Well ….that was a bit of an anti-climax. We finished 19th (of 28) and were never got into a rhythm. He is a safe jumper but not the quickest; that doesn’t matter so much on really soft ground but on this slightly quicker ground and in a such a competitive race it meant we were losing a little ground at each fence. He seems like the sort of horse who gets disappointed if he’s going as fast as he can and other horses jump and go past him. It looks like softer ground, a longer distance, or both is the way to go in the future. But don’t listen to me, this is what others had to say after the race:
Peter: He was always out of his comfort zone and they were going half a yard too fast for him
Kevin: He needs softer ground; why did we ever think he needed good ground?
Richard Forristal; Who said I was a wonderful, knowledgeable and intelligent judge?
Ber: I’m looking forward to breakfast on Saturday
Kim: Looks like fish and chips for us tonight
Leopardstown Barman: So..you’ll be paying by credit card then?
Jimmy the Cab Driver That’s the last time I pick up an owner!
The Hotel Cat Ouch and Meow..ow..ow
Kevin also said they went really quick over the first three fences and so I was surprised to see that the race was run in a time of 6m 17.8secs which is 29.8 seconds slower than the Racing Post standard for the distance of three miles; that would indicate soft ground and pretty much dismiss most of our excuses/rationale for his run. I then looked at the times of the other two chases on the card and, although each was over 2 miles, 1 furlong, they were run in times 7.9 and 3.9 seconds slower than standard; once gain, indicating that our race was run in a comparatively slow time. Something seemed strange so I decided to look at the standard times per furlong to see if that offered any clue; you would normally expect the average time/furlong to be slower over a longer distance in the same way that the average time per yard is quicker in a 100m spring that it is in a 400m race. The answer was intriguing: over the 2mile1 furlong distance (17 furlongs) the standard time is 246 seconds or an average of 14.47 seconds per furlong; over the 3 miles and ½ furlong (24.5 furlongs) of our race the standard time is average is 348 seconds or an average of 14.20 seconds – this is clearly wrong and the Racing Post should correct it.
As an example, they were racing at Kempton yesterday and the standard times for 2 miles and 3 miles there equate to an average time per furlong of 14.375 seconds and 14.75 seconds respectively; this seems much more logical. Using that sort of differential, it would mean that our was run about 17 seconds outside of the standard – much more like it
I spoke to Peter and he ate up and is ‘perfect’ this morning. I told Kim and she said he should be, he didn’t do much yesterday! Perhaps he was just looking after himself for our real long-range target: the Midlands Grand national at Uttoxeter in March. That’s over 4 miles (a mile further) and the ground is normally pretty soft (if not almost unraceable) so that should suit us perfectly. He went up five pounds for his run in the Kerry National but they never come back down the handicap so quickly; with that in mind we, perhaps, shouldn’t be too surprised or disappointed that he has only been dropped one pound to 137.
I also asked Peter about Mine Now in the Pertemps Qualifier today where there were ‘only’ 29 runners. He said ‘the ground might not be soft enough’ but I said that the ground was riding softer on the hurdles course and Peter then seemed to remind himself that the flat course has been used during the summer and will have been watered more frequently which would explain why it was softer. Realizing he was in danger of thinking Mine Now might actually have a chance he quickly changed the subject but, by that time, I already knew what to do. You see, as previously explained in these pages, Peter gets disproportionately less confident the closer the race is and the fact that he didn’t flat out say it had no chance meant, using my Peter Fahey:English translation dictionary, that he was a virtual certainty. Consequently, I was happy to back him on the Tote and the win dividend of 55.80 will do very nicely thank you very much!
He never mentioned Toushan so I had to interpret the omission and decided I would risk a fiver. He was a fortunate winner but great for Kevin (who rode him) and a nice double for Peter and Ber.
We are out with them tomorrow night and are treating them to a night in Dublin. Kim is concerned because the hotel has a 24 hour residents bar and Ber has been known to enjoy such indulgences in the past. However, this time, she is determined to retire early enough so as to enjoy breakfast on Saturday; we will see!