PAT KEANE: Stewards must be seen to be policing the game

It was a little surprising that Nina Carberry didn’t find herself before the stewards, following the bumper at Wexford on Monday.   

Carberry was aboard the heavily backed favourite Gleesons Tipp and the combination looked sure to score from early in the straight.

Approaching the furlong pole, Gleesons Tipp was nicely clear, with the eventual winner, Play The Part, having a lot of ground to make up.

But over the final twenty or thirty yards or so it could be said of Ms Carberry that she was a shade over confident and Play The Part, astonishingly, grabbed the hot-pot in the dying strides to score by a head.

Carberry has long been a trail-blazer for female riders and has done a huge amount to change the perception many of us had when it came to pilots of that sex.

In my early days as a punter it was a rare occasion indeed when you would risk backing a horse ridden by a woman.

But Carberry was totally instrumental in changing that sort of thinking and today she is ably backed up by a number of other lady riders, both amateur and professional.

To have the likes of Nina, Katie Walsh and Rachael Blackmore booked for a horse you fancy is now regarded as an obvious plus.

Nina Carberry rarely makes a mistake, is tactically very astute and exceptionally strong in a finish. 

So, when she errs, or you believe that is the case, then it’s a big deal.

At Wexford, she had every reason to think the bumper was put to bed long before the line was reached. But it wasn’t, with the situation changing dramatically, and totally unexpectedly, close home.

To my eyes Nina never stopped riding and certainly didn’t drop her hands or anything like that. 

What she failed to do, however, was to be far less vigorous than she might have been, had she realised danger was imminent.

My contention is that she had no idea Play The Part, who was going nowhere at the two furlong pole, was closing her down rapidly.

To put is simply, I don’t think there is any doubt she was capable of giving Gleesons Tipp a much stronger drive through the last half a furlong.

Had she thrown everything in her locker at her partner in the final fifty yards, there seems little doubt that Gleesons Tipp would have won.

That the stewards didn’t have her in, I find rather inexplicable. Such action wouldn’t have changed anything, except possibly seeing Carberry getting a minor suspension, but it is the job of the stewards to police the game and they should have been seen to do so.

Ah yes it was a lonely trek back to bed at 4.30am on Tuesday, after Tony Martin’s Heartbreak City had been chinned in the dying strides of the Melbourne Cup.

This is a horse that now shapes as more than well named, because it was a heart-breaking defeat, after he had looked the most likely winner for most of the straight.

Mind you there was massive compensation in a second prize of £445,544 sterling, which will keep the show on the road for a while for a man who earlier this year lost the patronage of Gigginstown House Stud.

Martin immediately resolved to go back to Melbourne again, which was perfectly understandable. He has long been a great man for handicaps and emphasised that here one more time.

In contrast, and in hindsight, Aidan O’Brien has little cause to be worrying about that type of contest.

Getting horses well handicapped is an art form and would be a long way down the list of things to do for O’Brien.

In any case his Bondi Beach, given what looked to be the ideal preparation, ran a stinker.

The early pictures of the race were from overhead and you knew after a furlong was covered that Bondi Beach had no chance.

He was quickly outpaced and just looked a horse that was totally unsuited to the hustle and bustle of such a competitive handicap.

The other thing I took from the extensive Australian television extravaganza was the performance of Francesca Cumani.

She came across as intelligent and knowledgeable and should be a major asset to ITV when they take over terrestrial coverage of racing in Britain next year.

IT is currently a popular pastime, and will be for a little while yet, referring to Gigginstown horses that were formerly trained by Willie Mullins.

One of the latest to appear was Nambour, now in the care of Mouse Morris, who was rather impressive when making his debut over fences at Galway on Monday.

Morris would not be noted for having his charges ready to go in the early part of the campaign, so there may be plenty to come from the six-year-old. One thing Nambour knows how to do anyway is jump.

Henry de Bromhead, since he lost the Potts horses, has gone from strength to strength and his Killiney Court was yet another for him in a novice chase at Galway last Sunday.

This wasn’t a bad little race, but he jumped and galloped the opposition ragged, a display I would not have thought him capable of heretofore.

There remains, though, the overwhelming notion that we ain’t seen nothing yet, with Willie Mullins continuing to wait for rain before unleashing his army.

He may have lost 60 Gigginstown horses, but this week the Racing Post revealed what he had left. 

It was a staggering array of talent and when they begin to reappear it will be the closest this country is ever likely to see to a tsunami!


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