The smoke lingers in the air and the bang reverberates around my ears from the sound of me shooting myself in the foot not once but a few times – what an idiot. Glorious Goodwood has been (and continues to be) the clear highlight of the week, but as I have been scribbling a daily report for Post Racing I can’t really repeat myself here meaning more hard work and a hundred lines for me “I must think things through better in future!
Naturally that leaves me scraping the proverbial barrel but I did notice how Warwick neatly slipped in the loss of flat racing on a busy news day in the hope we would all fail to notice? I know the track has it’s issues and we all suspect costs of putting those right may well be the driving force in this decision but the one thing we can really pride ourselves on in the United Kingdom is the diversity of our tracks, and I am still stick in ne mud voluntarily – I mourn each and every track that fails for whatever reason and although they will continue over jumps, flat racing fans in the area have lost a course – even if it is one I never quite fathomed and seriously struggled to find winners at!
Next on my list has to be the dearth of runners and the on going Facebook discussion – if only I had the answer? One thing I have noted is that punters do see it very differently from owners – and it has to be remembered that it costs a pretty penny to enter these races and much as trainers like to make multiple entries (or setting fire to £10 notes as I like to think of it), not every owner is as happy to part with their cash for nothing. I know as fact from talking to some owners who shall remain nameless that if they knew in advance of a six horse race they would happily send their charges there but they are rarely aware until it is all too late, making life impossible. If the race isn’t seen as suitable then that explains why they swerve it in the first place, be that because of the track, going, trip, or value – it doesn’t suddenly become a viable option just because there are less runners most of the time and therein lies the problem. One answer would be to open every race up all the way to the last minute for additions, so those with few runners will get add ons looking for some prize money, but then is that really fair to those who have been in the race form the start who suddenly find they have no chance of even fighting for a place? Sadly, we have encouraged quantity over quality for far too long (blame the bookmakers who want punter fodder all afternoon and evening regardless), leaving a long list of poor quality horses with little hope of winning races left at home in their yards rather than head to the track for some serious humiliation. I do wonder if we need to totally revamp the whole racing pattern with the poor horses maybe only capable of one win a season as things stand. For example, the 5.45pm at Nottingham this afternoon (Thursday) was won by 7/2 joint favourite Moscato for Sir Mark Prescott. In return for winning this Class Six event connections were rewarded with the princely sum of £1,940.00 and lucky them but I am more concerned by runner up Chesil Beach for trainer Andrew Balding and owners Kingsclere Racing Club. They picked up £577 for second place which is about break even after travel costs etc. but worse still, as he was only beaten three quarters of a length he may even go up in the weights making his chances of victory next time out even worse than today. My point is, this is creating a situation where the more astute (tight?) owners need to be as certain as possible their horse will either a) finish out with the washing and get a drop in the weights or b) win after enough hefty market support to pay the bills for the next twelve months or until the horses rating comes back down to a winning mark. The fact is the prize money is poor, entry fees high, and one you win a race at the lowest level you are either weighted out of a repeat or forced to a level that you simply aren’t good enough for – that, for me is the issue that needs to be addressed first, see you on Facebook to see if you agree?
Moving ahead to the weekend and we do have one day of Goodwood to go and the little matter of the Stewards Cup, Ron’s idea of heaven, a 28 runner handicap of all things. A low draw looks like the best place to be which makes me even keener on Muthmir who hacked up last weekend at York and gets in here with a six pound penalty. That makes him well weighted, well drawn, and from a stable in good form (William Haggas) – more than enough to make him worth a bet even at the ludicrous 15/2 this afternoon. In the lucky last at 5.35pm it has to be noted that War Spirit hasn’t looked back since being dropped back in trip to five furlongs and as a hold up horse, what better jockey than Richard Hughes? This is competitive but he does look as though there is still more to come and although no good thing, he looks a decent each way chance at the very least.
Selections this week (both each way):
Muthmir 3.50pm Goodwood Saturday
War Spirit 5.35pm Goodwood
Horses to follow:
Enraptured – a lovely looking progressive daughter of Oasis Dream whose two-year-old form would put her in to Listed class as a minimum assuming she has trained on. Her handicap return at Newbury disappointed me to be fair as I thought she was thrown in at the weights, but she was far too buzzy for her own good and the betting suggested she will improve considerably for the run – her first in eleven months.
***Entered at Newmarket Sunday***
Toronado – could be absolutely top class and looked to ease up in front at Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes for a cozy victory. Bound to improve again for the run he will be aimed at the top all aged mile events this season and will hopefully mop up and boost our profit margins! Finished second in the Sussex Stakes but was anything but disgraced and well worth leaving on our list.
*** No current entries ***
Joyeuse – the mile of the 1000 guineas was clearly a step too far for the daughter of Oasis Dream but switched back to six furlongs she won with any amount in hand at Haydock. With her fillies and/or three year old allowance it seems certain that Lady Cecil will place her to good effect for the rest of this season and beyond, and with a bit of cut in the ground she seems certain to win more races.
***Entered at The Curragh 23rd August ***
Rewaaya – word at the John Gosden yard is that she is better than we have seen so far and certainly Group class – be that here or possibly abroad as the three-year-old options start to run out. She was talked of as an Oaks filly so no great shock to see her win her maiden with ease at odds on but she still showed all the customary signs of inexperience and I am sure there is more to come.
***No current entries***
Horsted Keynes – always seen as a late developer, connections hope he will be even better as a four year old. He started well enough with a comfortable victory at Yarmouth and was blowing hard enough after the race to suggest there is improvement to come despite the fact that the seven furlongs that day were covered in an impressive 1.m 23.44 seconds, 0.16 quicker than standard! Beaten since they are struggling to get him to repeat that form but he is still held in the highest regard at the Roger Varian yard.
***Entered at Goodwood 3.05pm this afternoon (Friday) ***
Tominator – back in training at the Jonjo O’Neill yard they are very happy with him and he looks a picture – expect a few wins this season with the Chester Cup very much on the agenda.
***No current entries***
Mutakayyef– trained by William Haggas I had a quandary this week – do I or don’t I back the son of Sea The Stars? As with all the stable juveniles he was a shoe in to improve for the run but he is spoken of in glowing terms by gallop watchers in Newmarket. Fact is he ran as expected – slowly away, green as grass, and hampered as well, he will learn plenty from the experience and can be ignored at your peril.
***Entered Great Voltigeur Stakes August 20th***