Wednesday 25 July
The Fonz will be warm order when he lines up for the 4.20 in Worcester this afternoon. After winning on his handicap debut last month he has been raised 14lbs, which puts him on a similar mark to the main dangers in the race. I think the winner will come from the top four and hopefully it will be TF that comes out on top! Kikos will be declared to run in Uttoxeter tomorrow. He seems in good form again, and we will continue with the cheek pieces, as no firm conclusions could be drawn from his last run as he was clearly under the weather. I read with interest yesterday about a new ruling that is being introduced on October 1st this year. From that date all horses embarking on a cahsing career will be forced to run in 1 Novice Chase. This appears madness - and is a measure designed purely and simply to get bigger fields in these races - again - a bookie driven initiative! Now we will be forced to run 90 rated hurdlers against 140 rated hurdlers off of level weights. This is very detrimental for two reasons - firstly injury. Naturally a 140 rated horse will gallop much faster than a 90 rated animal - so to ask the lower rated horse to travel and jump at the same speed will only lead to fallers. Secondly, if the higher rated horse were to run below his mark, and the lower one get close to it, or god forbid finish in front of it, its handicap mark will be wrecked, and it will be impossible for the horse to win for months or possibly years! As the system is now, we can run a chase debutant in a handicap chase off of his hurdles mark ( We did it with Kikos) which gives them the chance to run against horses of their own class and grade.I hope that the powers that be have seen sense and put a rating ceiling on the majority of novice chases from Octber 1st, this will in effect produce races within classes, and will be more beneficial. For example if a novice chase were 0-110, or 0-125 then at least owners and trainers would know the highest level of opposition and could place their horses accordingly. A trainer with a 105 rated hurdler would be able to run in both (off level weights) but would be well aware that the horse would be best suited to the lower rated race. Also under this system, you would know that you would not be meeting a 140 rated horse. There are limited numbers of these races now - and I would be very much in favour of making all Novice Chases (except conditions races) like this. It seems a far fairer system!! Finally - Many happy returns of the day to George Hartigan - owner of bumper winner Aeschylus, who incidentally, will be back to Fences Farm shortly.