Tuesday, 14 June 2016

2016 Season: Week 6

Things are really trucking along now in the racing season, with the first of the 'Big Four' at Appleby now a fortnight past, the Wolverhampton two-day meeting by and the inaugural meeting at Monmouth declared a success.  Corbiewood has staged three meetings of approximately 20, with Friday 10th June offering up the newest winner of the annual STAGBI Broodmares Race which went to the Hamish Muirhead-trained ATM in a thrilling climax which also saw Sureamsomething and Kikis Virtue feature at the finish.
ATM winning the 2016 STAGBI Future Broodmares race (Bill Cardno photo)
On a personal note, Friday was Crosshill Ace's first run in a qualifier for our camp.  She is being aimed at the Vincent Delaney prep race at Corbiewood on 8th July so this was part of the scheduled training plan.  Willie Drysdale took the drive as our stable jockey had an accident last week in which he injured his left hand and is unable to drive a car at present, let alone a horse.  He kept her back slightly from the gate, settled her in second as the 13 year old requalifier Artisan made the running, allowed DKs Happy Dream to pass her at the half and came home in fourth surrounded by aged racehorses.  She qualified in 2.12.4 and never put a foot wrong.  I was more than pleased with her performance and look forward to taking her back next Thursday to run in her second qualifier (unnecessary by the rules of the BHRC but something we want to do to give her more experience before she goes in to a race).

On Friday night I also took the opportunity on  behalf of STAGBI to present Bobby Miller, owner of Live In Beauty, with the trophy for winning the mares race last year.  Bobby had been unable to attend the BHRC/STAGBI joint awards event in February and I felt that it was important for him to receive the award in a proper presentation in light of the mare passing away during the winter.  The Miller family, trainer Paul Cullen and his wife Caroline came across to the winner's circle to be presented with flowers and the trophy by myself and Willie Paterson on behalf of the SHRC.  Congratulations to all of the connections, who will have a three year old Doonbeg son out of the mare racing shortly.
Presentation to Bobby Miller and family for Live In Beauty, 2014 & 2015 STAGBI Future Broodmares winner
After that I milled around, chatting to various people about various subjects.  I missed to back Camden Conquest at 3/1, but took the chance to bet Stoneriggs Banner at 2/1 which put some money in my pocket.  That said, I lost when backing Kikis Virtue to run second to Sureamsomething.  I'm confident the mare will win shortly.

I'd also like to say a big CONGRATULATIONS to Keir Cullen who drove his first winner on Friday night in the form of Reverend Run.  Led out, made all, and nearly had me in hysterics roaring his horse home off the last bend!

Keir Cullen's first driving win onboard Reverend Run (Bill Cardno photo)
On Sunday I headed to Appleby with the Gaffer, as Smarty had travelled to Monmouth to bookie on the Saturday and was meeting us there.  We had Cassius Clay on board for his first run of the season and the Gaffer was in the bike in his new colours.  I did vow to take a photo of him for a laugh but in light of his improved driving style, I'll not take the mick out of him.  Plus he tells me he'll be driving the horse next time out as well, so for now he has my full support.  Cassius finished fifth, a nice run with no mistakes and handled the going well despite the stickiness of the track after the heavy rainshower (which incidentally forced me to take shelter in the beer tent...)

As I've also included in my Harnesslink report (http://www.harnesslink.com/UK-Ireland/Fwd--Article2345), Willie Paterson's stables had a stormer of a day with two winners and a second in a photo finish having only taken three runners.  Congratulations to the team, which comprises of Willie's son Gregor, eye-catching young driver Ross Leary, Bryan Moncrieff and owner/driver of Ayr Pandemic, Gary Logan.  Their three charges, Dreamfair Carrie, Ayr Pandemic and Hawthorns Maggie certainly carried on where the Scottish winners left off a fortnight ago at the main Appleby event.

And so we look forward to Thursday night at Corbiewood which features the SHRC 3YO Derby, which this year is split for the colts and fillies.  Crosshill Ace returns for her second qualifier with her now-regular driver Willie Drysdale taking the reins once again.  Be there!

Things that got my goat this week

Oh here goes again.  My poor goat doesn't know whether it's coming or going, but this week it's really been gotten again.

 - Remember Rule N15 of the BHRC rules?  That stewards may require a horse to requalify in certain circumstances, which includes where a horse breaks in two consecutive starts.  Remember that time Smarty proposed at a SHRC meeting that the SHRC compel the stewards at Corbiewood to use this rule by making it a club rule that stewards will require a horse to requalify if it breaks in two consecutive starts at the track (note, not elsewhere)?  And it got adopted?

Seemingly, a load of people knew nothing about it.  Funny how when you don't want something to be known at Corbiewood, everyone knows all about it within days, if not hours.  Funnier still that some people claiming ignorance of the rule had close friends and relatives at the meeting where it was adopted without objection.  People must not speak around the dinner table anymore.

In three meetings at Corbiewood, three horses have been asked to requalify.  The first two did so on Friday night without issue.  The third was requested to requalify after it had raced on Friday night.  I understand that the manner by which the stable was asked to requalify could have been handled a lot better, but regardless of the stewards' social skills, the rule itself is one of the best rules in existence.  It is the exact same rule as is in place in North America, where they're not going hell for leather around a three eighths of a mile track.  I am therefore alarmed at the reactions of some who believe the rule is backwards and unnecessary.  Safety of competitors should be of paramount importance to us all.  Although the rule does not eliminate the risk of accidents, it does take massive steps towards reducing the risk.  No horse is 'too good' to requalify if it continues to pose a risk to those who compete against it.

Remember that folks.  There is no point in shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.  When the rule was proposed by Smarty, it was not done so in his capacity as a bookmaker.  Lord only knows the bookies are fond of erratic and unpredictable horses that people want to back.  No, it was proposed in his capacity as an SHRC member and also as a BHRC licence holder.  We do not want our driver, or our horses, injured by the actions of a serial breaker.  We don't want ANY driver, or ANY horse, injured by the actions of a serial breaker.  Safety first.  Which is why I took great umbrage to my boyfriend being referred to as a 'twat' for suggesting the rule.  His heart is in the right place and there is no ulterior motive here.  But hey, bookies are money-grabbers with no real interest in the sport.  That's a whole different goat-related section for another time.

- People who say they're going to do something.  Just go ahead and do it.  Smarty once said to me, "Don't be afraid of the people who say what they're going to do to you; be afraid of the ones who just do it."

Over and out,

Disgruntled and mildly alarmed #1 Groom

P.S. on a more positive note, a lengthy conversation with a gentleman and a true harness racing supporter on Sunday lifted my spirits.  I'll keep doing what I'm doing ;)

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