Thursday, 15 August 2013

Cranbourne Barrier Trial - no trial, no barrier for Little Miss Hussy

It's shoes on, let's go!

 As our Little Miss Hussey returns to work for the first Barrier Trial since her recent hols...


Following her last run at Morphettville, our Miss Hussy has been on her hols. It was always going to be just a quick spell enjoying some rich grazing, winter sun on her back, and a well earned rest. Time and preparation for the Caulfield Spring Racing Carnival doesn't allow for any more than a three week break at this stage. Our lass has a big schedule ahead of her, but if all goes to plan, she'll get a longer break over the summer months before the autumn racing season.
 
Barrier Trial at Cranbourne Training Complex
There is no doubt we are an extremely keen and interested group of owners. There can't be many other horses present with such a big fan club at a barrier trial. Today we have come from all over Melbourne, to catch up on her news, to see how she has developed over winter and to watch her in action... For less than a minute, blink, and you've missed it.
 
A barrier trial is a chance to see how a horse goes under race conditions. The trainer gets the opportunity to measure progress. Or as in our filly's case, how she is going on her return to work. For the newbies out there, the trainer sees how they cope with the starting stalls, other horses, loud speakers etc. It is in effect a training exercise, and a welcome chance for our girl to let off a bit of steam.
 
Never the quietest one in the yard, our Miss Hussy has more than her fair share of attitude Yep, apparently she has a little bit of B..i..t..c..h in her, which is a horse racing technical term, and a good thing. Of course that's not how her loving owners describe her, we call her all heart, ready to go the extra mile...
 
We notice her strapper has her arm in a sling, after surgery on her finger following an eventful trip out a few days ago. She tells us she is desperate to be passed fit to return to work in time for the next scheduled race. It is testament to the respect and admiration that many feel about the horse, that her strapper, on sick leave, has chosen to come and watch today's events.
 
It's a huge morning at Cranbourne Training Complex and the car park is packed with racing floats from all over Victoria. The stalls are crowded and the extent of the opposition hits home, as we realise that there are more than 200 other horses all keen and hopeful to win some big races...
 
The Car park is full...
There are 21 barrier trials scheduled, mostly for three year olds, Horse after horse trots past on the way to the track. For many of these racehorses this will be their first experience under race conditions. Only the most developed horses get to race as two year olds. So it is not surprising to see horses well on their toes, and even the odd one going sideways as fast as they seem to be going forwards!
 
Off to the Barrier Trail
The mornings events are televised and we pack into the cafe with its two large TV screens, with the other trainers, owners and jockeys all keen to see the action. It's a different world, and a different language. The walls are plastered with adverts for horse clipping, equine salt therapy, agistment, floats for sale...
 
We order coffees. 'Any chance of skinny milk', I ask? 'No probs' is the reply with a nod of the head towards tables of wafer-thin looking Jockeys...Yep with 94% of the people here are on diets, silly me, of course they have skinny milk!
 


A quick walk around the stables sees the horses in their various stages of final preparation. There are horses having their coats groomed and hooves painted, jockey silks with their bright colours hang waiting to be worn, bridles are polished with their shiny bits gleaming, and tiny weeny jockey saddles ready for action...
 
Mick Kent's yard is next door and his horses do not need to come in a trailer, they just walk across. We go in search of our lass but she's probably still at home having her toes painted!
 

And then before we know it, race seven is on and we see her in the distance cantering off to the starting stalls like the three year old pro that she is. Race six horses return, all pricked ears and flaring nostrils. The experienced owners jump in their cars, in their own race against time, to get to a good vantage point to watch the trial with their own eyes.

For those of us more visually challenged, or who like the close ups and replays on the telly, we cram back into the TV room to watch as the horses are loaded into the starting stalls. The commentator calls 'the horses are ready, but there's no sign of the Starter...' Well that's a problem...
 
Returning from the Barrier Trial

All sorted and they're off, Our Little Miss Hussey gets away well and storms home an easy half length ahead of the pack covering 800m in 49.87 seconds. An averagely good performance. It's not the point to win, but she does - nice we like it!

A quiet fist pump moment and a nod of silent congratulatory approval is exchanged between the owners. This is so not the moment to leap up with a bellowing Yes! No one mentions she's the most experienced horse out there, that the majority of horses finished with their noses firmly pressed into their chests. Or to wondered how many other Jockeys have had the same instructions 'don't push her.' We're proud and yep she's looking good.

 
We rush over to hear what Champion Jockey Glen Boss has to say. He's the same Jockey that rode her to victory at Caulfield and has spoken highly of her in the past 'oozes quality, very efficient action...' She is led away. 'She's hardly puffed' one of the owners remarks. Michael Kent comes over for a quick word and confirms if all continues to go according to plan she run in the next two weeks at Moonee Valley.
 
That's the girl - Welcome back!
 

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