The turf season is just around the corner ...

It's a cold morning with bands of freezing fog

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

"Time engraves our faces with all the tears we have shed."

Natalie Clifford Barney.

Standing in the stalls ...

It’s another cold morning with bands of freezing fog swirling about the heath. We have been mainly using the Hamilton Hill as it is very slippery and firm everywhere else. We did venture to the stalls second lot, which are situated at the start of the Rubbing House canter, and had a very successful morning. We did have one yesterday that was a bit awkward but as normal, practice makes perfect, or in this one’s case, show it that they aren’t the most frightening thing they have ever seen. In the end it was an enjoyable experience which is what you want horses to think.

... the gates are open

We have just had the publication of the world’s best racehorses and it is interesting to see that there is only one British based horse, Postponed, in the top 20. There are three Irish trained ones, but the other nations, like Japan and the States, have more than us. It is very hard to actually compare like for like and the ratings of each individual horse because, unlike Grand Prix racing where the same ones meet each other every week, it is only on rare occasions outside their own countries that these top horses meet and with different time zones and climates, there are so many factors to put into the final figures. 

A nice level break

I see an old chestnut has reared its head again in Julian Muscatt’s piece in the Racing Post today. He is discussing the handicapping of an Irish horse which has been given over a stone more by the British handicapper compared to what he would carry in his native Ireland. This has always been the problem in our country where handicaps dominate the programme. In America it has always been the claiming system which works the best where you handicap them yourselves. They claim before the race, which in my opinion has always been the best way. However, in Britain we persist in having an after race claim which can cause a lot of friction as once an owner has had a winner, they get very disappointed if it is claimed. My thinking is, and so is Julian’s, that you don’t have to enter in a claimer if you don’t want to and so if the horse is claimed before the race and runs for the new owner, whatever price you put it in to be claimed for, you should be pleased to attain. Claimers and sellers seem to have gone out of fashion in the past 10 years with this obsession for low grade handicaps, but really any horse under 70, but mainly 40-60, should be running in this type of race. I think in this modern world we would soon get used to it and there would be a lot more claims taking place. It should certainly be worth a try and the BHA programming gurus should take a look at it.