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Johnr's 2018 racing thread

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    George, what is the informed opinion over there about Maximum Security's number being taken down in the Kentucky Derby?

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      Varied to be honest. In the UK and Ireland the original result would have almost certainly stood after a steward's enquiry (The French are much stricter however). This leniency drives people in the sport who believe more horses should be chucked out and jockeys penalised for potentially reckless riding mad. On the other side you have those who believe it's inevitable that incidents are going to arise involving animals that weight close to a ton and running at speeds of up to 40mph. It was universally accepted however that the steward's interpreted the rules correctly, regardless of what they think of them.

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        Ta, while not perfect, I generally feel that "you" get the sport right much often than "we" do.

        There was a surprising volume of industry support here for the rules to be applied differently simply because of the magnitude of the race (and, to a lesser extent, the fact that the trainer is well-liked).

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          Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
          There was a surprising volume of industry support here for the rules to be applied differently simply because of the magnitude of the race .
          These industry people should contemplate what the consequences would have been if War of Will (the true hero in all this) had come down after being badly impeded. It's likely fatal injuries would have been incurred, not only by himself but possibly other horses running in behind. All this played out in front of almost 20 Million viewers on TV and with racing's critics/enemies already circling on the horse welfare front. It would have been a disaster for the sport.

          Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
          I generally feel that "you" get the sport right much often than "we" do.
          Everyday prize money is muck - so is the quality of much of the racing, there's a staffing crisis in the sport and the only thing keeping the top end of the Flat financially viable is Gulf Arab largesse. There's plenty more to complain about aside from this as well.

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            The O'Leary brothers have announced the gradual winding down of their Gigginstown Stud racing operations over the next 4-5 years, with an immediate halt to the purchase of young horses at the sales and point to point auctions. They have well over 200 horses in training (only J.P McManus can rival them for numbers) so the consequences will be significant for National Hunt racing on both sides of the Irish Sea.

            https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...cing-ownership

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              Interesting decision, one suspects there's more to it than Michael wanting to spend time with the family, especially as it's Eddie who essentially runs the operation.

              He is a gobshite but he has been good for the sport IMO, although it probably is a good time to scale it back given the Gigginstown saturation, especially at the big festivals.

              Hopefully their absence at the sales will lead to more variety and less big owner/trainer dominance, and not a resurgence of Ricci/Mullins, or a McManus/Elliott partnership.

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                A strong renewal of the Irish 2000 Guineas was won by the impressive Phoenix of Spain on his seasonal debut at the newly redeveloped Curragh.
                .

                Going off at 16/1 he went under the radar in the pre-race build up, which understandably concentrated on English 2000G winner Magna Grecia taking on last year's champion juvenile Too Darn Hot. Two horses who defeated him in major group races at the fag-end of last season.


                A huge bull of a colt, Phoenix of Spain should be a serious contender over 8-10 furlongs throughout the season, and indeed afterwards his trainer Charlie Hills confirmed the St James Palace (1 mile) at Royal Ascot will be the next target, and after the that the Coral Eclipse (mile and a quarter) at Sandown. Hills is primarily known for training sprinters, so it'll be interesting to see how he handles the campaign of a horse that in time could step up to middle distances.


                It's the Derby and Oaks next week at Epsom. The latter looks the more intriguing race at the moment, whilst the former could have the unedifying sight of up to eight Ballydoyle runners in it.



                Last edited by George; 25-05-2019, 21:39.

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                  A friend of mine had a lifetime ambition to own a racehorse, he's finally wearing the suit and the trilby in the parade ring as Golden Apples makes his debut in Tramore in a minute's time.

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                    https://twitter.com/mmcphate/status/1138930729809776640

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                      Michael Holding loaned out to SSR to cover Royal Ascot. I suspect he's happier talking about the hosses anyway.

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                        Thoroughly enjoying Royal Ascot at the moment although it would have been to good to be true for Dettori to have won all six races.

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                          The exuberant personality makes him an acquired taste, but he's an outstanding jockey still at the top of his game. Freddy Tylicki on Sky Sports Racing said Dettori is nearly always well positioned to win a race if the horse is good enough. It's very rare you get the usual hard luck stories about being hemmed in on the rail or stuck behind a wall of other horses. Compare that today with Silvestre de Sousa, who had a day to forget on the King Power horses

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                            The supposed flagship race of the Irish Flat season reaches new heights as a 33/1 pacemaker gallops the rest into submission.



                            Fittingly the farce on the turf was matched off it with the newly refurbished Curragh attracting a miserable crowd of under 12,000, and little over 18,000 combined over the three days racing Thurs-Sat. In comparison the 2015 Derby was attended by 25,000, and the last day of this year's Punchestown Festival by almost 38,000. The latter figure confirms the long standing truism that Irish racegoers simply prefer to watch horses that jump over compacted shrubbery, but the divergent public interest becomes starker with every year that passes.

