Trainer Joe Pride, pictured here congratulating jockey Christian Reith, told anyone who would listen in Brisbane and Sydney radio interviews late last week that his horse Title is "a winner" and that Pinwheel "doesn't win very often". That's before Pinwheel won the Missile Stakes at Warwick Farm last Saturday - and Title went missing in action. Punters need to avoid listening to racing radio and racing television "urgers", as the practice is clearly a wealth hazard. (Photo Dan Costello)
I don’t like being too critical of anything in thoroughbred racing as most think it’s such a wholesome sport, although I might write an article next week on why other well versed people may think it’s “incestuous”, but I wish to write today about the comments that are made publicly by high profile trainers when assessing their horses. Over a lifetime spent in racing, I’ve concluded most high profile trainers don’t have a clue how their horse will perform on a given day and punters and racing devotees are in fact far better off listening to say music, or talkback radio, rather than listen to racing radio stations. In the case of racing television stations, any preview involving trainers being interviewed should be avoided at all costs so it doesn’t taint your judgement. Why not try the Comedy Channel instead – as it and racing television interviews are in reality one of the same, except that listening to the Comedy Channel won’t cost you your house - and your wife and/or girlfriend won’t have to stand under a red street light in a short dress in the middle of winter in St Kilda trying to earn enough money to simply put some food on the table.
Now so it’s not ancient history - I’ll just go back to last Saturday’s eastern seaboard meetings.
“Top”, “champion”, “leading” Sydney trainer Joe Pride was interviewed on radio in Brisbane late last week and the interview was replayed about 11.30am last Saturday morning for any unfortunate soul who missed the original interview - and Pride was most excited by his horse Title being a winning chance in the Missile Stakes in Sydney, noting in the interview, “He’s (Title) a winner. Pinwheel doesn’t win very often”. Well my thoughts on the race were that Title drifted significantly on track ($3.60-$4.60) before the race, indicating the stable mustn’t have had a dime on one that the trainer virtually declares, and out on the racecourse of dreams Title was in fact the first horse beaten, as that horse that “doesn’t win very often”, Pinwheel, amazingly gave Title pneumonia as he sailed on by the Pride trained galloper soon after straightening.
Then to add to the bushfire of support already behind Title from Pride’s radio ramblings, Andrew Bensley has unfortunately re-started up his urger column in the Sportsman and as with all these mob who as part of their daily life tweet more than an aviary full of budgerigars, “urger” Andrew noted of Title in the paper, “The strongest push I’ve received this week is for Title in the Missile Stakes at Warwick Farm. Trainer Joe Pride was very forthright on (the urger radio station I work for) Sky Sports Radio (oh hell no, so now Pride’s been interviewed by a different person on both Brisbane and Sydney radio) saying Title is tuned right up for his return to racing”. Bensley went on to write “Pride says the six-year-old is right at his peak”. Well thank Christ the horse was “tuned right up” and “at his peak”, or he would have held the next race up last Saturday. Imagine how bad the horse will go when he’s “over the top”.
In another Brisbane radio interview, trainer Les Kelly talking about his long odds-on $1.70 favourite in Race 3 at Eagle Farm, Double Image, noted the horse had chipped a spur off his knee and subsequently underwent surgery after the horse had gone like a dromedary, when getting beaten by just 11 lengths as the $1.70 favourite on 26/11/11. Les Kelly advised the listening audience that there had been no problems with the horse since he’d been operated on and spelled and returned to the racetrack. After Race 3 last Saturday when Double Image went like a camel at $1.70, clocking in officially last of the eight runners, punters were entitled to query whether Double Image had in fact had his leg mistakenly amputated during that knee surgery, rather than just having a bone chip removed.
Newspapers are also always full of positive rot coming into a race meeting. Apart from Bensley’s weekly column in the Sportsman where he talked up Title, as previously mentioned - The Jackal who has historically proven to be harder to catch than Ronald Biggs was, resumed last Saturday in Brisbane after having 76 weeks off. Now the last time in life I can remember anything having 76 weeks off, would possibly be when Tiger Woods had 76 weeks away from women a few years ago, after the proverbial hit the fan - but Tiger was young enough to bounce back from that hiccup along the path of life, whereas The Jackal is now 10YO and it’s hard for ageing racehorses to come back as good as they were in their younger days. To be fair The Jackal must have had some nasty injuries happening around his body to necessitate 76 weeks off, yet even after all that time off he was sporting a gear chance of “bar plates on first time”, so he obviously still has some feet issues. Now talking of Ronald Biggs, even he – after the Great Train Robbery – wouldn’t have felt like parting with ten lousy bucks of that heist to put on The Jackal last Saturday given a) the horse’s age, b) his having had 76 weeks off, and c) the bar plates going on, but the Sportsman led with a big headline on page 4 which read “Jackal’s Day Arrives ...... country star in shape for long awaited comeback from injury”. It’s taken me until now to fully realise why prior to toilet rolls being invented – back in the so called “the good old days” - they cut newspapers up into nice little squares and placed them in the outhouses, which is interesting in itself, as many humanoids thought newspapers were only good for fish and chip wrappers, but no – they are a dual purpose product.
On other topics from last Saturday’s racing, those dills who back equine or canine athletes at odds-on quotes were again at the Salvation Army on Saturday night looking for a bed, exclaiming “even concrete will do”, after the $1.65 favourite Mulaazem never looked likely in Race 1 at Flemington and the heavily backed Norzita ($1.90) went over in Warwick Farm Race 1, meaning that by 12.42pm those that like the tomato sauce odds were down and out for the count.
In another event from last Saturday that Sydney horse Our Barney can be clearly seen shying at a bird in Race 2 at Warwick Farm, even though the stewards in their report can’t see a thing, meaning only Ron Dufficy on Racing Retro and I could see that bird make the horse shy. If anyone breeds “seeing eye dogs”, aka Labradors, can you send me an email, post haste, as I know where I can get rid of a couple of entire litters quickly.
And in a final plea, can a punter's association somewhere please send Victorian trainer Colin Little some cash in a brown paper envelope, so that he can get a horse transport mob to pick up this slow gelding of his, which races with the name of Tanah Lot? For some totally inexplicable reason Tanah Lot has been left in Brisbane - possibly on his way to the annual Dingo race meeting? We’ve seen some very slow interstate conveyances come to Brisbane over the years – in fact the joint has been a dumping ground for slow and legless horses from Sydney and Melbourne, but even Tanah Lot’s mother would be filthy on him going like a mule at his two Brisbane starts. Fair dinkum how did he ever win a city race in Melbourne? You have to be kidding. His CV says he’s won $118,235, so I’m convinced that Tanah Lot was involved with Ronald Biggs in the Great Train Robbery that time – as how else would he get $118,235? Four Corners should launch a probe into how Tanah Lot comes to have $118,235 in a bank account.