After a long delay and two scratchings race 6 on the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly finally got going today (via Gold Cicrle TV youtube)
Today trainer Mark Dixon and connections were understandably unhappy after their charge The Gliding Fish, who had been loaded early and was perfectly well behaved, had to be scratched for an injury after being intimidated by a very badly behaved horse alongside him.
*Read tomorrow’s Turf Talk newsletter to hear owner Kevan Rice’s take on that particular incident and his views on starting stalls procedures in general in South Africa
There were numerous attempts to load the badly behaved horse, but he resisted them all.
Then when all the handlers crowded around him and pushed him, he began dropping his head and becoming more fractious.
The handlers still persevered without going for the hood and somehow managed to get the horse in.
However, by this stage the horse was most unhappy and was very fractious inside the pens, swaying his head and rearing and at one stage even putting his head in the neighbouring stall and appearing to want to nip the horse next to him.
The Gliding Fish on the other side was eventually initimidated by the fractiousness next to him and injured himself when starting to flay his legs in a running-on-the-spot manner.
The badly behaved horse was then unloaded and examined. He was ultimately scratched with the official reason being, “Injured in pens”.
However, it was too late for the Gliding Fish, who had already been unloaded and scratched after being examined.
Firstly, the hood should surely have been called for earlier, which could have either led to a calmer load or the horse being scratched earlier if he had continued to misbehave.
Obviously, connections would like every opportunity for a horse to be loaded, but in this case the number of chances given to a fractious horse cost the connections of another horse a run.
The horse was given at least half a dozen chances.
Should there have even been a second or third attempt to load the horse without the hood considering his continual fractious behaviour?
In what was an appropriate coincidence an overseas race later in the day showed a horse being difficult and also being given many attempts to load. The starting stall crew finally succeeeded. However, the major difference in this case was the horse was loaded first. This meant this difficult horse did not cause any well behaved horses to have to wait while standing in the confines of the pens. The other horses also stood well away from the gates, meaning they were not affected by the misbehaving horse either.