                            The rise of Coolmore into the most powerful thoroughbred breeding operation on the planet is a source of pride for some in Ireland (not on here though I should imagine), but it has consequently turned much of Irish pattern racing into a testimonial that takes place for their benefit. This is especially evident in middle distance racing and breeding. Monopolies are good for no one (except those who profit by it), either in business or in sport, and the top end of the Flat is a business masquerading as a sport. This uncompetitiveness will only get worse going into the future.

                            Finally on The Curragh, I'm certain some on here will be delighted to know that a sizable chunk of the 81 Million Euros it took to redevelop the place was met by the Irish tax payer.
                            Last edited by George; 30-06-2019, 09:58.

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                              Chris Cook (Guardian tipster) put a nice stat on Twitter - in the last 2 years Padraig Beggy has average prize money per winner of £165,000. Because basically he's only ridden 9 winners since he won the Derby 2 years ago. He rides O'Brien's 6th string no-hopers and pacemakers, because somebody's got to. His profile is such that his Wikipedia entry states he was "born 1985 or 1986".

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                                Is he what I understand used to be called a "retainer"? Excuse my probable ignorance.

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                                  Yes, he's one of a number of retained riders they have at Ballydoyle, and pretty much bottom of the pecking order. Above him you have Wayne Lordan and Seamie Heffernan (who to me seem about level in importance to the mothership), then O'Brien's 20-year-old son Donnacha, who is actually rather good despite the understandable accusations of nepotism. At the top of the tree is the English rider Ryan Moore, who is generally regarded as one of the best jockey's in the world. All of them bar Moore will be out as work riders on the Ballydoyle gallops most morning as well.

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                                    John McCirirck had died. Whilst he wasn't everyone's cup of tea, there was a time when you could stop almost anyone in the high street and ask them the name of someone associated with horse racing and John McCririck would have been the name most mentioned. A real character who loved his racing, it's a shame the later years of his TV career over-shadowed his days in the 1980's and 1990's when he was racing royalty.

                                    Legendary racing pundit John McCririck, who for many years was the face of British horse racing, dies at a London hospital aged 79.
                                    Last edited by Paul S; 05-07-2019, 10:53.

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                                      He certainly loved the sport and knew his stuff, and prior to his TV career he was a proper (award-winning) journalist.
                                      It's odd that he was around my age (47) and younger when he was on Channel 4 in the 1980s, he seemed to be in his mid 50s for most of his career.

                                      I'd like to join all those people saying "he was a lovely, kind and generous guy really, his TV persona is all an act", but I can't - I came across him a couple of times well away from cameras and he acted the royal prick both times.

                                      Still, RIP.

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                                        After the highs of Enable's triumph at Sandown yesterday in the Eclipse, this morning we have the low of discovering Sea Of Class is fighting for her life due to colic complications.
                                        Last edited by George; 07-07-2019, 20:39.

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                                          Charlie has a 2yo filly out in a Newbury Maiden later today named after the mythically brilliant and ill-fated hurdler Golden Cygnet. The nerve of the man.

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                                            "Ventura Rebel can't be beaten."


                                            4th @ 5/4


                                            Bookmakers celebrate.


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                                              It was ever thus, but punting on the advice of tipsters who could never make it pay in reality is the quickest way to the poor house. With odds that short and in a 24 horse field, 5f sprint (glorified cavalry charge), it would have to been the second coming of Dayjur.

                                              Anyway, the winner's backstory is a nice one. Purchased for £3000 and owned by the trainer's family it's ended up taking home almost £123,000 (and whatever the Millman's had lumped on it).
                                              Last edited by George; Today, 17:34.

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                                                A quick word about yesterday's Irish Oaks which was won by the Anthony Oppenheimer owned/bred filly Star Catcher.



                                                One noticeable change in Flat racing in recent decades has been the decline of the traditional owner/breeder. Usually toffs with a few social climbing financiers/industrialists thrown in, they've either died off (with insufficient interest from their offspring to keep it going) or decided to throw in the towel in the face of Gulf Arab/Coolmore power.

                                                Oppenheimer's modest stud farm (it says something about this sport when a scion of that family is seen as ''the underdog'') bucks this trend, and after being in the game for decades they've had in recent years their greatest successes with horses like Golden Horn, Cracksman and now this Classic winning filly. Many of the horses can be traced back to a broodmare named Lora, purchased in the 1970's and who is the foundation mare of much of the operation. It's what the gilet-wearing bloodstock people in the game call ''cultivating a family''.

                                                They have another nice horse in Dame Malliot, who won a listed race at Newmarket earlier in the day and should be an interesting proposition going up into group racing.



                                                Last edited by George; Today, 17:35.

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