There is a saying that I am sure most of you are familiar with about shooting yourself in the foot and this week I have given it both barrels with a little help from Ron who loaded the gun and helped me to take aim! “Can you write me a little something each day, just a recap with your thoughts?” asked Ron and being the kind and generous person that I am, I agreed in a heartbeat. What I hadn’t thought about was my main weekly article – and what do I write about now having covered all the main news earlier in the week? This week I have an answer (phew!) as I look to comment on the curious case of Talk of Saafend as mentioned by Ron in e-mails and on Facebook (for starters).
In brief, he was entered at Cartmel on Tuesday, pulled out with a vet’s certificate (bruised foot), but quickly reappeared on the flat at Musselburgh where he was pretty much tailed off last, beaten eighteen and a half lengths. If I am reading it right (over to you Ron), the questions are, was he really injured enough to not run on Monday and if so, how did he suddenly recover to race the next day – is there some kind of conspiracy gong on? Now I would love to tell you I have a definitive answer to the last question (I don’t), but I did make a call to my friends at the British Horseracing Authority this morning asking for an explanation, and this is roughly how it all works so read on if you care, fast forward if you don’t!
The self certified certificate (not used here) was brought in to reduce costs and administration for the trainers (and thus owners – like us!) BUT comes with a one week no racing agreement. This is to avoid playing the system, for example scratching a horse because of a bad draw, or to get owners tickets for a sold out music night at Newmarket! Actual vets certificates do NOT come with the one week no racing proviso because they are paid for and because they are overseen by a qualified vet. Therefore, there is no need for a racing “ban”, and yes that does leave the system open to very minor abuse but as I was told, the fact he was scratched with a bruised foot is in the public domain for all to see, and they had little or nothing to gain. I was also told that just as we can feel a tight hamstring today, we can be fine to run tomorrow, ditto horses (?), and that if he had run way above or below questions may well have been asked, (I got the feeling they were aware of the situation even if they didn’t admit as much). I was also told that one look at the horses form would show you that a well beaten last was about what you would expect anyway (the eight year old hasn’t won a race in over a year), and she was upped in class as well so no great surprises and at the end of the day, that is that, though I did point out what an excellent laying opportunity a similar incident would provide, and I wonder if they would have looked a lot closer if she had romped home instead?
This week I embrace modern technology as you will have read with a podcast that should see Ron and I arguing or (God forbid) agreeing on various subjects but do feel free to throw a question or two in to the ring – we will answer what we can, research those we can’t – and ignore the others lol, so do get involved and we can all learn something?
The weekend sees what used to be one of the top races of the season when Ascot put on the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, but the recent trend for speed in the breeding industry makes a mile and a half a bit of a bridge too far and I am not overly impressed with this years combatants. The last five winners (Danedream, Nathaniel, Harbinger, Conduit, and Duke Of Marmalade) were all officially rated 120 or higher, and with St Nicholas Abbey now retired through injury, the only horse that fits the bill now is French raider Cirrus Des Aigles who will carry some of my money along with Trading Leather if the odds are right.
One horse I will be backing this weekend thanks to the massive hint given by jockey Paul Hanagan who doesn’t even bother going to Ascot to ride Ektihaam in the big race and head off to York, mainly to ride Mukhadram in the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes instead. Either we can lay Ektihaam or back Mukhadram (or both?), though to be fair, on the form book I would not see the York bet as one at decent odds.
Lastly, one piece of news worth mentioning today dovetails neatly with my earlier comments when neither English French or Irish Derby winners are entered at Doncaster for the St Leger. With bigger fish to fry they will be kept to a mile and a half or preferably less as the fifth classic continues to be seen as the first place to go when looking for a National Hunt stallion -which in turn knocks a “0” or so off the potential stud fee, sad as that may be.
Suggested for this week:
Mukhadram to win the Group two Sky Bet York Stakes Saturday
Horses to follow:
Cape Arrow – a twice raced two year old trained by Paul Cole and held in very high regard at the stable and I am now told should be far better as a three year old (entered at Sandown Friday).
Afortunado – unraced three year old trained by Conrad Allen.
Elusive Kate – entered Sussex Stakes (Goodwood) 31st July.