So, Mosse, the darling - a guy can be a darling, surely - of
the New Zealand thoroughbred season, won't be in the
Telegraph Handicap at Trentham tomorrow.
The big O'Reilly gelding was on the fringes of the Telegraph
field before trainer John Bell pulled him out of the group 1
sprint due to a bruised heel.
That might be the end of many people's futures bets, but I
get the feeling it may not be the end of the furore over an
unbeaten winner of five races missing out on a start in the
group 1 Railway on New Year's Day, and getting no points for
his second behind Rough Odds at Tauranga on January 2.
. . . for the Telegraph . . .
Rough Odds' trainer, Leo Molloy, went into bat for Mosse and
Bell, as the minimal ratings shift for Rough Odds and the
non-existent move for Mosse from the Tauranga run left them
both dangling on the edge of a Telegraph start before Mosse's
Handicapping is subjective - although there is certainly some
science to it - and I can understand the frustrations that
owners and trainers have with a couple of handicappers in
Wellington deciding their horse's immediate racing plans.
. . . but what else . . .
But the alternatives bandied about include the club having
the discretion over adding runners to their big races. Danger
there, Will Robinson. Sure, it may have got the likes of
Mosse into the Railway off the back of his unbeaten record
but the concern I have with club discretion is that
accusations of bias can be cast forth from unhappy
connections, and if there's one thing the industry is
conscious of, that's integrity.
. . . can you do?
What's the answer, then? The handicappers have tried to to be
more transparent, with a blog on the NZ Racing site over the
last year (although it's not so easy to find on their
upgraded site), and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing will be
issuing new handicapping guidelines among other initiatives
as part of its response to recent complaints. Let's see what
happens when the next rising star misses out.
Captain Kirk ran a brave second last week so racing
sub-editor Jane Davidson will go again. She likes Dufellforte
in the Wakefield Stakes (1200m) at Trentham tomorrow (race 3,
1.51pm). The gelding won well on debut over 1000m at Taranaki
on December 27. Opie Bosson is the rider again.