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  1. #1
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    Rooney's boycott Cheltenham

    https://www.racingpost.com/news/late...y-fears/359521


    https://www.britishhorseracing.com/w...mendations.pdf

    Hopefully those links work any thoughts from the people on here who know more about the animal side of things than I do.

    For me there is a very worrying side to this as to how far it goes and where we end up.

    Although I've really done no research on injuries and fatalities at Cheltenham in comparison to other courses I think there are of course some obvious factors that the BHA review has addressed with field sizes and ground.

    The ground issue for me is fair enough as they have stated that no festival should start on worse than good to soft. The biggest problem with that of course is one mans gd-sft is another mans gd-firm. For people who've dabbled in the Dark arts (speed rating) most will have took in the art of producing a variance figure and will appreciate the difference between what the clerk calls the going description....and the actual bloody going description especially with the likes of was it Kirkland Tellwright up at Haydock ? Many a time have I known a Festival to be riding faster than the official description. There has been a piece done on the going stick that I've read that say it can't be used to give a solid description and that it varies from course to course because of other factors ? It also said you need a separate verbal subjective opinion on the going ? Why ? Are they trying to say in this day and age they can't produce a machine to put and accurate number on how hard a surface is ? I'd imagine there is a way the kids could do that on their Iphone if you asked them nicely.

    There is no doubt to my mind that the ground is a major factor. Too fast or too heavy is never going to be a good thing for horses welfare (extremes are great from a punting perspective) so with horses welfare the main concern in jumps racing I certainly think I'd see going stick readings above 7 and below 4 as problematic so should they a) come up with something more accurate than a clerk and a going stick if they say readings can't be relied upon and b) have a cut off point for where racing can't take place ? Admittedly that doesn't bare thinking about the amount of cancelled meetings you could probably firstly say goodbye to summer jumping ( can't say as I'd miss it) but courses without decent irrigation systems or drainage systems would undoubtedly suffer.

    As for the difference between Cheltenham and everywhere else for safety, the main thing that I think leads to incidents is pace of races and unfortunately at the better courses in the better races you are going to get that. Slowing the ground can go someway to negating that but overall when things get competitive nothing will make horses make mistakes like pace. If you think about it logically if a horse is galloping in his comfort zone its a lot easier to jump, the problem comes when a horse is being asked to go half a stride quicker than he wants to or jump when he's given his all and is for want of a better phrase a bit knackered. You're also going to get more problems with exhaustion when a race has been run at Championship pace rather than the jog and sprints we see all through the winter. I can't really see a way around this issue and unfortunately the most competitive racing is where the general public cast its eye.

    Field sizes is another fair point I think have they recommended 20 runner max fields for all ? That's fair enough I feel without them being too totalitarian and spoiling the event as a spectacle.

    Any other thoughts.
    Last edited by Danny; 1st January 2019 at 9:39 AM. Reason: Apologies for the apostrophe in the title it is early on New Years day :)
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  3. #2
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    While the Rooneys' prerogative is to decide whether to run their horses, my concern is that they go public with their reasons.

    It comes across that they are trying to force the hand of the clerk of the course into artificially softening the ground, something I am totally against.

    Other owners also shell out serious money for horses and some of those horses will act best on drier ground.

    Are they to be denied winning opportunities for their horses because the clerk is more or less forced to pander to a rich owner?

    The British weather is a great unpredictable. It's part of racing. Some seasons will see prolonged dry spells, others prolonged wet spells. If the going doesn't suit, don't run the horse. What could be simpler?

    I don't mind judicious use of watering in order to promote grass growth but am totally against deliberately altering the ground. It's bad enough that we'll probably never see a good-ground Grand National ever again so let's not allow them to fvck the going at 'ordinary' meetings.
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  5. #3
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    Whilst I agree from a punting perspective and as you say some people have horses crying out for faster ground but do you not think faster ground poses more risk of injury D.O ? I'm only really playing devils advocate as whilst I'm all for non cruelty to animals and never seeing animals suffer where fatalities are concerned the harsh realities are most horses will end up as meat for consumption at some point so if a horse is enjoying what he is doing and living a pampered life in the main does it make a difference whether he meets his end on the Course or in the slaughterhouse ?

    I'd certainly rather take my chances as a racehorse than live life as a Dairy cow.

    One day as a lion or a lifetime as a lamb and all that.
    Last edited by Danny; 1st January 2019 at 10:36 AM.
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    Strikes me as a capricious sort. Has had some NH types break down on the ground and now wants to take his ball elsewhere.

    As DO says, trying to force the clerk of course's hand is a dangerous precedent to set.

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    There may well be more risk of injury with faster ground, Danny, but maybe horses that find the surface an issue shouldn't be asked to race on it.

    No doubt other forumites will have better information but I'm pretty sure a lot of NH racing in the USA takes place on very firm surfaces. It would be interesting to know what the rate of attrition is over there, or in any other hot climate.
    Two's company, three's allowed.

  8. #6
    Senior Member tiggers1972's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redundant pal View Post
    Strikes me as a capricious sort. Has had some NH types break down on the ground and now wants to take his ball elsewhere.

