Cramming it all in – Turf Talk: 29 October 2018

Ice Lord with the excellent Richard Kingstone wins a nice race at Doncaster.

Ice Lord with the excellent Richard Kingstone wins a nice race at Doncaster.

NORMALLY, my Monday piece is written on a Sunday evening with a 6am deadline that I usually beat by five hours after gathering all the images.

This weekend I gave serious thought to crying off. Clients for the upcoming Tattersalls Marathon Horses in Training Sale suddenly announced that they would arrive at 0840 long haul on Sunday morning not Monday. A good thing, given what we have to work through, but unexpected. My Saturday schedule suddenly looked very demanding.

I mean….priorities… a T20 international in Sri Lanka – Mexico F1 Qualifying – 90 minutes following various football matches top to bottom level – a load of end month stuff because we’ll be away at the sales – walk the gas out of the dogs along the Basingstoke Canal then the evening appointment with Strictly (I promise not to tell you….).

Not to mention a bumper raceway at Kenilworth and another one at Doncaster to follow and even
cast some of the highlights. Talk about going cross-eyed.

Until Friday morning, it had been an all-South Africa week. It doesn’t matter where you are sitting when liaising on mare movements, the first weeks of a foal’s conformation, setting up for coverings and, when investors are involved, reporting with pictures. Elusive Fort, Coup de Grace and Wings of Desire are covering our treasures this weekend and of course our Alado Project remains busy throughout the season.

It is both delightful and frustrating to see the quality of foals by that superbly bred Danzig stallion – especially this year’s remarkable crop – while knowing that he is not wanted beyond a few shrew dies.

foal & yearlingl

Meanwhile Flying Winger (by Alado) ran a blinder to be second by a few pixels in the WSB Grand Series Consolation and we had a lovely celebration when our owned and bred filly by Alado Grandiflora bounced back to form at Durbanville with a win. Who wouldn’t want an Alado filly in-bred to Darshaan? Yum.

Anyway, Friday morning dawned with focus in England. Our Hintlesham Racing had a runner at Doncaster, best approached and returned from – especially on a Friday – by train from/to King’s Cross. It is better not to know how fast that thing goes, but there is enough time to sit still, wash a hot sausage roll with gravy down with a mug of tea and – wow – read the paper.

That runner – ICE LORD – won a good race on a Grade 1 track off his highest winning mark – in a thrilling finish and in a thrilling finish to his season. His shareholders—in-attendance — went loony watching from the Parade Ring which is right next to the course. The mulled wine and mince pies party around him on his winter spelling farm will be a lot of fun.

Another advantage of the train is that liberal helpings of champagne can be consumed, initially provided by the racecourse after the trophy presentation, and secondarily upstairs in the Owners & Trainers Lounge where the connections of many runners take the rough with the smooth, offering a wave or a thumbs up when a champagne bucket crosses the room.

The aforementioned party with Ice Lord himself will also involve shareholders in a new yearling colt by Starspan-gledbanner, bought at Tattersalls Ireland a month ago. He cost about right, but is looking to be very reasonable based on excellent sales achieved by the sire since.

I am always being told in the Cape that more Poms should race in South Africa. Well, some do. Although the more often you say “now now” instead of “almost immediately” the less of a Pom you have become.
But hey…what about some of the other way around you guys? Top of the economic range SA thoroughbred people race in UK, so why not you? Syndicates are created for the purpose.

New Starspangled yearling after lunging. He was ridden away 3 weeks after being bought.

Nobody ever said (or should ever say) that owning racehorses is low cost. So R100,000-ish gets you 10% of a nice prospect with around R6,000 a month thereafter less what you win. This is a ticket to running all over the UK and maybe beyond, training in the Mecca that is Newmarket and the time of your life on a visit. Just sayin’…

This gallop around a keyboard needs to finish now. If you’ve got this far, you may agree. Let’s do it with a bit of a thought-provoker.

The monster Horses in Training Sale in Newmarket runs through this week. 1650 lots catalogued with around 375 already withdrawn and there will be more. Digital vigilance is essential.

Selecting is less about the catalogue – much as pedigree pointers always help – and more about form and the individual. Sire-centricity goes out of the window. If the form is good, he could be by the teaser. I rest my case.

Many inspectors carry not the catalogue but the Timeform Sales Guide which has an in-depth analysis of every catalogued horse. The guide by itself (hard copy or digital) costs £70/R 1,350-ish and regular updates are included for horses that have run since.

There is much to consider, including wind. Wind operations are so common that there is little stigma attached to some versions. (Certain major jumping trainers give every new recruit a wind op whether the horse is showing any signs or not). Scoping at rest is of limited value, but wind testing after the hammer falls is very expensive for horses in training if adjudication is required.

The BHA (since the turn of this year) has re-quired trainers to notify them if a runner has had a wind op since last run – whether laryngeal or soft palate. The Racing Post data-base (and racecards) carry the basic, updated information which in a survey was the Number One requirement from the betting public.

ice lord

At the HiT sales, (rare) undeclared laryngeal operations if found are definitely returnable. However Tattersalls encourages but does not explicitly require vendors to declare soft palate ops.

The risk is that an agent/manager buys a horse for a client with an undeclared soft palate op, nonreturnable, but with “wind op” being published in the Racing Post. Nightmare, even if the op was a jolly good idea.

Of course what we are supposed to do is to know all or most of the vendors and senior staff to the extent that I/we get a straight answer, even if muttered quietly, to the question “anything I need to know?” or the unspoken version if others are around, a finger discreetly pointed at my throat plus questioning eyebrows. – tt.

Allan Bloodlines