The home of intelligent horse racing discussion
The home of intelligent horse racing discussion

Watering again!!

Home Forums Horse Racing Watering again!!

Viewing 17 posts - 154 through 170 (of 187 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1599575
    Father_Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 118

    Superb contribution @IanDavies.

    Big Mac was an excellent interviewer.

    #1599608
    Father_Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 118
    #1599609
    AndyRAC
    Participant
    • Total Posts 534

    It’s ridiculous; it’s late May, nearly June, we should be seeing decent ground. Why on earth are they watering? Shambolic…..

    #1599612
    Cork All Star
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3624

    Racing is becoming an absolute joke. A meeting abandoned on a sunny day in May. :wacko:

    But the apologists for watering will still say it is necessary. We can’t have our precious horses possibly setting their dainty little hooves on firm ground, can we?

    But it is OK for them to fall on ground made slippery by watering.

    Wake me up when the jumps season starts.

    #1599615
    Drone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5638

    I suspect that this spate of slippery surfaces is due at least in part to the detrimental effect that the fad for watering to ‘maintain good ground’ is having on root growth and soil structure: horizontal rooting of the grass into a top layer of damp soil just several inches deep that’s wetter than the soil below it; which of course is the converse of what it should be in late spring and summer

    If left ‘as nature intended’ the grass would root vertically in its search for water as the top soil dries, thereby producing a resilient sward and a healthy top soil robustly bound with deep roots

    As we vegetable gardeners know: soak occasionally don’t sprinkle regularly

    #1599617
    LD73
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1722

    The odd times I seem to remember this type of thing happening in the past was when a meeting had an unexpected heavy rain burst on prevailing good to firm ground to the extent that the water hadn’t had time to be absorbed by the ground quickly enough for an upcoming race and some of the tighter bends became a little slippery……..but it never seemed to happen with the frequency we have witness over the last few days.

    #1599634
    Father_Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 118

    @Drone if you haven’t watched the youtube fillim that @IanDavies posted upthread definitely do so. “Sir” Mark Prescott for all his foibles spells it out right and it must be 15 years ago if McCrirrick is interviewing him.

    #1599648
    Cork All Star
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3624

    Agree that the Sir Mark Prescott clip is a must watch – thanks to ID for posting it.

    Very interesting to hear that 70% of Flat racing used to take place on ground that was firm or faster. Were more horses injured in those days? I suppose it would be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to do any analysis.

    Prescott clearly states that the breed is getting weaker. Why is racing allowing this to happen? It is madness.

    #1599652
    IanDavies
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4711

    The long-term weakening of the breed from overwatering is something I have commented on here many times.

    I wasn’t aware of (or had forgotten) this old Mark Prescott interview until my attention was drawn to it yesterday.

    Prescott articulates the then state of affairs well, speaks from experience and his words now seem positively prophetic.

    Overwatered ground is enabling/catering for fragile, injury-prone, horses with poor conformation, the best of which are now going to stud and procreating.

    The “legs of iron” Firm-ground horse is being driven out of the breed – fewer opportunities consequently the best of them aren’t going to stud.

    We’ve gone from watering to avoid outright Firm ground to watering to eliminate the word “Firm” from going descriptions.

    Next will be ensuring the word “Soft” IS in the description.

    All for future equine generations of cripples to race on.

    But it’s destroying turf racing surfaces and manifestly causing new hazards.

    I’ve talked about tales of trainers reporting tendon injuries caused by racing into and out of false patches of overwatered ground in the past.

    Well never mind the gossip, look what overwatering is clearly doing to bends -THREE meetings abandoned in a WEEK.

    Artificial watering could prove an existential threat to the sport.

    I urge everyone to listen to that interview because it describes a sport that was better then than it is now.

    When you think about it, breeding horses, racing them hard on a wide variety of terrain over a wide variety of distances, then using the elite to breed from is enforcing the ruthless process of natural selection.

    This homogenisation (making everything the same) by watering to try to make the ground the same everywhere is tampering with that process to the detriment of the breed.

    It’s also destroying racing surfaces as turf tracks vary, some have chalky subsoil, some clay etc, and this naturally lends itself to quick ground at some venues and softer ground at others.

