(Source: Karen Keller)
By Hans Ebert
I have been one, you have been one, we have all been one from time to time: armchair critics.
In the racing game, add the term conspiracy theorists.
(Source: Workers Party NZ)
How many times have you heard how this and that horse was “dead” or “got up dead” and how this one and that one “made squillions.”
If these “squillions” are not from Hong Kong, China or that country very much under the radar, Indonesia, “squillions” is a very overused term which is why many bookmakers in the west are going through their Blue Period and desperate to sign up customers from certain parts of Asia who won’t think twice about betting $5-10k on a race at Orange let alone Flemington or any of the major tracks in NSW.
Again, this talk of “squillions” is naive exaggeration joining forces with armchair critics and conspiracy theorists and the outcome being bollocks.
After Sunday’s win of It Has To Be at 125 to 1 in the HK Classic Cup, the wagging tongues congregation were rabid with the “news” that trainer John Size had made “squillions”. How? By betting on the winning horse?
He might have put a few hundred on each of his horses as any trainer would. But banging in thousands at 125 to 1? Please.
To me, the really interesting part to this story is the horse going off at only 35 to 1 in New Zealand and tipped to win by Justin Churchman and his new site called Hong Kong Novice where he bases his selections mainly on the trackwork he sees on the HKJC site.
Was this selection a fluke? Who knows? Time will tell as horse racing and different ways of playing to win continues along with the advances being made in new technology.
As for us armchair critics, sure, we can spot a good ride from a bad ride and the silence of the lambs from the slaughter of lambs.
I then think of Luke Nolen admitting to “brain freeze” when riding Black Caviar at Ascot. That took incredible candour.
(Source: Paulick Report)
Making those split second decisions when riding a thousand pound animal in a race and with others on other thousand pound beasts around you also jockeying for positions is not an easy thing to do.
This is when and where brawn and brains are key and with the athleticism of jockeys and their mental agility coming into play.
Those jockeys who have these qualities- the now retired Michael Kinane immediately comes to mind- are the ones that separate the men from the boys in the band and the also-rans.
As for conspiracy theories and even proven theories, some in Oz have been farcical like the recent $1000 fines handed out to three jockeys for some piddly reason whereas other “punishments” meted out are just token gestures to save those in the protected species category.
(Source: Hearld Sun)
The good news is that horse racing is no longer the pariah it has been made out to be by the non-racing media and is not making the front pages for all the wrong reasons.
This dubious “honour” amongst thieves has gone to former heroes like Lance Armstrong and with every sport- apart from horse racing- suddenly under the spotlight for rampant drug abuse.
(Source: Tony Kriz)
On top of this, add the widespread use and production of performance enhancing drugs and other dirty laundry being aired every day about things like “the lonely Olympics” and sports heroes quickly falling from grace.
Horse racing still has the magnificent Black Caviar, the competitive international class racing, new fashioned thinking and massive betting turnover in Hong Kong plus the emergence of a great new generation of Aussie female jockeys like Tegan Harrison, Jenny Duggan, Jamie Kah, below, and many others.
The wheel still needs fixing, but we need to perhaps also pull back, look what’s happening to other sports and sportsmen and support and respect those who put their lines every time they get on board a horse and those barriers open.
(Source: The Age)