Hong Kong trainers can learn from Moody's ingenuity
As Sunday's Yasuda Kinen showed us yet again, it is no easy task to take a horse away to win a Group One on foreign soil so it is always interesting to see what ideas smart people are employing to overcome the many disadvantages for the travelling horse.
Australian trainer Peter Moody is always on the leading edge and he was at it again when Black Caviar paraded on Monday, just one gallop away from boarding a flight to take her to Royal Ascot.
The mare may be long odds-on to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on June 23, but Moody is taking nothing for granted and presented Black Caviar in a lycra compression suit designed to help her to cope with the long flights.
The trainer told the media John McNair, who trains Black Caviar's only worthy rival at home, Hay List, had given him the idea and he enlisted the help of another Australian world champion, sprint hurdler Sally Pearson, to get the suit made.
Human athletes wear the compression suits for a variety of reasons, all still under discussion as legitimate or not, with the basic principle that the suits gently squeeze the limbs and facilitate good blood flow. The makers of these suits claim they improve injury prevention, recovery after exercise, bring decreased muscle fatigue and give better body temperature control.
For Moody, it was preventing soft tissue injuries that appealed as Black Caviar is prone to them, according to her trainer. Whether she has trained or will train in the suit wasn't explored at the conference, apparently, but its one more idea being employed to attempt to transfer a horse's form from one place to another without interruption, which is so much the troublesome area of international racing.
Neither Glorious Days nor Lucky Nine fired a shot in Japan and we have seen much the same from many of the overseas runners from Hong Kong all season. It's not easy.
At least the international classifications people were impressed enough with Glorious Days to make him one of the five Hong Kongers in the world's top 50 horses for December 1 to May 28, but they couldn't find a place for Lucky Nine.
There is no bigger fan of Glorious Days than this column, but it does seem an odd thing to be in the world's top 50 with four Group One starts for four defeats and no black type wins.
We can only imagine how many teeth were gnashed in England due to that cut-off date of May 28, too. Epsom Derby winner Camelot got only a 121 international rating for his 2000 Guineas victory but doubtless that will go to maybe 300 after the Derby win that apparently proved him better than the love child of Sea Bird, Nijinsky and Daley Thompson.
Remarkable racing in England, how every new good horse is so much better than the previous one or anything that ever raced since God wore short pants, and not just the best horse of right now. Frankel may well go to four figures in the ratings if he wins easily at Ascot and only a nark or a Negative Nelly would naysay it. Can't sell race tickets or stallion shares like that.
While we are on Camelot - or in Camelot, depending on your view point on myths and legends of dubious veracity - note to Jockey Club: are there any other racing commentators available for Royal Ascot that can be piped in over the pictures? Our personal highlight was the gentleman who produced that time worn gem of utterly contemptible nonsense during the coverage: 'Well, so and so is a good trainer and the horse wouldn't be in the race if he didn't think it could win.'
Instant dismissal for any commentator who uses that. Instant dismissal, and a spell in the electric chair should be considered, too.
Please. We can hear every trainer on the planet giggling up their sleeves at such a quaint notion. There may be people out there who think that, but nobody should ever be caught saying it in public and especially not on television, posing as some authority on the game.