Kept waking up with the cold last night, and when I finally gave up, staying awake but not moving from beyond the covers until the clock struck a more reasonable hour, I got around to thinking about my future racing plans with Sunday TC and Shadai TC out of my life for good, and more specifically the latest batch of grey Carrot Club reports.
Basically, War Chronicle is now in the greedy grip of Northern, so we won't see that again for months. More honesty has been used with Larressingle, where it has been stated that spring racing is in mind - there's nothing wrong with the horse, mind you, but NF needs to be funded at our expense as usual. Nothing on Rush Attack, despite having supposed to have been back at Miho TC for four days, but I think we can safely say it isn't going to race for a long time, and you can also bet it isn't going to keep up any momentum after that debut, despite the fact we've just paid out for almost a year for an injury that should realistically have spelt retirement. So, in conclusion (as we concluded a long time ago), anything in JRA is a waste of time and money.
Right now, the racing I really wanted to support - NAR - is looking no better. Vertice is away at Northern Farm (surprise, surprise!), and you can bet once they have their claws in it, it won't come back for months. It needs race experience, and it's not going to get that where it is. Trovao, too - same situation, with it being held back as a star, and then disappointing when it does eventually run. Lotus Blossom won on its long, long overdue debut, but it will have to fight stronger horses with a lot more experience as the year progresses. If it goes the way of Chocolat Sucre and Shine Tiara, meaning downhill fast, all that accumulated red ink will keep flowing in rivers. At least it is running now, and therefore giving something for our monthly 'investment', even if that return is almost half a year too late in coming. As such, its expense is just about forgiven... for now.
And this is where we come to Miracle Ways. It's supposed to be running at TCK, but 'Million' should have been retired ages ago in my opinion, as it hasn't performed well since March 2016. It is now floundering at a place that costs a fortune because it's literally halfway across the country rather than on the doorstep, and their training leaves a lot to be desired if the last run is anything to go by. There's certainly zero value for money in this one, with the expense added by the Midway Farm location making it feel even worse, and I've decided it will be this nag's forthcoming race that makes the final decision on whether to stay or go. Of course, if it doesn't run, that will also make the decision to quit Carrot Club an easy one. A line has been drawn in the sand for next week - no more drifting or rolling with the flow. If the result is inconclusive, it will be down to Lotus Blossom to give us a clearer answer in the second week of February.
One thing is for sure, my desire to support NAR has finally been outweighed by commonsense, having given it chance after chance - far more chances that my head would usually give anything or anyone. I will not be used as an ATM machine for a moment longer than necessary - I want to see something for my money beyond cut-and-paste reports, excuses for not running month after month, and a series of empty promises. I will take my custom to countries that appreciate my support, and where I feel I'm getting something worthwhile for my money.
PS. Million Ways is supposed to be out on the 27th. Looking at the bill that just landed, though, with Trovao in particular costing an amount that cannot possibly be justified, I have decided enough is enough. I no longer have any racehorses in Japan...