Well, the stable reports said this should be an interesting race coming up, as the horse is up and ready for its long overdue debut. As such, I was actually looking forward to today. The betting also said Vertice was a clear favourite, and it looked as if it would live up to that promise off the last corner. And then what? To say it ran like a donkey would be cruel to donkeys, for they can run much faster than that! In the end, Vertice finished an incredibly distant seventh (3.5 seconds or 18 lengths down) out of eight runners, despite a few smacks of the whip in the closing stages. That has to be probably the poorest race performance I've ever had to suffer, and there have been plenty of stinkers in Japan, that's for sure. Having missed the 'Fresh Challenge' series at Monbetsu, that was the only chance of an even remotely respectable pot, too - this will be a drain on finances and nothing else, for there's no fun in watching a horse simply make up the numbers and finish so far off the pace that a three-legged greyhound could beat it. I'm now looking forward to the retirement notice more than its next race, if there is one. It's hardly a brilliant advert for shifting the remaining three out of four NAR Carrot yearlings, is it?
PS. The only thing you can say is at least we saw some honesty in the post-race report summary, which is usually sickly sweet and overly positive, written from a high and mighty perspective. Mashima-kun described the performance as a "shock," and Arayama-san, the trainer, said it was a "disgusting" run. Doesn't help pay the bills, of course (back to zero yen syndrome again with a bump), but acknowledgement of total failure is hopefully a foundation on which to build improvement.
PPS. The pain continues... The Jazz Singer was doing quite well at Fairyhouse until a fall at the last fence. At least horse and rider are fine, so we can fight another day.