Dr. Geoffrey Hutson's breakthrough book Watching Racehorses is out now! Learn about behavioural handicapping: how head tossing, pawing, salivating and other behaviours provide telltale clues about a horse's readiness to run.
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Betfair Park Hillside

January 29th, 2011 0 comments

I quite like the two-year-old races, mainly because nobody has a clue as to how they will run. And I didn’t have much of clue either and ended up crossing them all out for one reason or another. But I thought the chances of Decircles could be slightly reduced because he was curling his upper lip in his stall. This is the classic flehmen response.


 The photograph doesn’t quite capture the extent of the curl but gives you the general idea. There is quite a good description of flehmen in that  indispensable punter’s bible – Watching Racehorses. The behaviour is generally thought to be involved in sniffing out mares on heat, not something we want our two-year-old colts to be doing before a race. Despite the distraction the horse ran on OK for a pleasing seventh.

I backed Lohnreign for a place in the third, even though Under The Eiffel looked outstanding and had won convincingly last time out at Sandown. But I was happy with $2.00 for second place. I gave it back on a miserable Testalux in the fifth and came in to race six all square.

Jumpout Joey reckoned Spacecraft was the lay of the day on fitness grounds and the horse’s behaviour certainly left a lot to be desired. He was very unsettled, head up, changing stride, fast gait, circling in the yard, gaping, flared nostrils, showing me some teeth, sweating copiously behind. I had already noted that the vet had blood sampled him in his stall, but horses handle that with no drama. I laid him for the place at $1.60. My selections were Rockpecker and Wealthy Lad. Because I’m such a Rockpecker fan I backed him for the place at $1.90, but he was crunched into $1.50. I think all of Stony Creek must have been on him. The horse showed great determination to win from Wealthy Lad. There was a minor moment of panic when Spacecraft looked like squeezing Barwon Express out of the finish but Barwon Express fought back well to grab third.

A successful back and lay in the same race! That’s enough excitement for one day!

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