Dawn Approach winning the Dewhurst was clearly a big deal but anyone clutching ante-post Guineas dockets on the unbeaten two year old champion probably celebrated more when confirmation came afterwards that the Godolphin owned colt is remaining with Jim Bolger.
It may not be nice to say, and probably not politic either, but one racing insider with a stratospheric opinion of next year’s Guineas favourite admitted to this space he couldn’t have Dawn Approach on his mind in 2013 if he’d been moved to Bin Suroor or Al Zarooni.
It is debatable how much of that is following the crowd in terms of the widespread knocking of Godolphin’s trainers, and how much is perception rather than substance. But he is far from alone, and it’s far from new.
Similar comments were being made a couple of years ago when Casamento and Dubai Prince were sent off to the sun in Dubai. In fact the list of horses that have joined the boys-in-blue and subsequently disappeared off the radar is far from neglible.
No doubt there are any number of contributory factors to that, and it goes against the grain to swim enthusiastically with the popular tide, but it is surely significant that it is Dawn Approach about which the Sheikh is prepared to make such a singular exception.
As for his Dewhurst performance, it is bizarre how much it has been down-played in some circles as being unspectacular and workmanlike. Instead how encouraging it is to see a two year old champion knuckle down and find so much when pressed.
In temperament Dawn Approach looks a lot more stable than his sire New Approach. But in terms of determination he really appears a chip off the old block. He is an outstanding prospect, especially now, it has to be said, he is staying in Carlow.
We’ve had a number of instances recently where tracks have passed inspections only for the subsequent communiqué to state that the situation will continue to be monitored. Sorry to be picky but what does that exactly mean?
In terms of potential punters thinking of going racing, it says little or nothing. Would you jump into a car and drive for an hour or two on the back of that?
And for racing professionals it’s hardly definitive either. A realistic translation of such a missive is that doubts persist about racing getting the green light and the chances of having to turn around and go home are real enough.
For everyone concerned it’s an unsatisfactory state of affairs but of course from a racecourse point of view, the big thing is getting racing on so that all that lovely telly money rolls in.
And that tells you what you need to know about your place on the priority list.
It was interesting then to read some of the contributions at last week’s “Racing 2022 –A Vision For The Industry” conference where the HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh stated his hope for the next ten years is to see the re-development of the Curragh grandstand.
Kavanagh’s point that the current structure lets down the racetrack and some of the world-class action on it is accurate. But with many economists predicting another decade of recession in Ireland, the rather obvious question is where will the money come from to do anything about it?
A less obvious consideration but still relevant is what Kavanagh’s BHA contemporary Paul Bittar said about the likely decline in casual racegoers going racing by 2022.
Bittar called them “hobbyist” racegoers but they are essentially the same floating sporting customer who apart from one or two exceptions continue to vote with their feet when it comes to racing. And usually those feet are heading somewhere else.
So an obvious question is why the priority on radically redeveloping facilities for a declining target audience.
A positive “build-it-and-they-will-come” attitude is all very well but all the indications are that the vast majority of race-meetings in the future will be essentially TV betting fodder taking place in front of minimal footfall on the ground.
And finally, anyone who thinks Frankie Dettori is over-rated or past it, just look at him winning the Canadian International on Joshua Tree. Some of the best European and North American jockeys are in behind, and they were frankly ridden to sleep.