Things We Learned » Appeal decision

Appeal decision

It is fair to say that the decision to reinstate Simple Verse as the winner of the St Leger at the appeal on Wednesday was at least as surprising as the decision to throw her out on the day was.

Bookmakers who had opened a market on the result of the appeal had to suspend betting because of the weight of money that came for the status quo to be retained, for Bondi Beach to keep the race.

Whichever way the appeal had gone, you would have felt for the losing connections.  On a micro level, you could have argued the case for either.  And both parties did, quite eloquently, by all accounts.

On a macro level, however, this has not been a good episode.  When the placings were reversed on the day, there was an opportunity for the authorities to send a strong message: that it is not okay to get your horse first past the post by whatever means you deem to be necessary, that it is not okay to get to the winning line first and know that you will be long odds-on in the stewards’ room.  That the benefit of the doubt – subtle, not explicit in the rules – goes to the victim.  Alas, that opportunity was missed on Wednesday.

Effectively, Wednesday’s decision strengthened the case for the win-at-all-costs notion.  It makes it even more difficult now for local stewards to throw a winner out than it was, and that is not a good situation.

Naas juveniles

The extra meeting at Naas on Wednesday was well worth putting on, as there were several interesting juveniles on show.

Kalisma was good in landing the seven-furlong fillies’ maiden on her racecourse debut.  The Dermot Weld-trained filly kicked into a race-winning lead two furlongs out for Pat Smullen, and she kept on well all the way to the line.  She is bred for further, and she is a nice scopey filly who could improve significantly as a three-year-old and for the step up to middle distances.

Her stable companion, Waitaki, also put up a really nice performance to finish second.  She was held up at the back of the field by Leigh Roche through the early stages of the race, and she made nice progress down the outside, in a race in which the pace held up well, to finish a clear second.  She is another filly who is bred to improve as she steps up in trip.

Blue De Vega ran out a really impressive winner of the juvenile colts’ seven-furlong maiden.  Michael O’Callaghan’s horse travelled like the most likely winner from a long way out for Emmet McNamara, and he came clear to win as easily as he liked in the fastest time of the day.  This was just his second run, and he is an exciting prospect.

The Ger Lyons-trained Mint Chai won the nursery.  He came from the rear, and battled on tenaciously to get the better of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Landofhopeandglory, who was well-backed, arriving at Naas on the back of victory in a maiden at the Galway Festival on his racecourse debut.  The pair of them finished nicely clear, and both youngsters could be worth following.

Moore back

It was good to see Ryan Moore back riding at Newmarket on Thursday.  It is two and a half months now since he suffered that injury at the July meeting, we have almost got used to seeing racing go ahead without him.  But it was great to see him back, great to see him make his way from the weigh room to the parade ring and get the leg up on Peterhof.

Moore is one of the best exponents of his craft that there has ever been, and the great exponents of their crafts are the great attention-drivers in just about every walk of life.

Sanus shows his courage

The Jim Bolger-trained Sanus Per Aquam had to dig deep to land the Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.  He was initially hindered by the fact that Tasleet hung off the rail to his right, causing Kevin Manning to take back on the Teofilo colt, but he was probably helped by the fact that the Hamdan Al Maktoum horse continued to lean to his right through the final furlong.

Even so, Sanus Per Aquam showed a lot of courage to force his way from an improbable position, fifth of the six runners at the furlong pole, to get up and win by a nose.

Bolger said afterwards that his horse did not handle the loose ground.  If the ground had been sounder, he told us, he would have handled the dip better.   Even so, the trainer has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds this colt.  After he won his second race at Leopardstown in July, he likened him to his sire.

That sire, the same Teofilo, was the one who started Bolger’s relationship with the Dewhurst Stakes.  He won it in 2006, New Approach won it in 2007, Intense Focus sprang a shock in it in 2008, Parish Hall sprang another shock in 2011 and Dawn Approach won it in 2012.  Also, Bolger sent out Glor Na Mara to finish third in the Dewhurst in 2010 and Leitir Mor to finish second in it behind Dawn Approach in 2012.

It is a race that the trainer has dominated in recent years.  This year, it looks like Sanus Per Aquam will not be going for it unless the ground is good or better.  And, with Herald The Dawn, another fast ground colt, a probable for the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere at Longchamp, and with Smash Williams devoid of a Dewhurst entry at this stage, it may be that there is another Bolger shock in store this year.

Chocolate talk

Conversation between non-racing photographer and racing reporter in the press room at the Cheltenham Festival one year recently, probably 2008, maybe 2007:

Photographer: What is Thornton’s first name?

Racing reporter: Chocolate.

Photographer: (Unamused and slightly miffed smile.)

Reporter: (Expressionless face, tap, tap, tap.)

Photographer: Really?

Reporter: (Mildly bemused look.) Yes really.

Photographer: (Quizzical look.) Why?

Reporter: (Slightly annoyed look.) Thornton.  Chocolate.

Reporter: (Tap, tap, tap.)

Photographer: (Knowing look.)

Reporter: (Mildly exasperated look.)

Photographer: (Slowly evolving smile.)  Chocolate.

© The Irish Field, 26th September 2015