Celebrate and Roll with the Punches

It seems that owners are often at one of two extremes with their horses. On one hand, they are celebrating success or on the other, they are having to cope with bad news.

Our fellow partners at OTI are no different. While we have our share of winners and top runs, we also have horses that run below expectations or suffer injury. Those extremes of experience certainly came to the fore in the past few weeks.

Harbour Views, a long-time favourite for his owners and many punters, returned to racing in great fashion in winning the Listed ‘The Sofitel’ at Flemington. As the family pet for the four kids of Matt Williams, his trainer, the win provided a reason to celebrate for his owners scattered around the globe.

Harbour Views (FR) ridden by Damian Lane returns to the mounting yard after winning the The Sofitel at Flemington Racecourse on September 11, 2021 in Flemington, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos).

Eight hours later at Doncaster in the UK, Ottoman Emperor appeared in the world’s oldest Classic, the St Leger Stakes. After winning his past four races, hopes were high that he would run well. Not only did that not happen, but he returned home to Johnny Murtagh’s stables in Ireland with an injury that may keep him out of racing for a long period.

A night later at Longchamp in France, owners again stayed up to watch Timour have his first race in OTI colours in the Group 2 Prix Niel. Off a slow tempo, Timour started a sprint between two horses, only to have the gap closed. It was a super run, but unfortunately, despite the post-race inquiry, placings were not changed and the horse was confirmed as third.

Timour in the pre-parade ahead of his Group 2 test.

Each week the team at OTI can roll out similar stories that serve to emphasise the ups and downs of being a racehorse owner. The experienced owners know that, on balance, the winning experiences outweigh the disappointments. They also know that the way trainers and organisations like OTI handle the bad news can have an enormous impact on the way that news is received and accepted. It is imperative that it be conveyed in a timely and accurate fashion. Wherever possible, tactics to address the issues, be they performance or injury based, should be concise.

So celebrate long and hard when success flows. It will help sustain those times when the news is not so welcoming. And when that bad news comes and you are comfortable that actions are being taken to turn fortunes around, it pays, as one long time racing philosopher once said, “to turn the page”.