...come back the following week and be in another race where bar an act of God, you cannot win.
Star will be again running for a best-placed third, having landed on the gate in a Grade 1 & 2 race. Camden Casper, who won the final last week in 2.04, is sitting off 10 yards; Evenwood Coolsting who has been consistently placed and has won at Corbiewood is on the gate alongside us. In the event that we draw inside Coolsting, we have a chance of holding the lead. Should Coolsting draw inside of us, we cannot and will not lead (although no doubt the Jockey will believe he has the horse to lead...which may be true, but if we can avoid any repeats of the 28.6 first quarter saga of a couple of weeks ago, that would be the best for my horse and my self-esteem).
As for Wild Bill, he's in a five horse race where he has decent chances. Having only won in 2.11 last week, I'd be surprised if his competition will give him much respect. The Jockey drives his best races from the front, and if Wild Bill finally gets a gate draw then he may lead out. But as last week proved, he can win from the pack, having sat and sat and sat until the door opened and he could nip out. He's fortunate to be such a small horse, albeit the sulky is the same size as most other sulkies (standard 52'') but navigating a smaller horse is easier when trying to bully your way through tight gaps.
I am realistic with our chances - if we get a rosette from either then I'll be happy. As long as they come off the track unharmed, I'll be happy.
I am apprehensive about going tonight, having had a difference of opinion with a couple of members of the committee which appears to have blown up outwith the committee. This blog is my chance to be honest, as I do not have my Vice Chairman hat on or my STAGBI Director hat on. In this blog, I am Sarah Thomas, horse owner, trainer, groom and harness racing enthusiast. That statement does not protect me from any backlash from individuals, committees or governing bodies should I decide to be 100% truthful with my opinions of all three of the above. I was born with a relatively decent amount of tact and diplomacy and therefore I will NEVER write with the same honesty that I speak to Smarty in the confines of our pokey little house. I am not a troublemaker, I do not say or do things with the intent of stirring up trouble or upsetting people. That is why I take offence to the insinuation of either of these.
Essentially I have had a query regarding non-advertising of a feature event at the track. Having pushed our fixture list on every possible domain (Facebook page, Trott UK Forum, Visit Scotland), I was disheartened to learn over the last few weeks that there was a feature event scheduled to be run at Corbiewood that was not being put out in the public domain. I was only aware of the conditons of the race and the purse due to being friends with a relation of the sponsor. Smarty was also aware of the same as he is friends with a lad who is good friends with another relation of the sponsor. The information was being filtered to us, and having spoken directly with the sponsor myself, I was aware of the entry conditons and prize money. I was then told by the relation of the sponsor that the full details of the race were not to be made public.
My mind did not go into overdrive as to why this was the case, because there is only one reason. Smarty came to the same, logical, conclusion. The sponsor's relations wanted to win the race, as it is an inaugural memorial race for a relative who passed away last year. Without sponsors, I am aware that we would struggle to run races for such good prize money. I have no issue with the race being for maiden horses, and the prize money being so much. I also have no issue with the race being restricted to Scottish owned, trained and driven horses (although this discourages public trainers from England from coming up to our track, which isn't what I personally want to happen). However, the track can only accommodate 8 horses; as yet, with one week to go until this race is due to be run, nobody from the committee nor the sponsors has specified what will happen in the event that there are more than 8 entries. Logic, and the format used by nearly all other tracks in the country, would suggest that the highest 8 on prize money would be eligible. This may be difficult, as many maidens have £0 against them.
However, having again spoken to the relative of the sponsor, it was suggested that it would be the LOWEST 8 on prize money OR the first 8 to enter that would race. I am still unaware as to whether entries are now being taken for the race, and if I had a horse and was not made aware as to the date of the race, the prize money, and the eligibility, plus what would happen if the race is over-subscribed, how can I enter?
If entries are now open for the race, and it has not been made public that it's first come, first served, how will I know to enter my horse sooner rather than later?
If I don't get my horse on because of this criteria, I have grounds to kick off for not getting in the race do I not?
Who will I kick off to? The promoter.
Who is the promoter? The SHRC committee.
And therein lies my problem. Having raised concerns about this for the past fortnight, if things proceed in the manner that they are, I will be on the receiving end of grief from the members and licence holders. Why me and not the other committee members? Because Smarty and me are approachable, easy to locate at the track. Two committee members are related to the sponsor and can't understand why nobody has raised any concerns with them. The answer is in that sentence.
Furthermore, I was then told on Tuesday night that I had upset the sponsor, and her son, and that my friend had left the house crying because her gran was upset. I am now responsible for upsetting people simply for asking questions on behalf of the members which I represent. I will not be blamed for the chaos that is being caused by the race being staged. The race isn't the issue for me, but the manner in which it has been advertised and staged is.
In this instance, when I asked the questions, and then asked again, and got nowhere other than unfair blame for something which was a byproduct of the event, my motto became this:
If at first you don't succeed...try again, and if that doesn't work, let people get on with things and look after number one.
So that's one issue off my chest.
Tune in for the next instalment where I finally let rip about the poor working relationship between the SHRC committee and Bells Field committee. Long live my Article 10 right under the ECHR and HRA 1998 to freedom of expression. That's right, I was a trainee solicitor once, and I learnt all the things I needed to keep myself right in life.
Wish us luck tonight!
Over and out,
#1 Scottish Groom