Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Jazz Singer V1

Paul Townend pulled The Jazz Singer clear of a 25-strong field at Navan in a finely timed jumps race, keeping the horse out of trouble on the outside all the way around (adding to the 3800m distance), and only pushing the pace once the final straight came into view. The trainer did say he was looking good at home, and he was certainly strong at the finish, keeping the lead with ease once he'd nosed in front. Well done to all involved!

Hollie Doyle brought Masterson home in a handy third at Chester soon after, so a win and two thirds from four starts on the day can't be bad. We've lost All Rosie, but he seems to have lost the will to race, so it's better he retires anyway. We'll have to wait and see if Larressingle can adjust to dirt racing in a tougher environment, but judging by Saturday's run, she should provide us with some good sport. Louis thinks she will probably end up at Nagoya, although nothing has been said for sure as yet.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Busy Day

Another disappointing race from All Rosie on Friday, although he is being given another chance today as a swansong run under Lee Attard. Larressingle (0-6-1-2) is also facing the chop at Nakayama, in what looks like a totally unsuitable race on paper - the price we've paid for leaving things too late, and handing races to others. Someone in the know lined up as a buyer, perhaps? Nothing would surprise me nowadays. Well, whatever - I'm past caring to be honest...

On a brighter note, this is probably the first day we've ever had horses running in all four countries we campaign in - I certainly can't remember it happening before, and I tend to recall things like that, even though I can't remember what I had for dinner the day before half the time. Some of the results won't be in until the wee hours due to the time differences, but we'll be able to confirm the Japanese and Aussie ones shortly after lunch.

PS. I have to say, Larressingle did much better than I expected on dirt, although third place means goodbye nonetheless. The horse did well, but the typical blocking - a black mark on Japanese racing that makes a mockery of the sport when the nags finally do escape the money-grabbing grips of NF - screwed things up from halfway round. Uchida-san could have gone wider from the start, I guess, but it's no good going over what could have been now, as that was the final chance for Larressingle, and without a win, it's fate was sealed. The only good JRA horse we've had in ages, and now it's gone. All Rosie, too - it's a shame it couldn't have performed in a manner that reflected Jo's hard work, but another chapter has come to an end, and a lot less painfully than with a lot of the Japanese ponies!

PPS. A fascinating situation has come about with Larressingle. After such a fine dirt debut, it has been decided to run the horse in NAR for a while, with the long-term plan of bringing it back into the JRA fold at a later date. If it goes into NAR, I'd rather it stayed there, as I'm against this swapping and changing business, but at least the only Carrot horse worth keeping is still on our lists, and we'll see how things go as soon as a new stable is found.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Japan Blues

Despite having been on holiday for over four months now, there's still no sign of Belle Plage running any time soon, which is frankly ridiculous, although reports state that War Chronicle is three to five weeks away from getting back out on the track. However, I guess there will be another barrage of excuses to keep it at NF in the meantime - plenty of money for 'the boys' and no effort from the trainers, which is the way they like it in Japan (especially in JRA circles). Larressingle is down to run at the weekend, but the race hasn't been confirmed, nor has a jockey been lined up - I don't rate the chances of a good result anyway, what with a long (doubtless needless) trip up north and a dirt debut over a longer distance than ever attempted before. I think we'll be saying goodbye to the nag, assuming it can even get a race, when I'd much rather be rid of the long-term cripple, Rush Attack, and the overly-fragile War Chronicle.

In NAR, Another Door has moved to a trainer at Monbetsu, but almost certainly too late to make the difference needed to claw back money and make a horse worthy of Nankan levels. I honestly believe this is waste almost akin to J'ai Un Reve - another horse that was never given a proper chance through a lack of training, despite the great expense involved. It has a test on the 26th, and - assuming it passes that - it can then race again. Vertice should be having its first test at the end of October, when most of its contemporaries, except Lotus Blossom of course, have been out numerous times by now, actually learning their art in the heat of battle - the learning curve will be long and hard having left things this late. Meanwhile, Pop Label is at TCK today, although I'm not expecting much (again!) due to the wet track and a thick layer of race-rust, and Kealoha should be running at Funabashi next week.

At least the kids have been doing well, with Sophie picking up sixth place in her A3 debut, and only dropping a few points on the second day - she seemed to put too much pressure on herself after such a good start the day before. Louis got 56.5 in L1, which went to 58.5 with his handicap ('Bugatti' being born in Japan), and that has to be regarded as an excellent performance; he did okay in L2, but he's still learning that particular exercise as yet. After four dressage runs, 'Bugatti' was given a rest - that means he missed two sets of jumping on top of his two days and four lots of dressage, and not because he's tired, but because there wasn't a jumping competition this month, otherwise he'd have done it. It brings the comments against horses like Belle Plage into perspective - to be told that a horse is tired after a few seconds of cantering and/or being on the treadmill implies that it is either seriously out of condition or needs retiring, or maybe we are just being fed bull. Either way, it's not a good situation, and it's certainly a poor return for our huge financial outlay.

PS. Pop Label wasn't last, but too close to being last for comfort. It's bloody annoying, as the jockey gave him the best shot possible (over a distance he likes but was kept away from for far too long), but there was just nothing there coming off the last corner. Now, we know he doesn't like a wet track, and seeing as a heavy typhoon was blowing over, the boggy conditions were thus a long way from ideal, but even so... Summing up: Ridiculous rain, ridiculous result, ridiculous waste of time and money - the latter comment featuring in the summary of this horse's races all too often. Personally, I'd give it one more chance and then retire it if it finishes outside the top three.

PPS. Larressingle has been confirmed for Nakayama on the 24th, in a rather odd 1800m dirt race. At least Uchida-san (the jockey) knows what he's doing on dirt. The question is will Larressingle be able to perform on the new surface over a longer distance than usual? Masterson is due to run at Chester on the same day. I think we'll have more success with the English horse...