The most important persons in any industry are the customers, which is why the record high takeouts by Jamaica’s racing promoter must be addressed if the industry is to survive. I’ve already written on how this can be achieved (May 26, 2017: ‘Time for Financial Fundamentals’) in which I pointed out priority action must be taken on behalf of breeders, owners and punters.
Owners are the sport’s primary investors but have been treated with utter contempt for too long. As the number of Jamaican race horse owners sharply declines, promoters and regulators alike pretend this isn’t a problem.
Innovative ways must be found to attract more owners while also protecting or improving the promoter’s bottom-line.
- Six-horse fields or less serve no useful purpose except for those entered earning easy prize money at the expense of everybody else in racing. Everything within reason must be done to encourage seven/eight horse fields that provide more betting competitiveness AND a guaranteed place pool. An immediate way would be to extend purse payments to seven places while abolishing the ridiculous “appearance fee”.
- The new promoter has promised a significant purse increase. In the past, too high a percentage of similar increases has been allotted to racing’s elite. This time around, a significant majority of the increase should be filtered down to the lower levels of racing where the majority of owners exist on shoe-string budgets, dreams and hopes.
- Eliminate the Diamond Mile. We can’t afford it and it’s an embarrassing symbol of the sport’s inequity. On April 28 (‘Miles of Diamonds’) I explained the factors militating against this poorly conceived race. A sponsored Championship Mile race (4yo+) could instead be run at the end of March for a Superstakes-level purse.
- Streamline registration of owners. This exaggerated pretense at due diligence to include police reports; interviews etc, must be discarded or, at worst, postponed for a time AFTER the license is issued. The JRC, currently over-staffed, could take the applicant’s fingerprints, issue the license and then apply for the police record itself.
- The promoter should reserve comfortable seating for participating owners on each race day, assign a staff member to welcome owners as they arrive and offer them a cool drink. Winners could get a small gift or a commemorative plaque.
- Offer more paddock passes for syndicate members. As the ownership of race horses becomes a staggering expense, syndicates will begin to appear upon the racing landscape and they should be encouraged. Ownership should be marketed as fun, not profit-seeking.
- Trainers, for Pete’s sake, communicate with your owners! In today’s technological world a monthly update by e-mail isn’t difficult. Stop treating your owners like they owe you their patronage. Never send a bill to any owner unless it’s accompanied with an update of the animal’s condition, progress and potential however brief.
- Media, please interview the owner after a Grade 1 race you cover live.
These simple acknowledgments of the importance of owners to the sport cost little but will make the owner feel wanted, which is all most owners ask.
This is where we review local performances based on REAL times.
Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (how to calculate the effect of track conditions on official times posted); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” means it was slow (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside individual horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade average
“Clocked-In” highlighted horse Zi Beast has twice run into tartars but remains very much one to keep on the right side. Another, Great Faith, has been highly tried (Oaks, Derby, St Leger) so stays on the list pending her return to nw3; while Aurelia’s Summer ran creditably (early speed) in a mixed sex race (July 15; see Clocked-In feature below) instead of advised fillies only event. Reward awaits the patient punter.
July 15, 2017 [T.V. -0.3 per 200m (Rd); +7 (Tuxedo) -6 (King D)]
Killer Bee (-8) was fastest on the clock winning (R9; 3yonw2; 1100m; TV -2) by 3/4l-nk from Zi Beast/Uncle Frank (-7). The winner’s time (1:06.2) converts to a CT of 1:06.4 (only 1/5th second faster than nw3). The winner must improve (likely as he’s relatively unexposed) to win outside of claiming where his corrected time means he can win ANY CLAIMER.
But the two to take from the race are Zi Beast/Uncle FRrank whose joint CT of 1:07.0 is one second faster than the grade standard. Losses on either are only loaned. The exciting prospect remains Zi Beast, a June 2 foal who isn’t bred to sprint [half brother to 2015 T&T Champion 2yo filly, Latin Dancer (by Sorrentino)] and who has been sparingly raced. He’ll be kept to sprinting for now (watch for him in a near-at-hand 1000ms) but, when stretched out to 1400m+, could prove to be smart and run up a sequence.
- Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
The Open (the original Major tournament for the Champion Golfer of the Year) teed off on July 20 at Royal Birkdale where, as an 18 year old amateur, Justin Peter Rose wowed the world with a dramatic hole out from the rough on the 72nd hole for a T4 finish. These days, he’s very much a player for the Majors and surely must be a confident selection here.
His biggest danger could well prove to be veteran Lee Westwood, yet to win a Major due to his foibles on and around the greens but is perfectly suited by this course and can finally get a well deserved Major Championship in an event that’s been kind to over 40s recently. Others for your portfolio include Paul Casey, always there or thereabouts in majors and Ian Poulter who worked overtime to qualify knowing this may be his last chance to join his great friend Justin Rose as a Major Champion.
In English Racing, Glorious Goodwood begins on Jamaica’s Emancipation Day and readers will be happy to know that one of my best ante post wagers for the year is entered in the big sprint handicap, the Stewards Cup (Saturday, August 5; 6f; 1525GMT; 9.35 a.m. Jamaica time). This race is usually a lottery but once Projection secures a low to middle number draw, he should be a cinch.
The selection has had this race in mind ever since running 2 ½l 5th of 28 to Hoof It in last year’s consolation event (for those not rated highly enough to get into the Cup) after being cast in his stall ahead of an intended run at Newmarket the previous week. In the race itself he had his challenge delayed when he was carried right just as the action was hotting up and wouldn’t have been far away had adversity not befallen him.
Since then, he has run only 3 times:
- beaten a head into 3rd in another big 6f race at Newmarket 2 weeks later before being put up for the year;
- apparently needing the run on re-appearance (May 7) in another valuable 14 runner 6f handicap at Newmarket (4l 6th; stirred up in preliminaries and not finding much);
- improved markedly in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot (drawn on the wrong side; taken down early; ridden more prominently; 1st of 13 racing stands side; 3/4l 3rd overall). He’ll be cherry ripe come Stewards’ Cup Saturday.
Now, a notebook horse for you:
Noble Conquest (3yo b.c. by French stallion, Siyouni, out of the Medicean mare, Visualize) has run only twice, making his debut in a one mile maiden at Windsor on May 8 [kind introduction as usual from this stable; 3 1/4l 3rd to Rumpole (subsequently hd 2nd Sir Plato off 80) and Daira Prince (2l 2nd; won next time out off 77]. Seventeen days later he was 1 3/4l 5th of 13 to Archetype in a higher grade one mile maiden on the polytrack at Chelmsford (ridden more prominently; unable to quicken under pressure over one furlong out; lost 2nd 150 yds out; kept on; lost 2 more places close home).
The winner, Archetype, was a short head 2nd (off 80) next time and then won (off 85) in 10f handicaps at Sandown while the 2nd, 3rd and 4th have all since won maidens. Noble Conquest, reportedly working brilliantly at home, looks set to open his account when next seen.