Sunday, March 19, 2006

Post-Cheltenham blues

Take The Stand, after a gallant 5th, best of the British
Originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

It feels like the morning after the month before, as Soft Cell once started one of their songs - Insecure Me. Wot no racing? Oh well.. another year to go to Cheltenham and there is the Grand National meeting in three weeks time.

Take The Stand, my favourite horse of the past couple of years did quite well in the Gold Cup, coming home 5th, the best of the British runners, behind three Irish and a French horse. He made a couple more mistakes than he had last year and his trainer is not as on form as he was last year, and the horse is a year older, so he did his best. Hopefully, we will see him a couple of times more this season.

Did not back any winner and the best I did was Take The Stand's fifth and a couple of sixths. Oh well.. . can't win ' em all.

The very sad thing about racing this week is that ten horses have died while racing, three on Wednesday, five on Thursday, one on Friday and another yesterday, at the last fence in a race he was winning. This is shocking, very shocking indeed. Who knows why it happened like this. There are always falls and every now and then a death, but never as many as this week. In the meantime, many horses probably die on the training gallops at home, about which we tend to hear very little unless they were famous horses.

A typical get-me-on-the-latest-bandwaggon knee-jerk response of puritanical politically correct townies is to say that racing should be banned (like fox hunting). This is an utter nonsense, in my view. Race horses mostly live an enchanted life of luxury and attention at home in the stables, often treated better than the stable lads and lasses who look after them. They are bred for racing, many seem to enjoy it and be aware of their triumphs and heroics, ears pricking as they approach the last, doing their best to edge in front as they approach the winning line and so on.

Of course there are to be investigations as to why each of the ten horses died. This is the modern way. However, horses do die, at a certain rate (maybe in 0.3% of races - one in every 320 races). Given that it seems that each death was different, is it not possible for people to accept that this might be just a bad coincidence, albeit one giving the press and radio phone-in callers a chance to rant and rave about something they know very little about.


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