Last week, in-between family duties, I watched as much of the five-day Glorious Goodwood festival from Sussex, England, as possible.
On Thursday, a peculiar thing happened. Although the first race went off on time (routine for a country seasoned in live horse racing coverage and the importance of holding customers’ attention) the other six races on the card were delayed incrementally. Later races started up to 14 minutes late.
The live racing crew on Racing UK (RUK) repeatedly apologized to viewers for the delays but maintained they were beyond RUK’s control. Peter Scargill of the Racing Post reported early Friday morning:
“The Richmond Stakes was delayed when Volatile Analyst needed to be reshod and the same scenario happened before the Nassau Stakes when Maqsad required the attention of the farrier.
However, the biggest contributor to the schedule running late was London Calling arriving at the start for the 7f nursery still wearing a hood, which he was scheduled to wear in the paddock with the permission of the stewards in the knowledge that it had to be removed before leaving the parade ring. London Calling was subsequently withdrawn and trainer Richard Spencer fined £140.”
Scargill quoted Clerk of the Course Ed Arkell’s reasons for not keeping to schedule: “There were three or four incidents which compounded the original situation, which was unfortunate.
“Obviously we’re very concerned with making sure races run to time and will be making every effort to ensure they do for the rest of the meeting.”
On Friday and Saturday, races were run scrupulously according to post times. I couldn’t help wondering if SVREL truly understands what’s what.
At Caymanas Park, the first race is routinely run five minutes after post time and each succeeding race later and later despite broadcasting live on PBC/Sportsmax to those unable to fill the track’s 5,000-odd seats and simulcast to Guyana, a country already TWO HOURS ahead of Jamaica. Expanding simulcast hosts won’t be possible until we run the races on time.
The most disgraceful factor in Jamaica’s late starts is, they’re caused by the promoter’s counter-productive tactics, driven by greed, to give punters time to bet more. Incidents such as caused Goodwood delays almost never happen in Jamaica except that horses have arrived at the gates with loose tongue straps. The promoter then scrambles about for several agonizing minutes locating the offending trainer and begging his/her permission for the horse to run without a tongue strap. Meanwhile, the other starters must wait in claustrophobic starting stalls or circling behind the stalls in stifling heat. Nobody cares to protect punters. I’ve not heard of anyone being fined for negligently tying a tongue strap but, if it happens, any such fine is unlikely to approach £140 (approximately equivalent to J$25,000.00).
On the race track, time is only important in sprints. When you’re in it for the long haul, pace makes the race, not time. But, every jockey knows that the time to make your move in a sprint or staying race is all-important. If you’re a split second late, that’s the difference between winning and losing.
This regular review of local performances is based on REAL times.
Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (a calculation of the effect of track conditions on official times to arrive at “real” or “corrected” times); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” a slow track (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade standard.
Another winner came out of that July 6 KEY RACE highlighted on July 12. Soul Cure returned from completing a profitable July 13 exacta with another from that race to win an August 3 nw2 without turning a hair at the value price (in a 7-runner event) of 8/5!
Also on August 3, Blind Faith, put up in this department on June 11 based on her June 5 1,200m run as posting a CT “2/5th second faster than maiden special weight and a second faster than maiden fillies so she’s nailed on for one of these especially over shorter”, cantered over rivals (1000m).
PAY, POOL, PAY!
So let’s see what this must-read department has in store today.
AUGUST 1, 2019 [TV+0.5 per 200m (Round) ? (straight)]
On a very slow track, only one race (Race 5; Open Allowance; 1,100m round; TV+3) produced an official winning time faster than the grade average.
Zephyr/Another Vigorous (-2) were separated by a head in 1:05.3! Their joint CT (1:05.0) equalled the Grade 1 standard. Both performances can be marked up as they duelled throughout yet pulled two lengths clear of the rest. The winner, a 6yo mare, raced without headgear worn on her last five starts (won one) while the second is an unexposed 4 year old with more to come. He has a look-in for November’s Sprint Championship.
