24 June 2012

Black Caviar post-scripts pile the BS a mile high

Get ready for an avalanche of horse manure in the wash up after Black Caviar's narrow victory in last night's Diamond Jubilee at Ascot. Expect more like this unbridled hyperbole from The Punch's Anthony Sharwood:
"About 100m before the post, he eased up on Black Caviar. He did this not out of arrogance or disrespect for the chasers, but out of respect for Black Caviar ... Nolen could have continued to wield the whip and extract that little bit extra out of Black Caviar for a more decisive margin. Instead, he looked after the horse’s welfare. Too much effort in a single race can break a horse’s spirit forever. You see it all the time. That was the last thing Nolen wanted to do.
"So instead, he eased her up with less than 100m to go. But he did so a bit early, and had to get busy again in the last strides to throw the horse across the line."
What utter rubbish!

Luke Nolen wasn't looking after the horse's welfare any more than he usually does; he simply thought he had the race won and "let her coast". He himself admitted it was a poor ride! He himself called it a "brain fade". Nolen isn't an idiot. He knew he'd screwed up. He's used to coasting to three-length victories untouched on the mare. But also he knows you never ease off in the shadows of the post. He knows the Rules of Racing demand you ride your mount out right to the line, unless it has no possible chance of winning or being placed - this is not discretionary, there are no exceptions!

This isn't a bash Nolen post, far from it. As gun Brit trainer John Gosden said later, the ground at Ascot can be like glue and when you ease off on your mount at Ascot they don't coast on top of the ground they pull up because their hooves start sticking in. As Gosden said, the brilliance of the ride was nursing her to win the race when she was clearly not at her best. (So much for the boast that BC would never be asked to race if she wasn't "100 per cent right".)

So why does Mr Sharwood and his ilk bother with this ridiculous spin? What purpose does it serve? You can imagine the brief:
"Pump out a couple of hundred words on Black Caviar, will you? Write it pretty and hit with the beat up stick!"

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