Cheltenham fences too soft?

Home Forums Archive Topics Cheltenham 2015 Cheltenham fences too soft?

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  • #833666
    pilgarlic
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    Apart from the usual problems at the trappy fence at the top of the hill the fences did not seem very demanding. I`m wondering if some of the horses will be in for a shock next time they face something a bit stiffer.

    #833892
    moehat
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    I was thinking that myself when I watched some of the replays. They’ll certainly get a shock if the Mildmay fences at Aintree are as stiff as they can sometimes be. I’m not knocking it, cause it was good that there were so few fallers, but they did seem to be just brushing through them.

    #834085
    burroughillburroughill
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    But that’s the key….there were so few fallers, which is surely a plus. While you’d like to see Cheltenham as a stiff test to sort oyt the real stars from the also rans, it’s vital from the publicity angle that there were as few casualties as possible. Thank goodness there weren’t too many imo!

    I'd like to live in a place where they cordon off swans...
    #834260
    The Young FellaThe Young Fella
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    I agree about the fences being too soft – I think they need restuffing.

    I never root for horses to fall and certainly wanted Southfield Theatre to complete since I had the RSA exacta. Still, he ‘should’ have fallen with that atrocious mistake at the top of the hill.

    #834363
    burroughillburroughill
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    • Total Posts 102

    Better “should” have fallen than to be mourning the loss of several great old timers or rising stars. The best jumpers still won.

    I'd like to live in a place where they cordon off swans...
    #834508
    Crepello1957Crepello1957
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    There do seem less fallers these days due in part to better schooling methods and soft fences.
    Where it was good to see less fallers at the Festival this year, I do agree that the fences were very soft and many horses were just brushing through them.
    Cheltenham were just too scared of Animal Aid and poor press, being such a high profile meeting.
    There is a fine line between safety and devaluing the sport and in my opinion NH racing is getting softer by the week and running scared.

    #835100
    properfences
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    I agree Crepello. It felt like every race over 2.5 miles this week turned into a long distance hurdle! Horses were hitting the fences half way up and generally getting away with it. Of course, no one wants to see fallers but it is a little sad to see the fences treated with such contempt. But then, why should Cheltenham be different from practically every other course? Having been addicted to NH racing since the late 60s, I can remember courses such as Doncaster, Lingfield, even Market Rasen having big imposing PERMANENT fences that had been constructed with much care and attention, unlike the abominations that plague those (and other) courses nowadays.

    Rant over! I also agree that the best jumpers still, usually, win. I just fear where this appeasement of Animal Aid will lead the sport.

    #835486
    GingertipsterGingertipster
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    Courses have to get the balance right, stiff enough to stop horses going too fast, because speed kills; imo they did this. Good jumpers won the races. I do hate this commentator’s saying “he got away with it” (a mistake) or “didn’t lose any momentum”, makes it sound as if horses can go straight through every fence and still win. They do not get away with it and if they do not lose momentum it’s not as if there are not any consequences… Horses lose ENERGY when making mistakes. I’d rather see horses lose energy and lose the race than fall and end up injured or dead. I don’t want to see horses fall. There might be the odd one who’s so well handicapped or so much in hand that even with a bad mistake has enough in hand to win, but those occasions are rare. Even when you look at horses like Southfield Theatre and Next Sensation – they were basically exceptional jumpers who made one error. Both made ground at most fences because of their jumping ability. And I’ve seen horses in other years make similar mistakes and win. Cheltenham still favours an accurate jumper.

    value is everything
    #835487
    burroughillburroughill
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    • Total Posts 102

    Exactly right Ginge. The balance was perfect imo. Even going through a fence can knock a horse’s rhythm and confidence and set it back, meaning the horses that didn’t touch a twig got their reward. It seems odd to me that people are advocating stiffer fences which would presumably lead to more falls and maybe more fatalities.

    I'd like to live in a place where they cordon off swans...
    #835938
    properfences
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    • Total Posts 45

    Of course, no one wants to see ‘more falls’ or ‘fatalities’ except, perhaps, Animal Aid or the provisional wing of the RSPCA, as this would help justify their existence. What one WOULD like to see is some sort of indication that a Grade 1 track like Cheltenham, or Ascot, or (God help us) Haydock presents a stiffer challenge fence-wise than non Grade 1 tracks. I am not convinced that this is any longer the case. Further, what happens when a big race fatality occurs? The Grand National has ‘got away with it’ for the last two years, though other races over the new fences have not. I fear it is only a matter of time before we have further fatalities in the National because as GT points out, speed kills. Then what? More studied outrage from the usual suspects and demands for further changes – remember, many of these people were of the opinion that the 2012 changes did not go far enough.

