Author: Stephen Molyneux
It is the job of the media, written or broadcast, to at times make things sounds more exciting than perhaps they were or are. It is why we make no apology for continuously updating everyone on the respective championships over here, plus there is the fact that the main protagonists deserve to have their achievements lauded. Sometimes though, we do require the players themselves to write the script for us and a bit of emotion upon victory, or even narrow defeat, never goes amiss. To that end I think we are quite lucky in Dubai, and anyone who saw the celebrations of Bev Hendry, aka Hot Scot Racing, after the victory of Riflescope on Saturday will have seen what it means.
You couldn’t exactly miss Bev beforehand, resplendent in a kilt mirroring the colours Tadhg O’Shea would sport, and this is exactly the sort of stuff that is gold dust to broadcasters. There are other examples, too, the Melbourne 10 the most obvious who will hopefully be gracing Meydan again soon whilst the various syndicates we have here in Dubai can regularly be seen jumping up and down against the rail, the joy of victory very apparent against the more regular despair of defeat. Keep it up is what I say and never be afraid to lose the plot should your horse whom much time and money has been invested in rewards your patience.
Sticking with syndicates and the success of the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate is almost unprecedented with two unbeaten colts in the form of Walking Thunder and Golden Jaguar, both looking very smart horses indeed. It can be easy to get carried away with young horses in the infancies of their careers but Walking Thunder appears to have all bases covered when it comes to the horses he will face in the coming weeks, and to do what Golden Jaguar did to a good field last Thursday was certainly very impressive. Much credit for this needs to go to Ahmad bin Harmash and his assistant Alessandro Marconi who sourced these horses, and let us face it, in modern day terms, didn’t pay an awful lot of money for them.
When the Classic programme was enhanced a few years ago you could almost say that Bin Harmash was a pioneer in terms of going out and buying these horses from America, many of them inexpensive, and certainly getting the very best out of them early in their careers. Perhaps not all have trained on, but then the likes of Richard Hannon and Mick Channon in the UK have made a career out of extracting the very best out of precocious types. That is not to say that Walking Thunder and Golden Jaguar will prove to be one season wonders, both having plenty of scope to train on although there must be a temptation to sell them back to America where obviously they will have plenty more opportunities.
To keep these horses in Dubai the programme needs to cater more for them in November and December, perhaps have more 3yo only races before the new year so that in their second season they don’t immediately have to take on their elders. Think back to Polar River and Doug Watson essentially had little choice but to run her in a handicap against older horses for her seasonal reappearance in 2016. She was well beaten, perhaps she wasn’t the same horse anyway, but you do wonder whether the chance to race against her own age group before tackling the first round of the Maktoum Challenge would have set her season up better. Talking of the Maktoum Challenge and the second round this week should see North America step back out in a bid to supplement his first round gains.
He was so impressive then but how many times have we seen, not just in racing, but any sport, massive efforts not repeated next time? Bournemouth stuffed Chelsea 4-0 last week but then lost to the bottom club Cardiff on Saturday; regularly in darts Phil Taylor’s conqueror would depart in the next round; similarly in tennis and Roger Federer, it is just so hard to put consecutive massive efforts together. I sincerely hope that isn’t the case with North America because he really does have it in him to go right through this carnival unbeaten.
Dubai Racing Channel