Foxhunters Chase - Friday 18th March 2016 (Day 4)

jennywales
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Postby jennywales » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:01 pm

Um yes, Geordie, I do, and I have some of the same reservations as you about the whole exercise. I haven't seen a replay but it seems as though the horse on her on side jumped into Pacha at the fence and unbalanced him - both jockeys hit the deck so I don't think the incident can be laid wholly at the door of the inexperienced....

Nevertheless, the Cheltenham Foxhunter is a vastly different proposition from a 6 runner plod round Fakenham in the heavy. 24 runners is the safety limit, and there are usually about 20 runners - a crowded field, on a course that is the most challenging (I except the National) of any in the calendar. Most of the other riders will be (a) much more experienced, and (b) fiercely competitive. No prisoners are taken, and because of the importance of the race to the hunter chasing scene, it is usually run at a pretty fierce pace. My main worry is that through lack of experience/skill (but not fitness in and of itself) she puts herself and possibly others into a dangerous position.

One of the things that I do worry about is that if she gets a run, the attention she'll get will outweigh the attention properly given to the dedicated amateurs and their horses who work their socks off all year to get to the race at all.

I hope that wiser counsels may prevail after today, but I wouldn't put money on it.

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Postby Shrews » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:31 pm

@Geordie - Imagine the good publicity for the sport if she wins!

@Jenny - I would guess that at this moment in time there is no one more dedicated than Victoria Pendleton!

It would be no surprise to me to see her handle the big occasion better than most and possibly ride the race of her life. The big occasion and the run up to it may well bring out the very best in her and I bet she's there now analysing everything she did right and everything she did wrong.

Champion's don't become champions for nothing.

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Postby jennywales » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:47 am

I have no doubts as to her dedication and commitment - but let's face it, a bike is inanimate and can be totally controlled by the rider, a horse isn't!

We are talking apples and pears here, and however championship oriented her mindset is (and I have no doubts about that, either) it's the technical elements that are different. She had been riding an inanimate bike for years before the Olympic golds. She has been riding horses only since 2015, at any level from beginner up. The two don't equate at any level.

And to be frank, if she does against all the odds win it, it might do some good for racing as a whole (although I have my doubts about that too) but it will certainly do no good for the other competitors, who have spent their lives and money striving to get to the race in the first place and will therefore be robbed of the kudos and prestige they were hoping for when they first thought they had a horse that might be a contender.

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Postby geordieracer » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:21 am

this dedication and champion nonsense makes me laugh

no-one more dedicated or a more consistent champ than P McCoy. So he could become a champion boxer?
Or could Chris hoy be a swimmer?

wholly different skills required.

Very goo cyclist. Not good enough on a horse to be at cheltenham

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Postby Shrews » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:54 pm

You have to draw a line somewhere Geordie otherwise it gets silly. What next? Frankie Dettori piles on the pounds to become an all-in heavyweight wrestling champion!

A champion cyclist feels she has the skills to become an amateur jockey. She could've just stuck with cycling and continued to make a small fortune. That on its own is notable enough.

Whilst there are big differences between the sports they are not impossible differences to conquer, she is not aiming to be a professional, just a winning amateur. She finished a head 2nd at Ripon on the flat, so obviously she has shown that she can control an animal at speed; she had 9 other amateurs behind her that day!

And this quote pretty much sums her up for me:

“Physically, I was never the specimen they (GB cycling) were looking for. I was too small and slight and the only thing that dragged me to the top of my field was pure tenacity and nothing else.â€

And why should it be that only people who have been trying hard to make it in racing all their lives deserve their chance at Cheltenham? Victoria Pendleton has worked damn hard throughout her life too!

Everybody has to start somewhere and stables are full of apprentice jockeys who have never ridden a horse before. Do we say that that those apprentices have no right to be a jockey just because they haven't been involved in racing before?

If the connections think she is good enough to ride their horse and isn't going to cause terror to the other jockeys in the race, then what's the problem?

She has a good-a-chance as any in the Foxhunters and will be no more likely to cause carnage than any other amateur riding at speed. Even Paul Nicholls is happy for her to ride for him!

Whether she wins the Foxhunters is another debate! But it's a normal debate comparing the skills of jockey's, not a debate that discounts her just because she has no right! She may not be the best (yet) but she may not be the worst either!

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Postby jennywales » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:37 pm

Everybody has to start somewhere and stables are full of apprentice jockeys who have never ridden a horse before. Do we say that that those apprentices have no right to be a jockey just because they haven't been involved in racing before?

!
I think you mean "aspiring"? As far as I know, no trainer would accept an apprentice/conditional who couldn't ride. The foundation stable staff course at the British Racing School provides for people who are motivated and pass the basic qualifications and interview to learn to ride. If they pass, they then move on to stable staff rosters, (the work includes doing your two and riding out), and if the trainer spots you and recommends you, you can go back to the BRS for the course preparing you to be an apprentice/conditional. Some stable staff can choose not to ride at the stable staff stage, but they are few and far between and will have shown other valuable qualities to the employing trainer.

The way to become a professional jockey is through the ranks of the BRS/trainer's yard or a combination of both - passing the BRS course is one of the conditions of being issued with a license.

Amateurs have to pass both riding and fitness tests before they get a license (Cat A enabling them to ride in any races under Rules, Cat B enabling them to ride in Amateur races and hunter chases only).

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Postby Brownie3 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:31 am

I get the impression, from both the press, Nichols and VP herself, that there starting to back peddle a little bit here.

Im not sure that the amount of negative press is warranted, what Id say is that this is a dangerous sport, cast our minds back 3 years to JT, the perils and consequences are clear.

The sport we love has enough haters and knockers, the VP ride might bring plenty more unwanted attention should this go wrong.

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Postby Brownie3 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:08 pm

Racingpost report that former 2 time winner, Salisfy, misses this years race.

I think his best days are gone, but he was a credit to the Hunter chase scene.

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Postby jennywales » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:32 pm

I'm actually surprised, because he won a hunter last week readily, and I had thought connections were looking to that race to see whether he should or should not go to Cheltenham. Qualification was certainly an issue, as it turns out (I had assumed he was already qualified, because the qualification period is 3 years, but apparently not).

They've chosen Aintree instead (with the Tetratema in between). He's only 11, so in terms of hunter chasing he's not that old!

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Postby Brownie3 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:35 pm

It was all to do with qualification. Only 2 points left till 2nd March to get qualified in time.

They've said he runs at Gowran on 5th March, Aintree and finally Punchestown.

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Postby TeddyT » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:43 pm

Re V Pendleton I'm a bit surprised that the Rules allow her to ride with such a limited amount of experience, especially in Hunter Chases. If things go to plan she will have had two rides in Hunter Chases at least one of which will be an incompletion.

I wonder how many other Amateur Riders have ridden in the Cheltenham Foxhunters with a similar amount of rides?

She's obviously got a lot of guts but I'm not sure its a good idea for her to take part at the Festival this year.
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Postby Brownie3 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:28 pm

Foxrock goes for this.

He is high class at his best.

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