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Mark Johnston’s thoughts on Scenic Blast

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  • #11854
    thedarkknight
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    • Total Posts 1299

    Taken from his website…

    I think you all know that I’m not one of the ‘smoking syringe’ theorists and that I, generally, believe that British racing is not only the ‘cleanest’ racing in the world but it is, in my opinion, one of the cleanest sports. However, I still can’t help but wonder how it is possible to get a son of a moderate National Hunt sire, which in turn is a son of Saddler’s Wells, to look like a cross between Alan Wells and a Quarter Horse and to win a Group 1 race over five furlongs. I suppose we can only conclude that they must be much better trainers.

    #235846
    Irish Stamp
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    • Total Posts 3177

    His last line is the way it is IMO. That said the testers will always be one step behind the drug cheats and it’s in evidence in global racing every day.

    #235848
    Cav
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    • Total Posts 4825

    Wonder what he thinks of Nicky Henderson having just been found guilty of doping and facing a possible 5 year ban for breach of rule 200. Lets have "Braveheart" go after one of his own for a change.

    #235849
    insomniac
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    • Total Posts 1453

    I’m no vet or chemist, but can there really be a drug that can turn a plodder into a rocket? I’d have thought not. Surely there’s a limit to how much a medication can make a horses’ body do that he wasn’t able to without.
    Any horse that can win a top sprint with medication must be pretty bloody good beforehand.

    What’s the pedigree on the dam’s side? Is that where the speed comes from?

    #235851
    clivexx
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    • Total Posts 2158

    Steroids i think Insomniac. Wasnt one of their previous runners somewhat tainted?

    I wasnt there but did the horse in question looked a bit "pumped up"?

    #235852
    thedarkknight
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    • Total Posts 1299

    Takeover Target was trained on steroids for a while wasn’t he? I remember the furore back in 2006…

    I’m torn on this really. It is great to see an International flavour at Royal Ascot, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the "home guard" if these prizes are going to horses that have been trained on drugs that have given them an unfair advantage. To what extent this is the case and what advantage it confers, I really don’t know – but like Johnston, I have my doubts.

    I would be very interested to hear what Adrian has to say on this matter, as he is obviously one of the key figures in getting these horses to run over here.

    #235853
    insomniac
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    • Total Posts 1453

    Wow Clive, that’s some drug then. This (as you may have gathered) is an area I’m completely ignorant about, but is it possible to turn any old slow-boat into a top speedball?
    It seems rather like turning Jo Brand into Venus Williams.

    #235857
    Cav
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4825

    Should the Americans have similar concerns when European horses clean up at the Breeders Cup? Didn’t a UK trained horse win the other Group 1 sprint at Ascot last week.

    #235867
    clivexx
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    • Total Posts 2158

    Takeover Target it was TDK and traces were found at one stage. Simple fact is that the bulk build up will remain after the drugs have washed out. Of course, the inevitable response will predictable if the point is raised….

    insomniac…the jo Brand analogy boggle the mind :shock:

    #235869
    Adrian
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    • Total Posts 1041

    I can only speak of what I know concerning Scenic Blast

    a) Danny Morton told the BHA before he shipped that he’d not been on performance enhancing medication.

    b) In Australia they have out of competition testing as well as post-race testing so they are as stringent, if not more so, than us.

    c) Scenic Blast has past all BHA testing regimes

    d) He is trained differently to a lot of horses over here. The Aussies work their sprinters over very short distances (usually less than 4 furlongs) and, apart from specific hit outs, their work is designed not to overtax them.

    e) Danny uses special blankets which, when linked to his computer, enable him to work out exactly how fast the horse has been going in different parts of the workout and what pulse rates the horse was clocking. A bit like Mike de Kock he trys to bring some new scientific methods to the game.

    f) They bring their own feed with them (well known brands in Australia) maybe their feed companies are doing a good job.

    f) I’m sure there are lots of our top sprinters who may be stoutely
    bred. Wasn’t Sakhee’s Secret by Sakhee – an Arc winner?

    #235874
    Andrew Hughes
    Member
    • Total Posts 1904

    I’m not one of the ‘smoking syringe’ theorists

    Me neither. Barmy idea. Even if you got the horse to put the syringe in its mouth, you’d never be able to light it.

    #235875
    thedarkknight
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    • Total Posts 1299

    Thanks Adrian.

    Maybe it is down to the way they are trained then. I certainly hope so….

    #235884
    Irish Stamp
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    • Total Posts 3177

    b) In Australia they have out of competition testing as well as post-race testing so they are as stringent, if not more so, than us.

    This IMHO is key – in the UK any yard can be subject to a visit from the various authorities and drugs testers to test horses in training (how often do we hear of "dawn raids" at Pipes etc?). However any horse not registered in training will not be subject to any drugs testing.

    Would have far more confidence in the Australian and American ways of doing things – particularly after the stories I’ve heard and the way our trainers talk about "strengthening up" etc from 2 to 3 – it comes naturally of course but who’s to say it’s not in some way medically aided?

    #235892
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8992

    Whatever the case it’s strong stuff for one of our most high profile trainers to be uttering in public. Typically forthright.

    #235895
    Venusian
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1665

    There have been many instances of top sprinters being sired by stallions who exhibited plenty of stamina on the racecourse.

    Abernant, The Tetrarch, Abergwaun and Marchand D’Or are four that come to mind. All their sires were best at 12f plus.

    #235900
    douginho
    Member
    • Total Posts 1046

    Are all the best horses in Oz Sprinters? Why dont they come over and try to win our middle distance races too? Could it be that they know our sprinters are not as good (for whatever reason) and so they are specifically training horses for speed.

    #235902
    Glenn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1988

    The trouble is that when the HRA look to tackle drug problems they face resistance from the training community who deny the problem exists.

    Take this quote from one member of the training ranks:

    "

    is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. There’s no evidence that milkshakes are a problem here. I think the HRA is more concerned about pandering to foreign racing jurisdictions than our own."

    The guy making that quote is a certain, erm, M Johnston.

    http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/competit … aid=115950

    As an aside, does anyone else find it interesting that those found with illicit substances, save for the pending(?) Henderson case, by strange coincidence just happen to be those at the top of the HRA hitlist in the first place?

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