The Roar
The Roar


Why there's such a thing as too much racing

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28th March, 2019

A splash is expected when you jump into a swimming pool. This is a simple illustration of the theory of displacement in fluid mechanics, which states that the volume of an immersed object is the same as the volume of fluid displaced.

What on earth does this have to do with horse racing? Probably not a lot, but Archimedes’s principle, as the above theory reflects, captures my thought that racing administrators have been trying to cram more and more into limited carnival spaces in recent times with some peculiar and undesirable consequences.

One such consequence is the scheduling of this week’s Tancred Stakes just one week after its main lead-up race, the Ranvet Stakes.

I was looking back over the records I kept as a youngster when I first became interested in the sport of kings, and back then not only did two weeks separate the Ranvet, then known as the Rawson, and the Tancred, but there were fully 19 days between the Australian Cup and the Rawson – traditionally the Australian Cup was run on a Monday.

The overall effect was that the autumn racing carnivals just felt less rushed and cluttered. With the early scratching of Auvray, only four Ranvet runners from last week will be present on Saturday, and aside from hot favourite Avilius, they are hardly the cream of the crop.

I was completely taken with the run of He’s Eminent at his first Australian run last Saturday and am disappointed that he didn’t accept for the Tancred. It was interesting to hear the pre-race comments of his trainer, legendary New Zealand Olympic equestrian Sir Mark Todd, suggesting that the horse might not have been comfortable on damp surfaces. The horse made light of that concern with a brilliant performance in finishing second. He is definitely one to follow.


But back to my point about programming. While scheduling of five Group 1 races at Rosehill last Saturday may have pulled some punters through the gates, the whole was something less than the sum of its parts, as by the running of the Galaxy, I just felt a bit jaded. The fact that I hadn’t got close to finding a winner certainly didn’t help my state of mind.

Talking of the Galaxy, I was stunned about the form reversal of Nature Strip, as I was by the awarding of the race to him in what looked like a perfect dead heat.

Thinking about the Tancred’s support program this Saturday, I really love Princess Posh and will be watching her closely in the Emancipation. But I feel she has been aimed primarily at the Queen of the Turf in a couple of weeks. Randwick will definitely suit her better, but I must have a little on her here, even though I missed her when she paid $10 the place last start.

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The so-called Doncaster Prelude, meanwhile, is a weak race, and it would be a major surprise if it proved to be of any consequence in deliberations next week.