The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities should threaten to remove international Group and Graded status from drug-associated races such as those at the Breeders Cup, say Timeform
” Sport is losing its battle with medications .” That statement by Timeform in their latest Racehorses annual* out this week may arguably be levelled at cycling and athletics given the recent lurid headlines but racing cannot afford to be complacent, according to the respected tipping organisation.
While” attempts are still being made by a vocal minority in North American racing to prohibit the use of raceday drug on that continent ,” Timeform point out “[ that] medications that are banned in nearly every other major racing jurisdiction are still being freely injected .”
The widespread use of drugs in America leads Timeform to ask, in their essay on Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic,” can racegoers and punters truly believe everything they see in North American racing ?” The ubiquitous employ of lasix prompts another poser:” What change does its utilize stimulate ?” Their answer, based on the evidence of this year’s running of the Pegasus World Cup, is” that American trainers think it’s worth more than 7lb, seeing that was the allowance in the race conditions for operating without lasix. None of the connections took it up !”
Talismanic’s trainer Andre Fabre is one of those who refuses to use lasix and there is some hope of change. The Horseracing Integrity Act, if passed by the House of Representatives, would prohibit raceday medication and does have the support of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities( IFHA) but Timeform believe the IFHA needs to be using its powers more effectively.
” The IFHA has responsibility for the Group and Graded races worldwide and its executive council, which meets two or three times a year, should flex its muscles by threatening to remove international[ group and graded] status from drug-associated races ,” argue Timeform.
” If that is too big a threat to stimulate, it should at the least adopt[ our] suggestion that the published results of such races- including those at the Breeders’ Cup- should be accompanied by some sort of symbol to distinguish them from’ clean’ races .”
The first major highlight of the Flat season is Saturday’s Dubai World Cup, in which Talismanic will line up against American runners, including the Bob Baffert-trained favourite West Coast. But it is the reappearances of Cracksman and Enable that will be by far the most anticipated for many racing fans this campaign and the fact that Frankie Dettori, who was a prominent part of both ponies’ high-profile success last year, will still be gracing racecourses after both have finished their racing careers, is definitely a cause for festivity. Timeform concur.
” Racing should be glad that the sparkling Dettori, its most recognisable face and a’ Pol Roger’ in the world of sport, isn’t planning to hang up his saddle for another three or four years. There is no other figure in Flat racing[ like Dettori] with anything like the different levels of general public recognition or appeal, and the game owes him a huge indebtednes of gratitude , not just for his virtuoso performances in the saddle over the years but also for broadening its appeal ,” argue Timeform, who, with the likely clash this year between the two high-class middle-distance performers in intellect, country” it is clear that he would have chosen to ride[ Enable] if she and Cracksman had met in the latest season .”
Timeform add:” Cracksman’s connections may now say they are’ relishing’ a clash with Enable as a four-year-old, but they seemed hell bent on ducking one in the latest season, known that Dettori was committed to Enable .”
John Gosden, who develops both horses, has told the Guardian that it is a ” strong possibility” that Enable and Cracksman will meet at Ascot in the King George in July and then in the Arc de Triomphe in October at ParisLongchamp, the new name for the rebuilt racecourse.
The news released on Wednesday that Australian wonder mare Winx won’t be travelling to Royal Ascot came too late for this edition of the Racehorses annual but the disappointment keenly felt by many will also be shared by Timeform, who nation:” There is not much doubt about Winx’s constitution being able to stand up to the rigours of being flown halfway round the world to take up a Royal Ascot challenge. As well as being one of the best racemares assured anywhere since the end of World War II, she has proved herself as tough as old boots .”
Here in Britain, the new Flat season continues its spluttering start with the first turf meeting on the level since Doncaster’s Lincoln fixture last weekend scheduled for Bath on Friday. In the meantime, it’s the regular diet of all-weather racing and the best bet on Wednesday’s two cards on the sand is at Wolverhampton where A Sure Welcome( 2.20 ), who has a good record at the way and has improved for the drop in distance, can win the opening race on the card. Over the jumpings, the robust Militarian( 3.15 ) can go one better than on his chasing debut when he chased home Captain Chaos at Market Rasen, in the three-mile novice disability chase while Harefield( 2.40 ) has been detected a winning possibility by Alan King.
* Timeform’s Racehorses of 2017 is published by Portway Press at PS79 .
Read more: www.theguardian.com