Wrath over transfers is easy to understand

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 12:00am


It was easy to have sympathy for trainer David Ferraris after Sunday's racing, but not just because Sweet Orange was unlucky to lose the Classic Cup. Let's face it, unlucky runners are as rare as a Paris Hilton video. Unlucky defeats are unfortunate but part of the game.

No, our sympathy was engendered more by the win of Wrath Of Fire and that four-year-old's status as an emerging stayer, as the gelding is a classic Hong Kong tale. The third win in his past four starts was narrow but full of merit - the other horses who raced up on the pace with Wrath Of Fire all finished 100 metres away and he might have done the job more easily held up as he had been recently.

Wrath Of Fire arrived with four placed starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand - not usually a flashy form line - but among those were placings behind Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer and star Kiwi miler Jimmy Choux. Even then he looked a raw, awkward young horse who would stay and needed plenty of time and maturity.

Ferraris took in Wrath Of Fire last season when he was still immature and going to be behind the eight ball, only to see him move stables this term after dropping in the ratings and arriving at a time when he might be expected to start firing.

He was one of those wildebeests Ferraris (pictured) mentioned recently that stampeded out of his yard and across the Sha Tin Serengeti when the stable was out of form, at the very time results might have been expected to start coming with that particular horse.

Full credit to Derek Cruz, who has done a fine job with Wrath Of Fire, and Cruz himself has been on the wrong end of the odd transfer. Just as Ferraris was once on the right end of a transfer that put Vengeance Of Rain - who had been bought for Alex Wong Siu-tan - into his yard.

It's a never-ending roundabout and a very old Hong Kong story, but that makes it no less of a blight on this jurisdiction - a scenario that encourages trainers to use horses in hope of early results and risking near burn-out rather than doing the right thing. Those who do the right thing and give them the time they need for longer-term success take the other risk, losing them before they ripen.