Friday, August 19, 2016

Still Numb

Shine Tiara should be out on the 22nd at Kawasaki (teaming up with Mori-kun rather than Konno-san, as the latter has gone for a better horse), with Million Ways at Funabashi in the first week of September - maybe. I say maybe, as the excuse that Urawa was fully booked beggars belief, because Urawa struggles to fill gates at the best of times! As for Vertice, it's nowhere near ready, and its next test opportunity is the end of September. I think we can safely say we've been sold yet another dud. Nothing regarding the Shadai TC and Sunday TC horses, as usual, but then Northern Farm is raking it in, so they're happy at least. As for the JRA horses, more of the usual bull. Larressingle is the only one truly worth keeping, with Belle Plage as a grey area possibility. The others, if they're constantly in as bad health as the reports suggest, should all be put into retirement immediately.

PS. Poor Blacklister got badly blocked at York, so the jockey rightly just cruised him in at the end - there was no point pushing him when a decent result was out of reach. He'll be back to fight another day, although this amazing beast has probably earned a good rest by now. He's ran almost as much as all of the remaining JRA nags put together this year (14 times versus 18 outings for all six Japanese horses combined), which is a testament to his strength and character, as well as a good indicator of how poor the 'racing' is over here. All Rosie is getting better, but still not performing anywhere near its capability for some reason (today seemed to be a dislike of sand kickback). Not much to look forward to with Shine Tiara either - if the typhoon forecast hits, game over (and another month not earning anything), and even if the race is run, the competition looks way too strong anyway, at least by the standard the damned thing has set recently by hobbling around the track like a zombie; another one that should be retired if it doesn't do something worthwhile quick. A rough week...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Just received the monthly bill from Carrot Club, and unfortunately it makes further mockery of people trying to support NAR. Bills for the equivalent of 680,000 yen a month on Chocolat Sucre and 650,000 yen on Trovao just doesn't make it a realistic proposition, especially when they're injured (something that happens far too often out here) or piss off on holiday every five minutes, and only bring in a pittance when they do eventually run. It's hard enough to justify support as it is, with stupid purchase prices followed by a hefty insurance bill, and then ordinary running costs thrown in on top. Please explain how Shine Tiara cost less than half those amounts this month, being in training, and was the only one of six NAR nags to earn a penny over the accounting period. You buy into several horses to spread risk, so that one can make up for another doing less well. When none of them run and maintenance bills go through the roof, someone somewhere is laughing their head off at the money falling from the skies, but the club needs to start thinking about the future - they've already lost one customer that has spent a lot of money with them (ie. me), while the regular customer base is ageing fast, and younger folks are just as happy betting via the internet; half of them don't care whether it's a horse or a cockroach, but now they don't have to go to tracks, there's even less chance of them investing in the sport. It's a basic rule of business that seems to be forgotten in the race industry out here - look after your customers. Remember, I've been running a Thoroughbred single-handed in Japan for years - it has top people looking after it in a top gaff, with high-quality feed and bedding, the country's top vet and dentist on call, the top massage person, excellent transport to and from events, and one of the best farriers in the business, which means I know how much these things cost a lot better than most. It's far from cheap, but these bills are outrageous. Perhaps when racing in China gets rolling and folks there don't need to spend here, and the new domestic generation shows no interest in ownership, things might change. Until then, expect nothing for your money. Unless, that is, you find great pleasure in getting a cut and paste report every week and an inflated bill each month with no justification for the rise in charges...

PS. Part of Chocolat's bill is from the throat operation by all accounts, although even allowing for that (knowing the price of the operation from inside information), it is still a heavy bill, and I can't see a horse like this one justifying the expense. Trovao had a big invoice the month before, too, so the six weeks of training centre billing doesn't make sense either - unless, of course, we're charged next to nothing next month. It needs to start earning fast to justify all those months of not running whilst aiming for a classic trail that was ultimately cut short anyway.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sayesse V3

Courtesy Lord Ilsley Racing
Graham Lee rode exceptionally well to guide Sayesse to his third victory in great style, despite the handicappers doing their best to hold him back. Indeed, the betting had him as the rank outsider at 20/1, but Mick bringing down the distance to a straight sprint over 5F enabled the pony to show his class. A brilliant win!

For the record, Sayesse has brought in roughly twice his auction price already, while the other LIR runner, Ettie Hart, is within a grand of getting her cost back. This, remember, is their first year of racing (both first ran in April 2016), and to recover purchase costs that quickly is remarkable, not to mention absolutely impossible in Japan. This is the difference - reasonable auction prices that allow a margin for error, versus sky-high prices that mean you will hardly ever recover purchase costs, even after multiple wins. Add in costly running costs, and it is clear that only one in a thousand horses in Japan will ever pay for themselves - prices are set without a single thought for owners, while those in England are kept reasonable to give owners the best possible value for money. Racing, at the end of the day, is about enjoyment, but finance and greed dominates to such an extent in Japan, that one simply cannot enjoy the experience as soon as those rose-tinted glasses are removed.

PS. Blacklister runs at York on Friday, hoping to make it four in a row! Sayesse and Masterson should be back in action again next week, while Larressingle should be out again on the 28th, this time with Monsieur Lemaire in the saddle - this really is the horse's last chance... 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tuesday Titbits

Surprise, surprise, a further delay on Pop Label's return. He has been nothing but a drain on finances ever since he was a juvenile champion and duly run when injured. I wonder if I can make a claim against Sunday Thoroughbred Club or the trainer that did the damage that left him as good as useless?

Looks like there is going to be some shuffling around in the Box 41 camp in England, while Sayesse runs in the Lord Ilsley colours at Leicester tonight. Also an interesting entry coming up for All Rosie in Australia on Saturday, with my old friend Masa Abe at the reins.