‘Strawberri’ the taste of things to come?

Strawberri, back to a mile for a ten-runner Fillies’ Maiden Stakes on ‘soft’ Haydock ground this afternoon, will hopefully erase the bitter taste we experienced three weeks ago when a losing nap on Chelmsford polytrack over ten furlongs, after being given a moderate ride off a ludicrously-slow pace; stable jockey Jack Mitchell becomes the third jockey in as many outings to partner this Roger Varian-trained Gleneagles three-year-old. Blame must never be attached to jockeys, who obviously should obey orders. Criticism is cheap in such circumstances, and can be so damaging!

So often, when a horse is raced over a longer trip, negative ‘hold up’ tactics contribute to defeat and this latest effort represented a classic example; I’ve computed the race-time!

Two or three years ago a high-profile jockey stated ‘I don’t like to be given riding orders’ and one remembers thinking ‘he wouldn’t have done for me’ because on all but one occasion, during an ownership period of about twenty years which yielded me sixty winners world-wide, every ‘jock’ was expected to carry out my explicit instructions.

What happened on the day when none was issued?

My two-year-old was beaten a head at group three level after looking certain to win 100 yards out only for the jockey to drop his whip and attempt to catch it which caused them to swerve and lose considerable ground. It cost me millions, for so many reasons but, I’m still here and probably wouldn’t be had he won.

Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with a slow pulse (38!) at our local medical centre and in double-quick time a pacemaker was inserted; it was a fluke on the spur of a moment visit which wouldn’t have happened had I lived elsewhere, and so ‘guidance from above’ means I’m still helping readers/punters, my first priority throughout an elongated journalistic career. ‘Talk to your readers, get to know them’ an experienced Scottish editor once told me when starting as a young reporter on the Derby Evening Telegraph!

Strawberri definitely has the call and a wide draw could prove positive because, at the Lancashire course on a demanding surface, ‘the field’ usually comes wide off the bend into the straight; ‘Mitch’ will know that and I’m expecting recent losses (mine!) will be recovered.

Wasn’t it wonderful to see Hollie Doyle jump our 3/1 nap, Super Over, out of the gate and make all positively at Kempton on Wednesday night? jockeyship, basically, is all about common sense.  

Keep life simple, complexity involves stress/tension, and so heed advice from someone who made colossal mistakes but learned the hard way and now loves his ‘garden of paradise’ which with flowers and birds is continuous entertainment.  

Selections, Bath, 3.00 Murau (e.w); 3.35 Moment Of Beauty (e.w); Haydock, 3.15 Strawberri (nap).

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019