Not enough to go round - field sizes hit racing again
Sydney Morning Herald
Monday February 1, 2010
The wail of too much racing arose again with the small fields at Randwick on Saturday. Four of the eight races had fewer than eight starters after Sydney racing size-wise had been holding up better during the past month than in recent years. Of course, a meeting at Randwick on Tuesday and Thursday night's Canterbury program affected the substance for Saturday. Still, despite the lack of numbers, plenty of chances were backed in most races. Take, for instance, the five- horse Waterloo Handicap. The outsider was Gunna Happen, at $11. Considering the frontrunner bias, some keen racing men figure Canterbury on Thursday night was a waste of horses. Perhaps the early storm contributed to this. However, no slackening on the race-dates pace is expected. "Twelve city meetings in February will test our enthusiasm," Australian Jockey Club member, Bruce Freedman, a regular racegoer, said.SAD ENDFew horses end their career with a broken pelvis, as Horizons did at Randwick on Saturday. Possibly the most notable was Dulcify in the 1979 Melbourne Cup, won by Hyperno, trained by Bart Cummings. In his memoirs Bart: My Life, Cummings divulged that he was told "Dulcify had an injury which would stop him from running the Cup ... we were amazed, given the rumours, that he was still in the field." Stewards on Saturday were assured, however, Horizons had "no soundness problems".SINGO'S GAINAdvertising guru and prolific racehorse owner, John Singleton cut his losses when he didn't make trainer Anthony Cummings serve a "life sentence". After they combined to scored with Tallow, a $300,000 purchase, in the Vanity at Flemington on Saturday, Singo told the Melbourne media he'd once ordered that Cummings never be given another horse. Cummings had taken over a horse previously trained by his mate, Mal Barnes. "I just thought they did the wrong thing, so I barred Cummings and jockey Shane Dye," Singo said. "They had about 1000 winners before I had another one. So it didn't hurt anyone except me." Incidentally, Singo praised the initiative of Corey Brown after the Tallow triumph.CHILD'S PLAYRandwick is going to be more family friendly in future, according to father-to-be Darren Pearce, the acting Australian Jockey Club chief executive. Pearce explained that an area near the old dressing-down sheds would be converted to cater for children. Self-interest was mentioned regarding the Pearce innovation. He is also concerning himself with the coming Pink Stiletto day at Randwick when the AJC will cater for the huge gay influx for the Mardi Gras.STEWARDS ON PACERacing NSW stewards again maintained their vigilance on riders who don't follow the anticipated pattern in races. Apprentice Daniel Ganderton was quizzed over his handling of Gigas "behind the pace" in the Rosebery Handicap. "The Starlet's first 1000 metres in 59.71 was slick enough to pose problems for on-pace sorts, including favourite Gigas," Tony Brassel wrote in The Sun-Herald. By taking a sit, surely Ganderton was attempting to adapt to the circumstances. But stipes told him the inquiry was adjourned and they will examine sectional times.BUSHWHACKED"Country racing flourishing?" emailed Buck from Dubbo. He was commenting on the prediction by Alan Brown, the Racing NSW chairman, who can see a grand new turf world if the industry wins a court case that includes the bush. "Anyone out here will tell you it will take generations and millions to get racing back to where it was, if, indeed, it can be done," Buck wrote. "I can only deduce that the drink served at the Australian Golf Club [a Brown watering hole] has more hallucinatory effects than the booze at the Dubbo RSL."HORSE TO FOLLOWOur Aqaleem, an English Derby placegetter, scored a surprise win at Flemington, prompting trainer David Hayes to comment: "We thought he would run a very, very good race but I kept telling myself he's been off for two-and-a-half years, he's first up at the mile and has 59 kilos." The horse will be aimed at the Australian Cup at Flemington in March and The BMW at Rosehill a month later.DISAPPOINTINGBejewelled, the $3.50 favourite, ended up sixth in the Alexandria Handicap at Randwick on Saturday. Trainer Joe Pride told stewards she would be better on a rain-affected track and improved by the run.