Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Cheap Commenting

Paynter did well to win but Gemologist flopped to last. Although he only took part in only one race of the Triple Crown, the Belmont in which he came a close second, Paynter looks set to play a major role in upcoming races for 3-year olds. With the retirement of I'll Have Another and Union Rags, this son of  Awesome Again is clearly the best colt from the classic generation still in training.

The Olympics is in full stride and I must admit that I am keeping a keener interest than I would have hoped for. The China v/s USA quest for the medal haul is turning out to be a great duel. The Chinese are performing with brio in the pool, none better than 16-year old Ye Shiwen, whose astonishing feats have raised a cloud of suspicion among competitors and media. Let me get to the comments of Clare Balding, BBC journalist commonly known in racing circles, and who strongly and openly hinted at foul play following Ye Shiwen's demolition of the field in the 400m medley race. Such comments have caused mixed reaction in the Twitter world with some calling for her sacking.

Yes, it is true that the first reaction that springs to mind after the Chinese bettered her personal best by 5 seconds, is that she's been juiced up. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't. Impulsive reaction from the commentator one might say? No, not from a seasoned journalist who should know better on the repercussions of her remarks to a wide audience. Stick to your professional code, report as objectively as possible, air personal opinion without getting into derogatory remarks based on the unfounded. Commenting on live television should not have been a reason for her to let go on these principles.

It would not be surprising if she did it for sensationalism, which many have alluded to in the past in her racing coverage. Jumping on the bandwagon belief that the Chinese athletes must be all juiced up to win so remarkably is an easy, but wrong, step for her to make. I don't follow jump racing, but how does she comment on a winner from the Nicky Henderson yard, who's made headlines for being found out doping his horses, not least the Queen's horses! Does she openly question the credentials of the winner? How would she comment on Big Brown's winning the 2008 Kentucky Derby? The colt was under the care of Rick Dutrow who's always been notoriously known for steroid use on his horses. Would she have mentioned performance enhancing drugs in her post-race commentary? Probably not, because it would not be politically correct in the small racing circles to do so, and certainly not without damaging ramifications. But the Chinese being so "far away", it would certainly not sting her back, or so she thought. Clare Balding, get on with the Olympic spirit, and spare us your superficial commenting.

Back to racing, where Glorious Goodwood has kicked off today. Noble Mission has won quite impressively today, and it will be a shock of major proportions if his brother Frankel did not do the same tomorrow in the Sussex Stakes. For sure, he will win. Farhh from Godolphin, can become a genuine Group 1 horse, but definitely many notches behind Frankel. Frankel will win, Farhh will come second, the other 2 horses in the race are not even worth the mention. So, I would recommend piling on the exotic combos on this one.

Win: Frankel
Place: Farhh
Exacta: Frankel- Farhh

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