big race now john very best of fortune

Brian Jones said...

The BHA promote racehorse ownership but omit to mention that should you have the good fortune to get a game mare that can win off OR59, having been beat off OR56, 57, 58, then the BHA handicappers will raise you 13lbs to OR72 to try and stop you winning ever again that season. The turn out under a penalty worked here but the facts are that she wouldn't have won that race under the revised mark.

Attract owners into the game to spend the purchase price + £20k on keep etc for a year, but win a 2k race and we [BHA] will clobber you!, makes no sense.

WD with the mare John!

neil kearns said...

Brian makes a really good point it will take about eight poor runs to drop any more than seven pounds it is absolutely barmy ( that particularly at the lower end) to raise any horse by more than six pounds - if they were that good then the initial mark would be far higher - it would be fairer if at the lower grades - say any race for those rated below class five should have pre known penalties for a win , say four pounds second goes up two third up one at least gives the opportunity to run up a sequence in these races with such pathetic prize money