One day you’re the rooster, the next a feather duster. That’s the crazy ride most racehorse owners find themselves taking. One day it’s champagne celebrations, the next it’s generic wine in a plastic cup – nothing compares with the ups and downs of racing.
If nothing else, owning horses gives you some serious lessons in learning how to be a gracious loser. Just as well, because most of us find ourselves heading to the races with high hopes, only to be driving home after dusting ourselves off after another defeat and preparing for another day.
When I wrote my last post, there were high hopes for the gang of Galloping Wekas who race Wekaforce. She had topped off a smart trial win with a dominant performance on raceday and so the decision was made to have a crack at a black type race.
We headed to the Castletown Stakes, a race I had won 19 years earlier with the Tracktalk Fillies syndicate’s Kinetic when it was held at Foxton. These days the race is conducted at Whanganui, a track notorious for being one of those which horses either handle or they don’t. We also faced a heavy track at the time of nominations, it later came back to a slow9, and we didn’t know how the filly would cope.
The answer came pretty much from the minute she muffed the start and began awkwardly. At no stage was she handling the track and as she trailed the field home we owners held our collective breath hoping nothing was amiss. Thankfully, a vet check revealed no underlying problems and it was off home to the spelling paddock with her and a short break before resuming in the spring.
Now, this is where the advantage of tiny shares in multiple horses comes in handy. Just one week later another of my “gang of four” was at the races. Suliman, a Redwood gelding somewhat reminiscent of a gangly youth still trying to get his brain and body act in tandem, had lined up twice this prep for two second placings. That took his runner-up tally to five – a couple where he beat himself – and we were hoping he might add another win to his maiden success back in August.
The big boy, with an ownership group of hundred (possibly more!), delivered in style and – just like that – the disappointment of the previous week was forgotten.
I wasn’t on hand to watch his win, instead I had been enjoying checking out the facilities at Singapore’s Kranji racecourse and watched the replay online while toasting him with a coffee. More about Singapore and the whole experience in a future post – I am still getting my head around it!
As I hadn’t got myself organised enough to sort the app I needed to ensure I could watch the race live I couldn’t watch it on the TAB app, so the first I knew of his win was a text message from a friend in NZ saying what a tough win it was.
Along with the text from my friend there was also a rapidly delivered email of congratulations from NZTR, along with a link to the replay. Celebrations were in order and duly held.
Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, Suliman delivered again when he lined up last weekend at Tauranga.
This time I had every intention of watching the race – albeit online – while out at lunch. Slight glitch with the TAB app and website though. While I had been able to access them easily in the hour prior to the race, as soon as start time approached both went into meltdown mode and neither allowed me to open them.
Again, the notification that Suliman had delivered came via a text message from the same friend. Cue bubbles but also questions regarding access to online viewing. It’s not the first time that the app has proven to be non-responsive – usually this happens when trying to get a last-minute bet on. It doesn’t differentiate between bog-standard 4G or wifi, no matter what the connection one is faced with whatever aggravating sports promo sits on the opening page while it does a fair imitation of dial-up.
Invariably I just give up, as I did on Saturday when I was wanting to watch the race. It was concerning though that it was also impossible to log into the website at that time. Had the numbers wanting to get online and watch that particular race combined to crash the system? Was it a TAB problem, or due to the provider – in my case Spark?
It did make me ponder what might be the outcome next year when Spark will be streaming the Rugby World Cup games. There might be one or two disappointed people should they end up with non-responsive connections then!
In the meantime, I can go into the depths of winter safe in the knowledge that I’ve had more wins in the past two months that some people have had all season. Rooster or feather duster, it looks as though spring will bring with it some reasons to actually get to the races instead of relying on technology!