    Sir Cherryade of Hampshire
    ("Chezza" to the proletariat)
    Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Ian_Davies_
    https://www.facebook.com/ThePointtoPointNHandFlatracingpunter/

    #1599653
    Cork All Star
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3624

    “Artificial watering could prove an existential threat to the sport.

    I urge everyone to listen to that interview because it describes a sport that was better then than it is now.”

    100% agree.

    The only point from the interview I would slightly question is the idea that firm should never be in the going description for jumps racing. Would good to firm ground really be disastrous?

    If it is unacceptable, it makes no sense to have summer jumping.

    #1599668
    chestnut
    Participant
    • Total Posts 591

    Are we eventually (not in my lifetime) going to end up with all racecourses having artificial surfaces?

    #1599670
    IanDavies
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4711

    Well, we’ve had tracks converting from turf to AW and we sure as Hell haven’t had any AW tracks converting/reverting to turf.

    Draw your own conclusions – the sop to traditionalists might be that they start dying tapeta or whatever green.

    Sir Cherryade of Hampshire
    ("Chezza" to the proletariat)
    Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Ian_Davies_
    https://www.facebook.com/ThePointtoPointNHandFlatracingpunter/

    #1599678
    Glenn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1989

    “Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.”

    Does anyone else smell the aroma of floodlight failures in these latest abandonments?

    Some may trace them to decades of wrongheaded turf management, but I suspect the root cause is a little more recent: affordability checks forcing any serious punter onto the dark web, where settlement rules pertaining to early abandonments weren’t exactly devised by Messrs Duckworth and Lewis!

    #1599679
    Tonge
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1911

    Prescott makes some good points (obviously recorded before became more of a self-pitying whinger). Primary purpose of watering ought to be to maintain a good covering of grass so it’s essential throughout the year during long periods of dry weather but ought to be stopped in good time before a meeting. It now seems to be used primarily (and excessively) to alter the going. Other countries do not seem to share our obsession. Yesterday’s Japanese Derby was run on good to firm & the going is firm for Santa Anita’s upcoming Grade 1 card. If the grass cover is right, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Personally I don’t think there should be summer jump racing, not just because of potential ground issues but also risks of overheating. Not as if there aren’t plenty of race meetings.

    #1599681
    IanDavies
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4711

    Back in the day, rather than the bizarrely-named “Summer Jumping” (starting in the spring month of May) there was a break from first Saturday in June to first Saturday in August.

    For sure, those August meetings were often held in hot sumner weather on Firm and even Hard ground at places like Devon & Exeter (where the grass was often parched yellow) and Newton Abbot, run in times that often smashed standard times and even course records to smithereens.

    But they catered for a certain kind of horse – Pine Lodge, Low Profile etc – which thrived in such conditions, would run all month then be put away until the following spring.

    I have no stats on it, but the same horses seemed to run week in, week out, on ground like a road and field sizes held up well too.

    These “legs of iron” horses just aren’t being bred anymore.

    Breeding racehorses is becoming a cripples charter.

    Sir Cherryade of Hampshire
    ("Chezza" to the proletariat)
    Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Ian_Davies_
    https://www.facebook.com/ThePointtoPointNHandFlatracingpunter/

    #1599698
    Cork All Star
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3624

    “Are we eventually (not in my lifetime) going to end up with all racecourses having artificial surfaces?”

    I am starting to think something like that will happen.

    I recall when the all weather (as it was originally called) was introduced at Lingfield and Southwell. It was meant to just allow racing to continue in the winter to ensure betting turnover. It was not meant to take over.

    Now there are Group races run on artificial surfaces, even a Group 1 a season or two ago. Maybe artificial surfaces will become more important than the Turf in the future, with Turf tracks being gradually phased out.

    It makes me think of Philip Larkin’s lament:

    “Cut grass lies frail:
    Brief is the breath
    Mown stalks exhale.
    Long, long the death”

    #1599701
    Cork All Star
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3624

    Reading the book “Lester’s Derbys”, my copy signed by the great man himself.

    In the chapter on Crepello it says “The going on Derby Day was firm.”

    It should have been abandoned on safety grounds!!

Viewing 17 posts - 154 through 170 (of 187 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.