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Chester Manifold Stakes Day

January 15th, 2011 0 comments

Like the rest of Australia I’ve been totally washed out, but not so much by floodwaters, more like Montezuma’s Revenge. I’ve never been so wasted. I suppose it’s the price you pay for all that feasting over Christmas. My back ached, my head ached and my body couldn’t find a comfortable position in space. All I could do was lie about moaning. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sit, except for rushed visits to the throne room. And I couldn’t even go to the races! That’s how sick I was! That’s pretty sick.

So a tentative and conservative return to Flemington, with no betting intentions. The track seems to have coped remarkably well with all the rain and is posted a Dead 5. The race times suggest it is Good. My eye is taken by winkers. I don’t score blinkers because they are common and noted in the racebook, but I have been keeping stats on winkers for some time now. I’m still not convinced they are a positive. I suppose the standard is your regular basic black, but there are some amazing colour variations about.

Arkham’s pink winkers looked quite gay. She was listed in the book as having ear muffs, but Warm Love, the race winner, must have borrowed them. And a nice slinky, shiny leather set they are too. Selma Spur had postbox red winkers, but I’m not sure what the horse thought of them. Horses do have some limited colour vision. They are generally regarded as dichromats, which means they are sensitive to light of only two wavelengths, blue and yellow, compared with humans who have trichromatic vision. So horses probably see the world much as a red-green colour blind human would, and those red winkers would appear to be a murky, sickly yellow. The grey Liffeybel had white winkers but seemed intent on shaking them off.

There are a lot of differences between the horse and human visual systems, including the anatomy of the eye and the structure of the retina. My own vision is plagued by floating black dots caused by vitreous detachment. The jelly bit of the eye has separated from the retina. But for now, I’m just glad that I can watch horses again. Happy New Year.

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