Ashforth’s Angles: A triumph of hope over disappointment
Hamilton: the crowds will not be cheering a Carlovian win on Monday
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos) A triumph of hope over repeated disappointment
By David Ashforth 8:30aM 26 SEP 2016
LOOKING at Monday’s cards, what is missing from the figures next to most horses’ names is the number 1. There aren’t too many 2s, either.
In the late actor and racehorse owner Robert Morley’s immortal (and often repeated by me) words, Monday’s horses are not monotonous winners.
The day’s races are a triumph of enduring hope over repeated disappointment; a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity, without which horse racing would not exist. Either that, or a lot of racehorse owners are barmy.
As anyone who read that first bit yesterday knows, if I could make one horse win on this ordinary day it would be Carlovian (Hamilton 2.20, Class 6), an 18 race maiden rated 48. I won’t be able to because Carlovian has been put off by the heavy going and is staying at home.
Still, not only is Hamilton going ahead, Carlovian-less, but there’s tremendous news for all trainers searching for that elusive edge over their rivals. A revolution is coming, one that will make pioneers like Martin Pipe and Aidan O’Brien seem insignificant. Thanks to Cecilie Mejdell, Turid Buvik, Grete Jorgensen and Knut Bee we now know that horses can be trained, quite easily and quickly, to communicate whether or not they want to have a blanket on.
Research conducted in Norway, its findings recently published in the Journal of the International Society for Applied Ethology, established that, with 10 to 15 minutes training each day, within two weeks all 23 horses in the experiment learnt to express their preference by choosing between symbols. “Horses chose to stay without a blanket in nice weather and they chose to have a blanket on when the weather was wet, windy and cold.” You’re probably the same, with pullovers.
A new era of asking horses what they want is upon us, although it is probably best not to start by asking, “Would you like to go for a three mile chase at Ffos Las or stay at home and lounge around in a paddock?”
It won’t be long before horses are presented with menus and will be able to choose their own breakfasts and dinners, their own work riders and their own jockeys. “Would you like a tall one or a short one?”
When it comes to apprentices, there are interesting choices to be made in the 5.10 at Bath. It’s not only one of those ‘hands and heels’ races but also one of a series with interesting conditions. Qualifying apprentices must not have ridden more than 10 winners before May 10, with allowances based on winners ridden before September 23.
It gives an opportunity to inexperienced riders but also makes apprentices who have progressed a lot this season attractive. From that point of view attention will focus on the mounts of George Wood, Hollie Doyle, Lulu Stanford and Cameron Noble.
Having ridden his first winner in March, Wood has now ridden 28 from this year’s 242 rides. Equistar will be a popular choice.
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