I’m always wary when a trainer reports a ‘minor niggle’.
Call me a cynic. Or someone who’s lost plenty over a few centuries, jumping at shadows.
To me, a horse with a hoof abscess, is like a footballer with a dodgy hammy. No-one ever knows just how serious it is.
Quite often, the flying fullback will have a tiny twinge. But it will still be listed as a hamstring strain.
Crook hoofs can be the same. An abscess sounds yuk. And while it is no doubt painful for dear neddy, it’s not usually life threatening.
Still, reports of such a scare can send punters scampering. We’re a nervous breed. The smallest of setbacks can spook us.
Last month in the Underwood, It’s a Dundeel ended Atlantic Jewel’s unbeaten run. The horse touted as the next Black Caviar.
It was a gutsy, awe-inspiring performance. And it bought me dinner that night.
Not long after, we were told about the abscess. It was enough to turn markets upside down.
Not for me. I refuse to be swayed. How many times do we have to be reminded – believe what you see.
He’ll step out on that treated hoof today, as Cox Plate favourite, after the scratching of the Jewel. I would have backed him anyway.
History tells us that unlike some other major races, the best horse usually wins Mooney Valley’s showpiece. I hear you throwing exceptions to me. I’m not listening.
It’s a Dundeel is the best horse in the race. Tough as grandpa’s mud soaked boots. He’ll be winning.
Friends with elephant-like memories will recall my fancy for 3 year olds in the Plate. One of the youngsters will always produce a grand effort. That could be Long John today.
Enjoy the spectacle, as jockeys take off at the 600, looking to create history. I think we’ll get the chocolates. As long as that hammy isn’t worse than they told us.