27th September 2014

They’re at it again, watering when it is clear to anyone who bothers to look out the window that the ground will be softer than Good-Firm.
On Thursday, when doing declarations from Fairyhouse sale in Ireland, I asked our office to call Chester and ask how their going could possibly be Good-Soft when their close neighbour, Haydock, was Good-Firm and admitted to having applied 15mm of water. The clerk of the course at Chester was adamant, ‘the ground is Good-Soft and no water has applied’.

Silly me, I was questioning the wrong track. Today, on race day, Haydock now reports the ground as Good (Good-Soft in places, watered). What happened? Sudden downpour? Not that I am aware of although they are on the opposite side of the Pennines from us.

Ripon is on the same side of the Pennines and just 18 miles from Middleham, where the weather over the last couple of days has been exceptionally good. Their ground has gone from Good (Good to firm in places) to Good (watered). It seems clerks of the courses just cannot get it into their heads that the BHA instructions are to aim for Good-Firm ground.

In the last at Haydock today I run Ifwecan and Sir Guy Porteous. Both horses want good, fast, ground. I took the pair to Newmarket last weekend and, after a heavy shower of rain, I had to withdraw them. On Thursday I had the option to declare both horses for Newmarket again where the ground was described as Good. It is now Good-Firm at Newmarket and our horses are declared at Haydock where the ground has been altered by human intervention. It is extremely annoying, and expensive.

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