    As DO says, trying to force the clerk of course's hand is a dangerous precedent to set.
    I'd agree, they seem to have short memories.
    The injury to Starchitect happened on very soft ground, and their highest profile success came on a decent surface.
    Going public is bang out of order imo, agree with what Dessie says,
    Last edited by tiggers1972; 1st January 2019 at 10:52 AM.

  9. #7
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    Danny
    It's well known thst CoC's will generally err toward the optomistic, in an effort to attract the best/most runners to their particular course.
    However, (as discussed on here recently), imo the going stick remains the most useful, accurate and inependent guide we've got, so why it's pilloried so much escapes me completely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reet hard View Post
    Danny
    It's well known thst CoC's will generally err toward the optomistic, in an effort to attract the best/most runners to their particular course.
    However, (as discussed on here recently), imo the going stick remains the most useful, accurate and inependent guide we've got, so why it's pilloried so much escapes me completely.
    Yes I'd agree Reet which is why I'm saying if its good enough and the readings are honest why don't they use that number as the be all and end all instead of letting a clerk put a description on the ground that in some cases has no bearing of what the going stick has told us. When you're looking back on form unless you've kept accurate (hard to do over longer trips ) Variance figures Reet you've got to look back at a horses history with going descriptions that could mean anything it seriously would not hurt for the RP to display going stick figures in previous form. Nor would it hurt from a punting perspective for going stick readings to be taken in between races for instances where ground is drying through the card or more importantly when its bucketing down with rain through the meeting ? That has sort of veered off the welfare subject a little but its a constant thorn in my arse why a little common sense can't prevail in what should not be a case for rocket scientists.
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    Doesn't faster ground mean races being run at a pace that might result in more falls and, God forbid, more horse deaths?
    Ah! but a man's reach should exceed his grasp......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Phillips View Post
    Doesn't faster ground mean races being run at a pace that might result in more falls and, God forbid, more horse deaths?
    Not necessarily. I wouldn't know if stats would be to hand, but how many horses were killed each day during the summer months this year when the ground was most likely to be 'faster' ground given the summer we had?
    As already said, someone's good to soft is not preferred ground for others. The weather has no favourites and if an owner/trainer doesn't want to run their horse(s) on a certain ground, whatever the race, that is up to them, so could part of the problem be that horses are run on ground they don't like because it is Cheltenham, obviously the highlight the Festival, being a once in a year chance for 'glory'? Personally I would not run a horse of my mine on ground I knew they wouldn't like if they have shown a preference, whatever the race.

    I do think a huge issue is jockeys not pulling horses up when they are out on their feet.

    Do agree that the Rooneys have an absolute right to have their concerns but should keep them to themselves. Wonder just out of curiosity what their racing manager thinks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Orchid View Post
    While the Rooneys' prerogative is to decide whether to run their horses, my concern is that they go public with their reasons.

    It comes across that they are trying to force the hand of the clerk of the course into artificially softening the ground, something I am totally against.

    Other owners also shell out serious money for horses and some of those horses will act best on drier ground.

    Are they to be denied winning opportunities for their horses because the clerk is more or less forced to pander to a rich owner?

    The British weather is a great unpredictable. It's part of racing. Some seasons will see prolonged dry spells, others prolonged wet spells. If the going doesn't suit, don't run the horse. What could be simpler?

    I don't mind judicious use of watering in order to promote grass growth but am totally against deliberately altering the ground. It's bad enough that we'll probably never see a good-ground Grand National ever again so let's not allow them to fvck the going at 'ordinary' meetings.
    100% spot on, couldnt agree more.

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    Bull.

    They put up enough money to have an opinion and if they reinforce that opinion by denying themselves the best payouts on their investments, that has to be respected.

    No Clerk will change his/her ways because of this so it's just a storm in a teacup.
    The older I get the better I was.

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  17. #13
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    I do hope you're right, archie.
    Two's company, three's allowed.

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    Interesting that they go public with this decision after they realise they donít have a horse good enough to win a Champion Hurdle!
    Last edited by Maruco; 1st January 2019 at 9:13 PM.

  19. #15
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    Cheltenham have requested a meeting with the Rooneys

    https://www.racingpost.com/news/late...-course/362485

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    The Cheltenham Executive should tell them to f*ck off.

    They've put this out publicly with zero evidence and no reasonable explanation. It not only undermines Cheltenham but also Jump racing as a whole. He even admits that Cheltenham wrote to him two weeks ago and he hasn't yet had the decency to acknowledge them. Yet he has no problem talking to a Racing Post journalist about it. What an arrogant pr*ck Paul Rooney is.

    I am always one to support owners ahead of everyone else in the sport because of the money they are prepared to put into the game. But in this case, unless he is man enough to issue a public apology, he can sling his hook and take his money elsewhere as far as I'm concerned. The last thing racing needs is a snide Estate Agent who is freely prepared to damage the public perception of our sport.

    If and when I see him on a racecourse I will make a point of telling him precisely what I think of him.

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  22. #17
    Senior Member tiggers1972's Avatar
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    Spot on Paul.

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    Ditto.
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