Monthly Archives: June 2011

Punters – beaten by the stick

The days when Clerk of the Course going reports were gospel are gone thanks to Going Stick Readings with Turftrax, but have we been sold down the river?

Following a tweet from @zaarito (Dan Richardson) I was intrigued by Ascot going report, and how soft exactly was Ascot round course on the opening day.

Inquisitive as I am, away I went, and what I found was astounding.

60 active courses, so you’d think the use of the Going Stick would be uniform, bar the festival meetings like Ascot with it’s wide straight. How wrong I was.

20 of these 60 courses have “Grid Zones”, this is where course is split into furlongs, and at each zone they take 3 readings, stand, centre and far, resulting in an average rating.

Firstly, can we please be provided with a list of courses that do use “Grid Zones” and those that do not?

Secondly, why is this data not available to all? I would appreciate knowing if the slowest part of a course was the first 2f of the home straight, or that the turns were the slowest parts of the course.

This is data readily available and already being forwarded to Turftrax. The publication of this data is down to BHA, and them only, as confirmed by Turftrax themselves.

The other 40 courses take readings from points in the course on a regular basis, and this data is used to produce the Going Stick Report.

Can we have a course diagram showing the positions where these readings are approximately taken from? Then in turn, can readings be posted on BHA/Turftrax/Courses website?

I’m not asking for information which is unattainable, sectionals are months away, but these readings have been taken for years. This information should be published and then it’s for the punter to deem if it’s worthy of interpretation or not.

I leave you with the response of one Clerk of the Course, one that does take a “Grid Zones” reading, which just shows what punters are up against, and that once again BHA are unaware of who is responsible for what in house:

“Would be a decision for Turftrax as they have the data. Not sure the raw data would be helpful”

I for one wouldn’t mind knowing if the last furlong was the slowest/quickest furlong underfoot.


Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


Barzalona, such a beautiful horizon – Derby Day 2011


Months ago this was deemed as the possible saviour of racing. The media outlet racing could mould into its own, the voice racing needed, and today we saw how quickly that voice can be drowned out.

10am, give or take, Kieren Fallon was ruled as being in breach of contract, resulting in him being forced to watch from the sidelines. Cue mass hysteria…

Sorry, but Native Khan owners have one thing in mind, and that is Native Khan. Connections have the foresight as to his Derby credentials, and draw up a contract with regards to retaining the best possible jockey in their eyes, Kieren Fallon. Contract signed, done and dusted. Fallon gets a better offer in his eyes, what’s the problem?

Simple, Fallon breached a contract and deserved to see the race from the sidelines. I was astounded to read tweet after tweet questioning the ruling in first instance and also asking why KF was not up once Judge found in favour of NK connections.

In my opinion judge gave right to appeal in first instance in case connections wanted to purely make a point, in essence if KF wanted to treat such agreement with disdain, he was to be shown that connections weren’t happy to play ball and wanted to voice such concerns. The leave to appeal was an admission, an admission that KF breached contract, and that if NK connections wanted to, they could go for the jugular.

The jugular was sought, the jugular was gotten.

Now The Derby.

This year we have seen feats after feats accomplished, Frankel in the Guineas, Goldikova adding to her hoards of Group 1s, Queen coming into Derby Day with the favourite, and how do we end Saturday 4th June 2011?

“Never thought I’d see a jockey stand up and pull a horse back as he crossed the line in a Derby. Ludicrous. Not entertaining, just stupid.” @PaulHayward_gnm

This was a train of thought echoed throughout the “twittersphere”, hacks throughout the sport agreed, commenting on professionalism, the same hacks who were defending the sport, and trying to enhance the sport in the last 18 months. This sport time after time receives opportunities to show how inspiring, engrossing and enlightening it can be, yet many on the “gravy train” continue to spit out the fillet steaks they are served up.

Here we have a jockey, a 19yr old who has shown his skills on all different surfaces, in numerous continents. A kid with a 40% strike rate in the UK. A kid who is riding for Coolmore & Godolphin, something that Dettori has only tasted a handful of times, and can only dream of full time. This kid is gold, pure gold. How do we treat the showboater this sport needs – CRITICISM AFTER CRITICISM!?!

Barzalona in his 4th ride on one of the most demanding course in the world went from the back of the field, to win the biggest race in UK racing calendar by a head and able to give photographers and racing the picture it needed at the same time.

Racing means everything to some, something to everyone and Barzalona personified this today at Epsom Downs.

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Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Uncategorized