    I have gone off topic slightly, but I feel necessarily. What has happened at Aintree has also happened, less obviously, at Cheltenham and elsewhere and it is not done with. I genuinely fear for NH racing.

    #836988
    GingertipsterGingertipster
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    • Total Posts 26354

    Properfences,
    If what has happened at Aintree has happened at Cheltenham and elsewhere, then good. Although I agree we do not want Haydock stylie.

    I don’t understand what you want.

    On the one hand you are complaining, “Horses were hitting the fences half way up and generally getting away with it”. It seems suggesting fences should be stiffer so that horses do not “get away with it”

    …And on the other hand you say “Of course, no one wants to see ‘more falls’ or ‘fatalities’”.

    May be I am missing something here, but surely it must be one or the other? :unsure:
    When a horse hits a fence “half way up” what do you want to see happen?

    value is everything
    #837019
    GingertipsterGingertipster
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    • Total Posts 26354

    Of course, no one wants to see ‘more falls’ or ‘fatalities’ except, perhaps, Animal Aid or the provisional wing of the RSPCA, as this would help justify their existence. What one WOULD like to see is some sort of indication that a Grade 1 track like Cheltenham, or Ascot, or (God help us) Haydock presents a stiffer challenge fence-wise than non Grade 1 tracks. I am not convinced that this is any longer the case. Further, what happens when a big race fatality occurs? The Grand National has ‘got away with it’ for the last two years, though other races over the new fences have not. I fear it is only a matter of time before we have further fatalities in the National because as GT points out, speed kills. Then what? More studied outrage from the usual suspects and demands for further changes – remember, many of these people were of the opinion that the 2012 changes did not go far enough.

    I have gone off topic slightly, but I feel necessarily. What has happened at Aintree has also happened, less obviously, at Cheltenham and elsewhere and it is not done with. I genuinely fear for NH racing.

    I wrote a response, but don’t think we should get on to the Grand National on this thread. :good:
    Am sure we will return to the topic again come Aintree time, as we do every year.

    value is everything
    #838498
    properfences
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    • Total Posts 45

    So GT, you welcome what is happening at Cheltenham and elsewhere. You clearly do not understand the logical and inevitable conclusion to this process. I do not want horses to hit fences half way up EVER, but making fences so forgiving only encourages this. As you yourself wrote, ‘speed kills’. Diverting on to Grand National territory is entirely relevant to this thread, as Aintree has provided the template for, potentially, the demise of the sport.

    #839099
    GingertipsterGingertipster
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    • Total Posts 26354

    I do not want horses to hit fences half way up EVER,

    Nobody does. I didn’t say you did…
    But whether we like it or not, it does happen… And you did complain that horses were “getting away with it”.

    So, when horses hit fences do you want to see them “get away with it”, or would you like to see them fall?
    Do you want Cheltenham fences to be made stiffer so that horses fall more often when hitting a fence?

    value is everything
    #839175
    GingertipsterGingertipster
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    • Total Posts 26354

    So GT, you welcome what is happening at Cheltenham and elsewhere. You clearly do not understand the logical and inevitable conclusion to this process. I do not want horses to hit fences half way up EVER, but making fences so forgiving only encourages this. As you yourself wrote, ‘speed kills’. Diverting on to Grand National territory is entirely relevant to this thread, as Aintree has provided the template for, potentially, the demise of the sport.

    Yes, I welcome what is being done at both Cheltenham and Aintree PF, their fences are just right imo. But I agree some courses have gone too far, eg Haydock. There is of course a balance to be had, we do not want horses to think they don’t need to jump (like has happened in Australia). Haydock’s fences are too easy and teach horses bad habits. Cheltenham is nowhere near that stage yet.

    If basing your opinion on: If the fences were stiffer then they’d jump them and not make mistakes…
    That’s all very well if all the tracks in GB&I were like that. But you can not have Cheltenham with far stiffer fences than most other racecourses because horses get used to jumping in a certain way and won’t change for one venue. And even if making all fences stiffer – there will still be some fallers, so what happens to those that do make bad mistakes with those stiffer fences? Injury and death. If you do not believe the vast majority of Cheltenham winners were good jumpers then I suggest you get hold of a Timeform publication and look them up. As I said, Cheltenham and Aintree still favour accurate jumpers, Haydock does not and should be ashamed.

    Were you in favour of changing the position of the second last at Cheltenham?

    Am not saying the Grand National isn’t relevent PF, but this is a Cheltenham forum, I’ve gone off on a different tangent before and people haven’t liked it. There’s also been many threads about the subject before, to which I’ve contributed. Not sure I want to go over old ground. You could search for them and contribute if you wish and I might respond. :good: But only if there’s less of the “You don’t agree with me, therefore you do not understand logic” attitude.

    value is everything
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