I, probably like you, am sick and tired about talking about the going now. However, those of us that e-mailed Plumpton, asking for an explanation regarding Monday’s going description containing the word “soft” until after the first race had been run, have had a response:
“Thank you for your email about the going on Monday at Plumpton, and please find beneath an explanation of how the going is assessed on a raceday and the timing of events at Plumpton.
Our Clerk of the Course Mark Cornford has worked at Plumpton for more than 30 years and is vastly experienced with regards to track conditions at Plumpton and is widely recognised as being an outstanding Clerk by the industry.
Mark is always very upfront about what is happening at the track, and please bear in mind that a going report reflects what the conditions are like at the time the report is made, not what may happen based on a forecast.
We covered the track on Saturday with frost covers to protect against the cold temperatures predicted on Sunday night. This was widely publicised, and therefore the going updates between Saturday and when the sheets are taken off are based on testing the areas of the track that can be easily accessed under the sheets.
The Clerk walked the course at 6am on Monday morning and was able to ascertain that there was no frost present under the sheets, so cancelled the planned inspection at 8am. Making such an early decision benefits everyone involved in the raceday from the racing professionals who have to travel through to the customers coming to the course.
Given the cold temperatures on Monday morning, the covers started to be lifted around 8.30am, and the process was finished by 11.30am. The Clerk walked the course as this process was being completed with the raceday Stewards and the British Horseracing Authority Course Inspector whose role it is to monitor courses from a racing perspective. Following discussion they agreed at around 11.55am to amend the going to Soft, Heavy in places.
At around 12 noon it started raining, and in total around 6mm of rain fell during the day. Mark had been interviewed by At The Races at 9am on Monday warning to let people know that it wouldnt take much rain to alter the going description. As I am sure you are very aware, it has been an exceptionally wet winter and with such a high water table any rain on a raceday is going to affect the ground.
Between 12 and 1.10pm, around 2mm of rain fell, and after consulting jockeys who rode in the first the going was then altered to Heavy.
We hope this helps you understand the procedures in place for announcing going descriptions from any racecourse, and what happened at Plumpton on Monday.”
I am extremely grateful to them for having done so. The majority of those being approached so far, have not.
I’m still trying to square circles though. I listened to the interview between Mick Fitzgerald and Choc Thornton, that took place before racing, whilst Choc was still in civvies. Part of the discussion was regarding the state of the ground and, in Mick’s words, “how will you go about riding on that ground out there today? Will it be a case of zig-zagging to find the better ground?”. Choc must have been 100% aware of just how bad it was because he simply replied, “yep, plenty of zig-zagging”.
If, as was still officially the case, the going was simply soft around the majority of the track, why have that kind of conversation? Soft is just soft and you get on with it….they were talking like they were about to go racing on something left over after the Somme.
If was accept that 2mm of rain can turn soft ground to marshland then the explanation received is absolutely fine. If it is genuinely the case that the water table is so high that 2mm of rain causes flooding, which it must have done to do to that track what it did, then we as punters right now have absolutely no chance. Daily, rain is now forecast so, because it cannot be absorbed into the ground, it’s just going to sit there. I’m sure we have all passed a field lately where it looks like a new lake has appeared.
What we will now see is heavy frost and even the freezing of ground. What this does to the soil, when it comes out, is make it very sticky, holding ground. The going stick will tell you it is soft but, it will probably ride worse than heavy. Even frost covers do not stop the drop in temperature having an effect, as was seen at Newbury yesterday. The official going description of soft, heavy in places on the hurdles course, was not changed at any point but, the jockeys riding in the first race reported it was, “hard work, sticky, very tacky”.
When it comes to punting, the final decision is going to have to be yours. I would dearly love to be in a position to know exactly what is going on out there but, I do not. I would genuinely love to be able to post on the social media sites that x, y and z should now be taken into consideration because they’ve just had a 10 second shower at Newton Abbot but I’d not know what to post!
I will continue to produce figures based on the assumed going but I’m mindful of something I was once told…to assume anything makes an “ass” of “u” and “me”.
WINCANTON SOFT, HEAVY IN PLACES, INSPECTION 8-30AM
WINCANTON – Jump (Updated:16/01/2013 at 10:19:45)
ALL THE COURSE HAS BEEN COVERED WITH FLEECE
(GoingStick: N/A on Wednesday at 07:00)RailsThe Hurdle on the Stables bend will be omitted
Weather-3 at 7am. Forecast: Dry with frost possible -4 tonight.
In effect, we will not know how it rides until after the first race.
WELL HELLO THERE….-6
MASTER OF THE SEA….-15
MIKO DE BEAUCHENE….-11
I am absolutely intrigued by something here. Lucinda Russell has sent one horse on a 858 mile round trip, to contest the 2-50pm race….ETXALAR. This horse has not won a race of any kind since 2010 and has only placed twice in it’s last 15 races…..the fuel bill alone will cost the owner around £763.36p and I can only imagine that the people who are sponsoring the entire meeting have in place an arrangement of some kind to help with such costs, to get horses running. This might also be borne out by the fact Brian Ellison also sends a platoon down, they having a mere 530 mile round trip. Four of the ten runners in the 3-20pm are from his Norton base.
Sean Trivass has posted up a darned good read on the website and I’m sure he will be interested in seeing how BIG CASINO gets on in the Bumper at 4-20. You may recall he started off his Post Racing life with a tip for that one….a 33/1 winner….any chance of another one, Sean?
I am more than a little concerned about the weather forecast for Friday as I know we have people travelling to Wolverhampton to see Rosie and Hiddon Coin racing. Today I will ask David O’Meara for his thoughts given the Pennine region is expecting up to 10 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. The emergency services have already said that you should only leave your homes on Friday if you absolutely must and I’m not sure going racing would be included in that description. The Midlands area is expected to be particularly hard hit by snow. I will get back to you asap regarding David’s thoughts.
Today I will again just watch what happens and save the shekels for when we know what they are racing on.
Have a brilliant day, whatever you get up to