Bat­tler has right to take on Winx

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - BRAD DAVIDSON

WIN X will face just six rivals in to­mor­row’s Turn­bull Stakes at Flem­ing ton but if some peo­ple had their way there would only be five horses tak­ing on the cham­pion mare.

Some pun­ters have ar­gued whether the mod­estly per­formed Sky fire should even be al­lowed to be in the Group 1 race.

After all he is rated $301 by the book­ies and those odds should prob­a­bly be closer to $3000 on the strength of his lasts tarf if hi na Bench­mark 78 at Mo ring ton.

But does that mean he shouldn’ t be in the field? Abso - lutely not.

The cold, hard facts are that there were only seven ac­cep­tors for a race t hat can take a field of 16 and this is what many peo­ple, in­clud­ing my­self, love about rac­ing–giv­ing the battle ra chance to take on

best horse so fall. It’ s prob­a­bly the equiv­a­lent of the C-grade park foot­baller play­ing in the NRL. It would never hap­pen of course in rugby league, and in most other sports for that mat­ter, but that’ s what sets us apartin the so-c alled ‘ Spor of Kings ’.

If we ramp up restic­tions on race sin terms abil­ity then it de­creases the ever slim chance sofa rags to rich es story, the bat ler pulling off the un­think­able, which we ex­pe­ri­ence in rac­ing a few tm es a year.

Sky fire’ s trainer Amy John­ston made a great point in the me­dia this week as well. Not only do Sky fire’ s own­ers get t he chance to say ‘I raced against Winx’ at Flem­ing ton but what hap­pens if four of the Turn bull Stake sun­ners scratch on Satur­day morn­ing?

Sure it ’s a st retch but it wouldn’ t be the first time that four horses have been scratched from a race. All of a sud­den there would be field of three and Sky fire would be guar­an­teed a Group 1 plac­ing no mat­ter how far he is beaten by Win x.

As it stands now, Sky fire will earn $10,000 for run­ning last, which is a big­ger przecheque the horse has picked up in all bar one of his 28 race st r ts to date.

I un­der­stand the ar­gu­ment that the av­er­age punter hav­ing abet on Sky fire isp rob­a­bly not go­ing to get a run for their money but there’ s three counter ar­gu­ments here.

One is if Sky fire is pay­ing $301, the‘ av­er­age’ punter should know sim­ply by the price hat it’ s ex­tremely un­likely to win. The sec­ond is they are bet­ting on horses –they’ re not ma­chines and things can go wrong some horses run be­low par for what­ever rea­son, mean­ing the $301 shot can still, against all odds, pull off the uke lies t of vic­to­ries or even place.

The third point is there are horses that go around un­der the odds (and over the odds for that mat­ter) ev­ery day of the week. Do we have a prob­lem with the ‘av­er­age punter’ tak­ing $2.50 about hype horse that should re­ally be a $5 chance? The an­swer is no, so why we have prob­lem in Sky­fire’s case? No one is mak­ing a punter back this horse.

The ‘em­bar­rass­ment ar­gu­ment’ doesn’t wash with me ei­ther. only one who should feel em­bar­rassed by this is po­ten­tially the own­ers or trainer of Sky­fire and if they’re happy to race then why should we stop them. We have horses fin­ish­ing 30 lengths last ev­ery week of the year for a range of rea­sons.

Rac­ing is special be­cause it al­lows con­nec­tions to have a wild throw at the stumps( or very ild in Sky fire’ s case) and the more we rest r ict such horses tak­ing on the gr eats

move away from what we’re about – iv ing the bat­tler the chance to take on our cham­pi­ons no mat­ter t he odds.

Speak­ing of Winx, good luck to the TA B punter who placed a $94,150 bet on the great mare

win the Turn bull Stakes ear­lier this week at $1.15.

The fi­nal Group 1 of the Syd­ney Spring Car­ni­val is al­most upon us in Syd­ney with run­ning of the Spring cham­pi­ons take sat Rand wick to­mor­row.

I have to be with Ace High after his gutsy in in the Gloam­ing Stakes a fort night ago. My best bet on the Rand­wick card is Viri dine in the Ro­man Con­sul Stakes, whle I also ex­pect Dixie Blos­soms to go close in Race 8.

Trainer Amy John­ston with Sky­fire at her prop­erty in Morn­ing­ton.

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