Roy The Boy's weekly blog looks at the over the top reaction to Kauto Star's death, Treve for the Arc, the Formula 1 season as it enters a 3 week break and the Marcel Hirscher value for next year's Skiing World Cup.
The greats go to heaven, the also runs go to France
Thousands of horses are slaughtered every year, few notice or care to acknowledge their departure and appointment with a French dinner table or can of dog food. It is a fact of life all racing fans choose to ignore.
Yet, occasionally, when a Red Rum, Desert Orchid or legend of such ilk departs for the big racecourse in the sky there is an outpouring of public emotion which is totally illogical.
I loved the great Kauto Star more than most people. When he won the Gold Cup he completed an ante-post treble which yielded me in excess of €100,000 and he was the greatest steeplechaser I’ve ever seen or will ever see.
However, the fact remains he was French and if he was human he may well have blocked your ferry terminal as soon as he’s looked at you. He may have been an arrogant slime-ball akin to five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault. I recommend you checkout the brilliant ‘30 for 30’ ESPN documentary ‘Slaying The Badger’ to learn more about this character.
The underlying point is, he was a horse. No different from any other horse in size, shape, demeanour, behaviour or even the way he would taste on a dinner table. His life was amongst the tiny percentage that was prolonged because of a loving owner and that emotion was inspired by his ability and achievements.
I am a believer that a retired horse or greyhound of no ability is as worthy of a happy life after racing as one that has etched his name on a trophy or has his own Wikipedia page.
Therefore I’m disappointed that Kauto Star’s untimely death is being reported as a tragedy when there are dozens such tragedy’s every day. Similarly the futile shit-storm of ‘the owner should have never removed him from Paul Nichols’ is once again being raged.
Most inopportunely Racing Post Editor Bruce Millington elected to write a piece describing Kauto Star’s retirement and subsequent career as an “utterly pointless and undignified venture into dressage.”
I like Bruce Millington, but does this type of comment increase circulation or drive paying customers away?
Let’s be very clear… When a man buys a racehorse he owns it; when it races it races in his colours because he pays the stable fees. When it retires he is entitled to do with it as he sees fit. This invariably means retirement to a knackers yard as we well know.
Should someone see fit for this horse to sit in a field – like Vintage Crop who I regularly visited – so be it. If they see fit for it to be pampered, ridden and shown in the dressage arena so be it.
It is their prerogative, one they have paid for. If Mr Millington or anyone else, believed so firmly Kauto Star should have sat in Paul Nicholls’ stables perhaps he should have made enquiries about buying him and placing him there himself.
As for trainer Paul Nicholls, who’s Saturday column Millington would be very keen to entice back …there’s a trainer who keeps numerous exposed handicappers in his yard simply because they have been loyal servants and now represent little more than pets… I jest!
Cries of “He should have been allowed to keep Kauto Star in his yard” Absolute folly, I have no doubt Nicholl’s does not possess a sentimental bone in his body. He is ruthless and that is simply what you need to be to enjoy the numerical success he has during his illustrious training career.
Treve’s Arc wins make her a no brainer
It was great to see the great Treve win another Group 1 last week. She is in far better form than she was during last summer and firmly on course to win her third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in just three months’ time.
Take a re-watch of her last two Arc wins and you could not sensibly consider opposing her against any rival, and that includes Derby and Eclipse winner Golden Horn who recently beat a horse that regularly comes second in the shape of The Grey Gatsby.
It is doubtlessly great to see a lower profile yard such as Kevin Ryan’s have a horse of his calibre, but the facts do not lie and those facts state he has won just four races in a 15 race career.
As much as she, Treve, looks unavoidable, it’s still hard to back her at this stage of the season at odds of 5/2. But, with Golden Horn on offer as short as 3/1 I’d love to start filling a piggy-bank at odds of 4/6 in a match bet against the three-year-old even factoring in the ante-post rules of ‘non-runner, losing bet’.
Still playing the F1 averages
Formula 1 is proving very frustrating right now. The last two races have seen an inexplicable number of non-finishers. An amazing four cars retired on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix despite there not being a major accident.
As for the race itself, much was made of the Williams cars leading the early part of the contest and there were questions asked as to if they could have won the race if it were not for poor strategic decisions. The answer is a simple, not in a month of Sundays.
The Mercedes team remains vastly superior to all of their rivals and on this occasion they were simply sat in behind the leading duo waiting for them to pit. Thereafter they would have inherited the lead which was never to be surrendered. Ultimately it pretty much worked out this way.
F1 is now on holiday for three weeks, re-awakening with the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of the month. Four pole positions and four race wins bode well for Lewis Hamilton here.
However, this is a woeful racetrack, where overtaking is virtually impossible meaning strategy – the timing of pit stops – is vital. There was not an on-track overtake after the opening lap in the 2012 rendition of this race.
For a change I’ll be opting for a big winning margin as the average winning distance here, between 2005 and 2014, works out at 12.8sec.
Summertime Ski Time
It seems funny looking ahead to the 2015/16 winter sports season, but there really is no better time. In October of last year we picked-up early on an injury to Aksel Lund Svindal and put all our eggs in the Marcel Hirscher ‘Overall World Cup’ basket. Given Svindal’s absence it was very sound investment. We collected at 2/1.
Svindal will be back this coming season seemingly making Hirscher’s task a lot more difficult. However, let us not forget Hirscher has won the Overall World Cup title for the last four years.
Additionally Svindal’s return coincides with the rise to prominence of Kjetil Jansrud a fellow Norwegian who also specialises in Downhill and Super G. It looks an inevitability that Svindal and Jansrud will go head-to-head in those speed events taking points from each other at a time when Hirscher has no genuine opponents in his preferred disciplines of Slalom and Giant Slalom.
Bet365 thank you, I will be taking your 7/4 about Hirscher for the Overall title presently.
2 points win - Marcel Hirscher - Overall World Cup title at 7/4 with Bet365