Tuesday, 17 May 2016

2016 Season: Week 2

The train keeps on rolling and this weekend saw us down in deepest west Wales for the rearranged season 'opener' at Tregaron.

Tregaron Trotting Club Chairman Huw Evans and his team made the right decision to move the fixture as the new date attracted additional entries which saw the original card of 10 races increase to 12, and the weather couldn't have been better for the time of year.  The sun shone down all day on Dolyrychain Farm, Pontrhydfendigaid, however the hard work of the committee wasn't repaid by the crowd who were definitely below expected numbers considering the glorious weather and quality horses on show.

My day started badly when having my finger shut in the back of a horsebox ramp whilst trying to help a friend load a horse (door latch didn't line up with the hole, I moved it across just as he slammed his hand into the ramp to force it onto the latch = my finger got stuck somewhere in between ramp and box = lots of blood and a large hole in my finger).  I'm a brave soul though, and didn't even require alcohol for medicinal numbing of the pain!

Highlights on the day for me were seeing Ffaro and Mattriarch winning for Dylan Lloyd Jones (both listed as horses to follow in my last post), and also Llwyns Delight with Lee Price.  As long as amateur (i.e. not professional/public) trainers are still winning races, then the real essence of our sport survives.  That said, they only took 3 of the 12 races on the day.

Meadowbranch Josh showed some hint of last season's form after a poor first show last week at Tir Prince to take the FFA in the hands of 'Super-Sub' Willie Greenhorn, one of Scotland's great drivers.  David Bevan played the ultimate 'dash for the finish' in the second heat of the handicap when jacking the pace for seven furlongs and then forcing the field to sprint home, just holding on with Beacon Spellbound from Sarah Allen and Wellfield Earl.  David was praised for his tactics, not often seen in Wales as there is an abundance of front-running drivers who like to duel early (often at the expense of being able to finish), however those same tactics can be seen at Corbiewood on a weekly basis and many spectators will vilify drivers who employ such measures.  Our own driver is renowned for it, and also unpopular with many for it.  One of many differences in the sport from one end of the country to the other.

A driver who caught my eye was young Jeremiah Connors who had a provisional drive in the qualifier on Evenwood Tinkerman.  He's one to keep an eye on in the future, as the Connors family are capable of appearing anywhere in the country to race and with success.

But for me the day belonged to one horse:  Alexander Camden.  On the day of the 2012 sale at York, I visited the field where Alexander was still with his dam as a foal because my friend, Emma, wanted to see her favourite mare (Penn Kinki Touch).  It was there she fell in love with a foal with a heart-shaped white marking on his face, who subsequently became Valentine Camden and who she went on to buy the following year at the 2013 sale (the horse has recently come to Scotland where it is owned and trained by my good friend George Carson).  It was there that I fell in love with a foal who had presence, who didn't run to his mother's side when two strange girls wandered through the field, who let me stroke his face and neck and back, and let me pick up his feet, and who subsequently followed me around when I went to locate Penn Kinki Touch with Emma.  At the time I had no idea who he was, only that he was a colt and a lovely one at that.  When the registrations came in to STAGBI, I studied each pack to find the white markings that matched the foal I'd seen.  I'd fallen in love with a Cambest out of an Artsplace mare, whose brothers had gone 1.49 and 1.48 in America already.  That was the moment I realised I wasn't going to be able to afford him at the sale as a yearling.

Alexander Camden at 6 months old
And I was right.  He set a new record at the time, selling for £38,000 to David Morton, Falkirk.  From that moment he had a lot to prove, and sadly this is a common thing in our sport:  people wanted to see him fail.  Whether this is because they are jealous that they can't afford to spend such money on horses, or because they're scared the sport will one day end up only being affordable to those with lots of money, or because they simply thought it was silly to spend so much to be able to win such little in prize money...who knows.  Of all the two year old colts to emerge the following summer, he probably attracted the least support from the crowds.  Not me.  As much as I love an underdog, and as much as I was quite frankly amazed at the achievements of the ill-fated Titanium, Alexander was always my favourite.  He missed his three year old season, when Titanium dominated early doors, then Rewrite History mid-season, and then Coalford Tetrick towards the end of the summer.  With Sportstrick winning the Senior Welsh Dragon on Sunday in style, you can't deny there is as strong a crop of four year old colts in the UK as there has ever been.

So from here we look forward to Tir Prince and Corbiewood this coming weekend.  If Corbiewood gets enough entries to stage a meeting then we will have Cassius Clay in a qualifier to requalify (missed last season) and Young Stephen in a Grade 1 race.  Fingers crossed, as I'm looking forward to getting these nags out on the track and hopefully doing us proud.

On a sidenote, following a proposal from Smarty at the most recent SHRC club meeting to create a new track rule that any horse that gallops in two consecutive starts at Corbiewood will be made to requalify before it can race again, the members voted to approve this.  This essentially echoes rule N15 (remember that post?!) and it is hoped that other tracks in the UK may follow suit in the future.  Connor Camden caused a false start at Tir Prince by breaking last week; was moved to the outside on the gate and also broke in the re-run.  He did the same at Tregaron on Sunday.  I have been informed, albeit informally, that he is being made to requalify.  Safety MUST come first.

Before I sign off, I just want to have a small vent.  This may have to become a weekly 'feature'.  Think of it as a 'things that get my goat'.

My goat was gotten this week by the following:

- The BHRC's decision to publish a string of emails between themselves and TrotBritain arguing over the structure of harness racing in the UK, the status of trotting versus pacing, potential UET membership...or at least that's what I think it's about.  Seemingly the BHRC have tried to call TrotBritain's bluff by threatening to make the emails public, TB have advised them that that's a good idea and lo and behold they are on the governing body's website for the world to see.  1)  Publishing the emails was NOT a good idea; 2) the BHRC has a media advisor, who either isn't aware of this farce being made public or who has given bad advice in telling the BHRC to 'go public'; and 3) the BHRC wants to threaten licence holders not to speak negatively of the governing body on social media in case it paints a bad image of the sport...I don't think I need to point out the obvious here.

- Fake profiles on social media where people hide begind a ridiculous name just so they can peddle the same things that people with real names have already said.  Have balls; don't hide behind a false name.

Just as I was about to go to post, I looked over at Smarty, who is researching French Trotters, and he is imitating different blinker/bluff positions on his eyes using his hands.

That's mad.

Over and out,

#1 Groom

No comments:

Post a Comment