Hamilton: will the crowds be cheering a Carlovian win on Monday?
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Ashforth 6:00PM 25 SEP 2016
LOOKING at Monday’s cards, what is missing from the figures next to most horses’ names is the number 1. There aren’t too many 2s, either.
In the late actor and racehorse owner Robert Morley’s immortal (and often repeated by me) words, Monday’s horses are not monotonous winners.
The day’s races are a triumph of enduring hope over repeated disappointment; a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity, without which horseracing would not exist. Either that, or a lot of racehorse owners are barmy.
If I could make one horse win on this ordinary day it would be Carlovian (Hamilton 2.20, Class 6), an 18-race maiden rated 48.
Carlovian had an unpromising start to life, having been bred, ominously, by Bradmill Meats Ltd. Once (over)rated 75, the three-year-old went into gentle but sustained decline and has now failed at 11 different racecourses for 13 different jockeys.
All is not lost. Last month Carlovian finished runner-up over course and distance and this month he was beaten less than two lengths when fourth at Carlisle. Granted, Carlovian has never run on ground softer than good to soft and the going at Hamilton seems to be heavy but he may love it and he has Joe Fanning to help him.
There’s another reason for wanting Carlovian to win. Trainer Christopher Kellett has endured the sort of drought that leads to fund raising campaigns for Ethiopia. On the Flat, there have been 107 figures other than 1 recorded since Upper Lambourn won for Kellett at Southwell in March 2013 while over jumps 296 attempts since the 2007-8 season have yielded just one victory, by Mr Squirrel in March 2015.
I know it’s important that everyone always tries their hardest but if the other nine jockeys could find it in their hearts to make a complete balls-up of their rides it would be much appreciated. Please, please, please GO ON CARLOVIAN.
Luckily for struggling trainers a revolution is coming, one that will make pioneers like Martin Pipe and Aidan O’Brien seem insignificant. Thanks to Cecilie Mejdell, Turid Buvik, Grete Jorgensen and Knut Bee we now know that horses can be trained, quite easily and quickly, to communicate whether or not they want to have a blanket on.
Research conducted in Norway, its findings recently published in the Journal of the International Society for Applied Ethology, established that, with 10 to 15 minutes training each day, within two weeks all 23 horses in the experiment learnt to express their preference by choosing between symbols.
“Horses chose to stay without a blanket in nice weather and they chose to have a blanket on when the weather was wet, windy and cold.” You’re probably the same, with pullovers.
A new era of asking horses what they want is upon us, although it is probably best not to start by asking, “Would you like to go for a three mile chase at Ffos Las or stay at home and lounge around in a paddock?”