Well, Another Door runs tomorrow (in quite a testing race as it happens), and Kealoha, Magic Key and Chocolat Sucre should be running at Funabashi next week. Progress, at last, after months and months of paying out and getting absolutely nothing for it - other than a feeling of being pissed about. Pop Label should be out on the 18th, and there can be no excuses for another bad performance this time, although I'm sure Shadai will manage to find one somehow when the seemingly inevitable happens - 'Pop' has not ran well for three whole years, so I can't see anything changing to be perfectly frank. The horse should be retired. Any club that gave even a modicum of thought about owners would have got rid of it last year, if not before.
On the subject of retirement, Phosphorus is still is no-man's land, with no hints on a return date - a situation that is not acceptable considering it went for a simple snip god knows how long ago. Definitely up for retirement is War Chronicle, with the trainer saying ridiculous things that basically mean constant holidays and give him a perfect excuse for crap results at the same time. If the horse has a problem, you fix it once and for all, or retire it. Pathetic! The same number of races, or gate appearances at least, as Another Door, despite being a full two years older. How on earth Carrot Club can allow a situation like this, offering owners nothing but bullshit, month in, month out, is beyond me...
Larressingle is no closer to being posted at a new place than the month before, filling the coffers at Northern Farm nicely, but really annoying me, along with other shareholders no doubt. I'm not sure what to think about Belle Plage - the mumbling seems to be another way of covering up the fact that it won't run, and that's what it needs more than anything. Million Ways is still on holiday, by the way ("getting better," which is obvious, as it couldn't possibly get any worse), as is Rush Attack, and again there's no sign of a return any time soon.
Rounding things up on the Japan front, Trovao is entered for a big race, but it's not ran for an eternity, so, although it grieves me to say it, I think it's a hollow gesture rather than a serious attempt at victory; Mashima-kun is being lined up as the jockey apparently. Vertice might be out at the next TCK meeting (in the week Pop Label is due out), but there's no guarantee.
Lotus Blossom has just moved from one NF facility to another, spreading the money around the boys for as long as possible, and keeping a debut out of sight for yet another month. To rub salt into the wound, while it's contemporaries are winning (and therefore starting to cover their extortionate running costs), we'll be charged two lots of transport to get the horse where it should have been months ago, on top of the usual highly inflated bill, then there will be proper training, a test, and eventually a race. At this rate, 'Lotus' will be a three-year old before it makes its bloody debut! It will have to win everything in sight for the next three or four years to cover its cost and bills thus far. You can bet that won't happen, and you also can bet that's why I won't be buying any more Japanese horses until the day I die - it's just a total waste of money, with frustration outgunning the fun element by a ratio of ten to one.
PS. Another Door started as firm favourite at odds of 1.7:1, and finished third, not far off fifth. The earnings will cover about four days of expenses, which I think you can imagine is something that does not go down well, especially given its 16,000,000 yen price-tag. It has now won the princely sum of 765,000 yen from seven races (eight if we include the one it was excluded from), and I'm not exaggerating when I say we have a 23-year old TB at the stable that could have done better than that over such a campaign. Guess what? Before going to Sonoda, it will go to NF. Wow, what a shock! I suppose we'll still have NF reports going into the Spring now.
PPS. As expected, the softening up yesterday was a way to break the news that Belle Plage will not be running again this weekend, and I guess the next thing will be a trip to Northern Farm - it's been at the stables for five weeks now, so judging by the form that seems to be standard practice in JRA, I imagine we'll have a notice any minute saying the horse will be shipped off for a short break, which usually ends up at three months or more. Not enough gates available for the selected race is the official excuse. Ironic that it should have run last week, when there were spaces in the gate for once, but it was stated "next week would be better." Either way, it really is all just a bad joke, with not the slightest relationship to real racing. Let that be a warning to all those thinking of getting into the scene - I would recommend sitting on the sidelines and letting others part with their silly money, for I guarantee you would get more enjoyment from burning the cash and watching the colours in the flames than you would from 'investing' it in Japanese racing, and it would probably cost you less, too. If you want to have a go at the race game, do it in England. In fact, Zimbabwe would be a better bet than the Land Of The Rising Sun.