Have you ever wondered what happened to your horse that was pulled up? You put your hard earned cash down and then it mysteriously runs like a donkey or was pulled up? You search for news on the Sporting Life and Racing Post, but there's not a peep from connections.
But did you know that every runner that pulls up or runs substantially below par (or even above par) has to give an explanation to the Stewards and if its a physical issue then this has to be backed up by a vets report.
Take as an example Eastlake; our selection on Saturday in the 2:10 at Cheltenham. We did all the analysis, checked the going, trainer and jockey form, and frame of the race. We thought we had come up with a value bet in a competitive handicap and our money was down.
It proceeds to run like a horse in trouble after only 3 fences, Barry Geraghty is scrubbing it along before the fifth fence, and he pulls up the horse shortly thereafter.
Something was obviously amiss but what... if there was something seriously wrong with the horse, wouldn't you like to know so you have the choice to avoid it in the future?
Well there is a full report you can get on every horse that either runs below or way above its merits.
If you go to the British Horse Racing site and click on the Stewards Enquiry link you can find the race you are looking for by just scrolling down the page, they are in date and track order.
So looking at the entry for the 2:10 at Cheltenham we get the following report from the Stewards.
Race 1 - 2:10pm THE winner.co.uk HANDICAP STEEPLE CHASE (CLASS 2)
No Stewards Enquiry.
Barry Geraghty, the rider of EASTLAKE (IRE), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding stopped quickly. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of EASTLAKE (IRE) revealed that the gelding had a fibrillating heart.
So now we know what went wrong. Now I am neither a vet or a trainer, but a fibrillating heart sounds quite serious to me and in this case we would be vary wary of backing the horse again until it had shown that it was right.
On the flip side trainers and jockeys also have to give an explanation as to why their charge has dramatically improved. If you look at the Stewards report from the 5:05 at same meeting you will see there is a stewards report on the Nicky Henderson horse Towering.
The Stewards considered the apparent improvement in form of the winner, TOWERING (IRE), ridden by Nico de Boinville and trained by Nicky Henderson, compared with its previous run at Market Rasen on 15 August 2015 where the gelding finished fourth of five, beaten by 16¾ lengths. They noted the trainer’s explanation that the gelding had benefited from a short break which had freshened it up. They ordered TOWERING (IRE) to be routine tested.
So if you see a horse that seems to have improved dramatically from its last run then take a look at the Stewards report to see what reason the Trainer came up with as this might be a pointer for future engagements.
Here is the link again to the British Horse Racing site
thanks to William (see his comment below) here is the link to the Irish Turf Club that gives the stewards reports on all races.
If there are any particular topics you would like us to cover just leave a comment or drop us a line.
The Cleeve team