Saturday, August 6, 2016

One Answer: Retirement

Perfumer is still in trouble, now moving even further away from its base stable to another Northern Farm facility. Well, I suppose there are that many JRA horses being kept at NF, it could be a lack of space, but with this particular nag, it's hardly ever been race fit in its entire career - one lucky win, and now owners are paying out month after month to hear a sob story. This horse has never been any good, and for the sake of its health, it should have been retired ages ago.

On the subject of retirement, Infinity Love put in a performance that was even worse than expected, on a par with the Million Ways debacle. The new trainer gave it a shot and, indeed, an improvement was seen when he had the horse in his own care, but under Yahagi it was useless, and the spell at NF has put it back in that category. I fully expect that 16th place - and a distant 16th at that, being a full 2.4 seconds off the pace - to be the final nail in the coffin.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nearly The Weekend

Lillyput was a handy fourth at Yarmouth, looking really good until the leading pair pulled away in the last furlong. At least Lillyput is no longer a weak link in the Box 41 syndicate - she is definitely starting to uphold the honour of this noble equipe. She should be out again on the 10th with any luck.

It's always a pleasure to watch Mick Channon's horses, because win, lose or draw, you can see the effort was made. Some people think I'm not happy with Japanese racing because I'm not winning often enough, and this is wrong. All I ask for is visible effort, and I've not even been getting that recently, while the injury list is far, far too long. Yes, horses get injured, like all athletes, but not at the rate these nags do! As usual, as it has for weeks and weeks, virtually everything is stuck at Northern Farm. In fact, just four out of my 18 Japanese horses are at their stables, where they're supposed to be, although that's actually a huge improvement on the recent statistics!

Million Ways runs today on what will hopefully be a comeback trail (I shall watch the race on the TV, as I can't be bothered dragging my ass all the way to Funabashi to be disappointed when I can do that in the comfort of my home with a beer in my hand), along with Infinity Love on Sunday. The latter will almost certainly be retired after this race, as she hasn't had the direct care and attention of the trainer or even its regular groom (nothing new there in JRA), and it was only starting to improve after some proper TLC was being heaped on her. Well, it will be one less to keep paying for. Larressingle might suffer the same fate, as it didn't eat well after the last race, but with time running out for that all-important win that allows clubs to keep horses (and then keep taking the money whilst giving even less in return to the owners in terms of runs and updates), it will now be pushed to the limit with Kosei Miura aboard - assuming the race isn't oversubscribed, of course...

PS. Million Ways shot out the gate with style, and then transformed into the proverbial donkey going into the last corner. Having been told to expect big things, I have to say that was one of the worst races I've seen, and gives me no confidence whatsoever in the horse's future. The sugar-sweet post-race report certainly doesn't tie-up with what I saw - extra bulk, yes, a whole 20kg up on the last outing, but not much more than the race weight for the first win a year ago, and the stalking (aka marking) that was mentioned only matters to us when it's a close finish, not when you get beaten by 20 lengths! Frankly, I would give it one more go and retire it if it doesn't improve.

PPS. Masterson ran hard, but was only rewarded with a fifth place in what turned out to be a very competitive race at Brighton. More UK racing to come before the week is through, with the limited number of horses I have with Mick (six in all, but only five out so far) regularly running more each week than the 18 in Japan do in a month.