The third, Ras Emanuel (-0) earned a CT of 1:05.2 which is 3/5th second faster than Open Allowance standard. He’s a lightly raced 7yo so could have one of these in his future.
AUGUST 3, 2019 [TV+0.1 per 200m (Round) +5 (straight)]
Soul Cure (-5) was the day’s “fastest” (vis a vis grade standards) in making all (Race 7; 3yonw2; 1100m; TV+1) from Latapy (-2) in 1:07.0! The winner’s CT is 1/5th second faster than nw3 where she can win in due course but the one to take from the race is Latapy. His CT (1:07.2) is 3/5th second faster than nw2. He’ll appreciate further where he’s nailed on for a nw2.
Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
After Glorious Goodwood’s heartbreak last week (bookies had their annual field day), Ascot, a more punter-friendly racetrack, hosts the annual Shergar Cup team event tomorrow.
The festivities include six races at distances from five furlongs to two miles with the horses ridden by four jockey teams representing Europe, Great Britain & Ireland, The Girls and Rest of the World.
The day’s high point is the participation of Nanako Fujita, Japan Racing Association’s sole female jockey, as a member of “The Girls” captained by top British female jockey Hayley “Head” Turner. Another Japanese jockey, Yuga Kawada, captains the Rest of the World side. Fujita, whose 22nd birthday is today, is a rising star in Japan and demonstrated her prowess on the international stage when winning the Women Jockeys’ World Cup at Bro Park in Sweden earlier this year.
It’s still too early but I’ll have a go at marking your Shergar Cup card. In the sprints, high number draws should be favoured (low numbers on the round), but we have no idea of the post positions by Public Opinion deadline. I’m also expecting fastish ground:
The Dash (5f; 1305GMT; 7.05a.m. Jamaica time)
Old stager Danzeno was found an easier opportunity at Haydock on last but is in much deeper here and would prefer easier ground while Final Venture hasn’t won for two years so, at likely skinny odds, both are by-passed in favour of Only Spoofing who is 5 for 8 at 5f on good to firm and won here on July 26.
Stayers (1m7f209y; 1340GMT; 7.40a.m. Jamaica Time)
Infrastructure has been begging for two miles and lost a shoe in his last race (3rd to Charles Kingsley; Newmarket; 14f). He’s best at the prices.
The Challenge (1m3f211y; 1415GMT; 8.15a.m. Jamaica Time)
Melting Dew (NAP) is a signature late bloomer for Sir Michael Stoute who swerved the Qatar Summer Cup at Glorious Goodwood for this. If he starts, he’s a confident pick.
The Mile (7f213y; 1450GMT; 8.50 a.m. Jamaica Time)
A typically competitive handicap that could go to 2018’s hard knocking winner Via Serendipity who goes well on the round course here and runs off a mark identical to last year.
The Classic (1m3f211y; 1525GMT; 9.25a.m. Jamaica Time)
Dreamweaver has shaped as if 12 furlongs is his dream yet won by all of 4 lengths at Haydock over 10f (July 19). He’s very much one to keep onside.
The Sprint (6f; 1600GMT; 10.00a.m. Jamaica Time)
Recent Newmarket winner Pass the Vino (6f; good; all out to beat Kinks a neck) and York 2nd Victory Day (6f; good to soft) are all the rage but, on the anticipated quick ground, unexposed Hero Hero can atone for his last time out flop on good to soft.
Let’s close with a notebook horse from Glorious Goodwood:
Beringer [4yo b.g. See The Stars-Edaraat (Rahy)] produced yet another fine effort in an ultra-competitive handicap (less than 2½ lengths 5th of 16 to Fayez). He shaped better than the bare result, having no room to make a move two furlongs out before finally getting a gap and keeping on when hampered inside the final furlong by the winner (who was finishing stronger). He’s still worth keeping onside for similar events.