Harmony Fair was totally useless at Nakayama today, coming 15th out of 16 runners, and the only reason she wasn't last was because the nag at the back obviously had a problem. Amazingly, the trainer has come to the conclusion that she doesn't like dirt - something that I could have told him a year or more ago! Although she has improved under his guidance, the problem is finding a turf race for her. After today's performance, it will be even more difficult to get a berth - and let's face it, she'd be running on turf now if the opportunity was there. The way I see it, with a mediocre horse that only likes the green stuff and a piss-poor JRA turf calendar, there is no alternative but retirement. Talk of next races and R&R sessions is just wasting time and money...
PS. This is very interesting, so I'm leaving the original text intact. I read the trainer's report using a translation programme, as the missus was out of the house, and either the wording has been changed or my translation machine is as useless as Harmony Fair. Or both, of course! Anyway, according to the wife, the report states that dirt is not a problem, which may be so from a traction and stamina point of view. However, if the horse hates sand in it's face, it's like saying that a set of snow tyres work really well until they melt on contact with ice.
And if the sand being kicked up is a problem, why wait until race day to see if anything has changed? You either run the horse like Shun Ishizaki did the other day until it gets used to it, or you throw in the towel. Unless you are blessed with a rocket start and stay at the front, sand is unavoidable in a dirt race. Period. Naturally, there is the other option of staying so far off the pace that nothing bothers you, which seems to have been today's tactic as soon as the chips were down.
The trainer is also saying it was a much better performance than last time, but trailing in at the back of the field does not deserve a pat on the back for anyone or anything involved in today's race - far from it. Positive thought is great, but there's a point where it slips into either gross naivety or bull. Having been fed a constant stream of BS by JRA trainers in the past, I guess that's what it is. Persistence is great, too, but the guy who keeps trying to get blood from a stone will only be laughed at.
To rub salt into the wound, the horse is going on an R&R session, which means no real training. It will still hate sand, but will now come back to the track in high-tension mode, meaning it will fluff the start. I have been patient with the new trainer, as he made a difference, but my patience has worn decidedly thin. A fighting effort is all I ever ask for, but 15th shows no effort whatsoever. I suppose the trainer doesn't care about results, as he's getting paid, and Northern Farm will get their allotted pennies. But does Carrot Club have no pride? Simply making up numbers in a race does the club image no good at all, and owners - including me - get seriously fed up. Mistoffelees was dropped in his second season, and he was a far better prospect than Harmony. If you put a 56kg jockey on my back, there is more chance of me winning than this horse. Give up!