Thursday, November 23, 2017

Hot air in the wind

We're hearing plenty about wind operations, and I must admit that I'm baffled.  I went to an NTF East Anglian Regional Meeting last week when this was discussed, and (as I reported in the previous chapter) the misgiving which some trainers present (the ones who train for the international big spenders) held was that it would provide a disincentive to those owners against having their expensive colts trained in England.  That's a valid concern (albeit one which applies only to a small minority of trainers) but it's important to remember that that's the only one.  Nobody mentioned having any other misgiving.  However, I keep reading in the papers and hearing on the TV that our concern is that we are worried that being given this information is to the disbenefit of punters because they don't know how to interpret the data.  That's just nonsense, and anyone putting across the myth that that is the general trainers' view is doing us a gross disservice.

Of course it is true that nobody knows (the horse's connections included) whether having had a wind operation since his previous run means that a horse will run better (or worse) than the Form Book suggests.  But that's no reason not to make the information public.  It's not merely that it would be absurdly patronising and/or paternalistic for the training community to take it upon itself to decide that the general public is too stupid to appreciate the implications of information and consequently, for its own good, must not be exposed to the information.  No, it's not just that: on top of the fact that that view would be ridiculous is the fact that a similar dose of uncertainty applies to all data - and nobody (surely?) is suggesting that no data should be released.

One could make exactly the same observation about publishing details of the jockey, draw and pedigree - and even form.  There are all too many times when the race is won by a horse who, according to the Form Book, had no chance; when being drawn 1 turns out to have been a massive disadvantage; when the booking of a jockey who hardly ever rides a winner and who is widely assumed to be moderate results in a horse being perfectly ridden, or when the booking of a jockey generally regarded as a genius sees the horse boxed in the whole trip, or going too hard too early; or when a race is won by a debutant whose pedigree, whichever way you looked at it, had suggested that he'd need more time.  But nobody in his right mind could suggest not publishing the draw, jockey, pedigree or form.  Do they?  Do we?  I know that I don't.


neil kearns said...

Fair points made when is someone at the ntf going to realise that all of the rest of us who don't own all part , a hair of the tail. , none of a particular racehorse are entitled to have reasonable amount of information about any given horse prior to placing a bet if you wish to take our money via the levy( or whatever is new name is ) then don't rake the bpunters cash and keep your information to yourself '- oram I being totally unfair

neil kearns said...

And on another point how can the ntf support Philip hobbs this goes to the fundamental s of the rule of racings overlords you cannot in mybook support any individual who's stable break the rules - I totally accept Hobbs may have had zero knowledge of wat went on (whether he should have different argument) but as the man holding the licence - he IS responsible and to try and defend that position fundemantally questions the role of the trainer and licence holder - how come that beast ran twenty pounds better than last time ? - sorry dont know sir he was trained in the next field ??? Acceptable excuse ??

I want people to feel free to defend the defensible but is this really the right case to be supporting

David Winter said...

After my last comments on your platform John, i am loath to get into the relatively unimportant intestines of wind operations and the reporting thereof.But if the attitude of the NTF [ and the “Establishment” ] is inferring that the great unwashed are not able to disseminate certain information and therefore needn’t provide it; it doesn’t came as any great surprise. As i commented before, i have always felt that the industry was run for the benefit of the have’s rather than the have nots. [ i am trying to be politically correct with that last sentence.] From racecourses not providing owners and trainers with some reasonable eating facilities [ some not all ] to some trainers treating their clients like mushrooms and a private bank. At many racecourse’s you still have three class’s of enclosure, whatever they choose to name them,in an attempt to be “cool” and enlightened.
It is, and always has been class dominated and has failed to react to a fast changing world. The bookmakers are being increasingly feted as the gambling revenues soar and the HRA want their chunk to support expensive offices and a large secretariat, so adapt chemeleon like to keep them happy; as with the wind issue.
So lets discuss anything other than the elephant in the room as a distraction because whatever “they” say the rulers are only really interested in themselves, the rich owners and any other neccasary organisation that help maintain the status quo, while the rest of us have a pint of old and filthy under a windy awning two furlongs from the finish in an area named euphemistically “The Garden Enclosure “. Not edifying is it in 2017.

Rob Barker said...

Great blog. The whole issue is about the integrity of racing. You cannot have situations where a horse improves beyond all known form and then when the trainer is interviewed post race they say “the wind op has improved the horse”. It’s infuriating for punters and just puts people off the sport, as they feel they are not playing on a level playing field. Simply do not understand why people are unhappy wins ops now have to be declared

David Winter said...

Having been associated with racing in one form or another for many years i didn’t realise the breeding implications of admitting a horse [ colt ] had had wind surgery. I fully understand that any breeding whether a horse, dog etc, needs to enhance the blood lines and animals that display poor structure or evident weakness’s should not ideally be used. But with wind/ breathing nip and tucks of the lyranx or more extensive surgery, i just assumed that was wear and tear and not deemed detrimental to the suitability of a potential stallion. So John’s enlightenment cams as a surprise. It also lays a ghost. Quite often when a trainer has been asked about why a horse in his care of some quality has had a substantial amount of time off from the track, the answer is often nebulous. Such as “ Oh, he has had some small niggles and issues” and seems reluctant to be specific. I always wondered why, and now i know that the trainer doesn't want to admit to an issue that might reflect on potential values should said horse become successful and become stallion material. Quite fascinating.