Captain's Blog - Saturday 8th December
Horses are far too quickly labelled as not being genuine these days. The other day in a two-mile hurdle I heard a horse described as a bit of a dodge after he had pulled very hard. He then found not a lot in the finish.
Of course he did not find much in the finish, he had no petrol left!
When horses are tired or hurting, they roll about under pressure, veer off a true line and can put their heads in the air. These traits are often linked to being ungenuine, when they should be linked to more fundamental issues such as pulling too hard early on, not getting the trip, or not being able to breathe.
With this in mind I have been giving some thought to what happened to Fingal Bay yesterday.
For those of you who did not see his performance he jumped badly out to his left on a number of occasions, virtually refused at one fence and then in the home straight ran out through the wing of a fence.
Some will now believe that he must be consigned to the ungenuine draw and written off for future punting purposes. Others may sensibly decide that he may not have the bottle for fences and needs to return to hurdles.
I take another view. I think he was hurting, something was physically wrong with him and the only way he could get away from the pain was to try to get out of the task in hand. Horses do strange things when they feel a need to do what they want rather than what they are being asked to do.
For example I have broken in many yearlings and a number of colts that I have worked with have been very strong willed and when being lunged in circles they have stopped and thrown themselves to the ground, refusing to get up or even move.
They did this because they were not happy with being lunged around in circles. Their problem was a mental one. With Fingal Bay we know he does not have mental issues about racing, so I am convinced his antics yesterday were founded in physical issues that will come to light in due course.
I believe in time he will bounce back and should not be written off.
One further point is that if you watch the replay of the race you will see that on several occasions he holds his head at a weird angle which suggests all was not well with him.
Our selection yesterday finished second. Today I like Fonterutoli in the 2.50 at Lingfield. I tipped him each-way the other day when he was a fast-finishing third. He suffered some trouble in-running there at a vital stage, but for which he would have gone close to winning. Once again I think we should be backing him each-way at around about 11/2. He looks certain to make the frame and may just win.
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