I’ve no problem with connections who gallop a two-year-old with a Derby winner and the 2-y-o wins by half a furlong. They keep it quiet and have it off first time out.
I applaud those who find themselves with a young handicap hurdler who muscles up over the summer and comes to himself and develops an exceptional hurdling technique at home and connections get stuck into him first time out that season at Taunton.
I don’t even have a problem with a trainer who knows the absolute limit of one old chaser he has is 115 and he runs him over the wrong trip/in the wrong ground to get him back to 115 and help keep his business afloat.
I do have a problem if it transpires that the coup was engineered – over a very long period – by a rich man driven by an almost lifelong hatred of bookmakers. Punters were not just deceived on Wednesday, they were very probably deceived in most, if not all of the other races in which those horses ran, because Wednesday seemed to make it obvious that the purpose of all previous runs was to get the marks down (an offence under the rules of racing).
Now some might argue that I couldn’t prove that, but I’d happily bet that any objective court in the land would find that ‘on the balance of probability’, that is exactly what happened. The complexity of the plot alone – 4 animals, long lay-offs, the Curley connection, all just happen to run on the same day, all bet off the boards, is self-incriminating.
This was a conspiracy. The BHA investigation might find that the successful ‘delivery’ of that conspiracy was carried out by premeditated and prolonged cheating. If so, that cheating means it is probable that every penny placed on those horses in the build up to this was lost before the race was off…that every penny placed on the rivals of these horses on Wednesday was almost certainly lost before the off. The entry fees, travel costs, hopes of connections and grooms involved with rivals, were worth nothing to the perpetrators of the coup.
A major deception was pulled off by a group who, on Wednesday night were probably sitting laughing at all the gullible folk mentioned above – not least the punters. As I’ve said before, all this ‘we caned the bookies’ stuff is nonsense. The only money bookmakers have in their possession is provided by punters. Bookies redistribute it, keeping a slice for themselves.
Your punting losses, in this case, were handed over to the coup gang.
So, they didn’t cane the bookies. They caned other punters. They caned other owners and trainers and grooms. They caned racing’s reputation. They didn’t even have the decency to admit after the result ‘Yes, we had it away good and proper’ (Organising a betting coup is not an offence in itself). Instead we get treated like fools with quotes like ‘I don’t know about betting.’
Yet who gets blamed? the handicappers: they ain’t perfect, but what chance have they in a case like this? The stewards? Perhaps some criticism is merited there, but they shouldn’t be made to carry the can imo.
As for those who claim ‘the form was there for all to see’, why then were they backable overnight at accumulative odds of more than 14,000/1?
Whoever organized this is, of course entitled to some admiration for the logistical side, but there’s no doubt in my mind it was a bad day for racing.
If it was Mr Curley, perhaps his smartest move of all was getting the stooges to deliver for him; for it is the stooges who, if found guilty of an offence, might – and should imo, lose their livelihood by being hit with long term bans.
The patsys might well be left thinking ‘We were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’ They blew the walls out, and, after the BHA investigation, they could find the roof will come crashing down on them. I wonder what they will think then of Mr Curley who will be standing well clear, not a speck of dust on his suit, smiling at them before he wanders off to plan his next coup.