Mister Tee’s form is a real mystery

ONE could only shake the old head in disbelief at the end of the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at Fairyhouse on Saturday. It had nothing to do with the fact hot-pot Cape Blanco obliged. That was as predictable as forecasting it will rain and rain throughout an Irish summer.

No, the focus of attention was very much the runner-up, Ger Lyons' Mister Tee. How, in the name of God, could he get beaten previously in a maiden at Gowran Park?

If you think such a comment is fuelled by a pocket which was considerably lighter, after the contest, then you could hardly be more right.

Mister Tee went under by a short head to Sebastian Flyte at Gowran and it is hard to reconcile that defeat with what we saw at Fairyhouse.

Sebastian Flyte was having his second run and had been absent since finishing seventh of 12 behind King Ledley at the Curragh way back on March 22.

Making any sort of solid case for him was well nigh impossible, so a certain amount of oxygen was required when he dipped in front of our hero on the line.

When you live by the sword then, inevitably, there are times when you are going to die by the same implement.

The normal procedure is to dust yourself down and to move on, coming to terms with the loss as best you can. Then Mister Tee goes and chases home Cape Blanco and, for good measure, has King Ledley a length behind in third place.

Grown men aren’t supposed to cry, but here was one occasion when stifling the tears took a real effort.

The question is what do we make of Mister Tee now? He still hasn't won a race, but would be entitled to land a maiden by a street, on the Fairyhouse evidence.

That old adage springs readily to mind, however, catch me once shame on you, catch me twice shame on me. And what of Cape Blanco, who didn't seem to entirely please everyone? My own view is he hated the testing surface and is, potentially, a hell of a horse. He might prove it too, if aimed at the National Stakes at the Curragh.

The other Fairyhouse contest worth more than a second glance was the maiden won by Tommy Stack’snewcomer, the Rock Of Gibraltar filly, Gibraltar Blue.

You would have to say the Stack yard knows the time of day and she was a big order, 12-1 in the morning and 8-1 to 4's on track.

She won by a neck and a short head from two other first-timers, Aidan O'Brien's Dynasty and John Oxx’s Bass Rock.

It will be absolutely fascinating to note over the coming weeks, and into next season, which of the three will prove best.

AT Killarney last week a regular punter gave me his race card from Roscommon on Monday, August 17. The reason was because of an advertisement the card carried on it's back page. It referred to the next meeting to be held at Roscommon on Monday, September 7.

Admission will be just €5 and it is great to finally see a track which has woken up and begun to smell the roses. In addition everyone who attends that evening will get a discount voucher which will entitle them to return the following night and get in for €5 less than the normal entrance fee.

You cannot go racing now without someone coming up to you complaining about what's on offer. Admission prices, at €20 or €18, plus €3 for a card, are simply too high. The price of food on racecourses, much of it second or third rate, is another popular subject. And what about the bookmaker’s clerk who told me at Cork last Sunday about the smallest bottle of water imaginable for which he says he paid €3 at Killarney. Maybe it was poitin!

It’s time for action and a time for leadership. Surely some racecourse out there will, for the foreseeable future, allow patrons in for say €10. It’s no good giving us rubbish about how much it costs to go to a top-class hurling or rugby match.

They only come around occasionally, for fans of particular teams, horseracing is a game which many people like to attend several times a week. At the moment all we are hearing is waffle and guff, which essentially mirrors what's happening in the country.

You just get the feeling that, when it comes to horse racing right now, there is a real sense Rome is burning while Nero is fiddling!

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

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