This week, reading "the horse" is far more important than reading "the form".
We are entering the final week of training and preparations for the Oaks and Derby - bound horses. If you are not at Churchill Downs this week, then I can’t stress enough, the importance of finding those experienced horse people that are there and reporting on how each horse looks, acts and trains. Three year olds at this time of the year can change dramatically from week to week. You hope to see horses holding their conditioning, with a blossoming, dappled out coat; galloping and working with enthusiasm, with no signs of mental or emotional stress. While their so-called "serious" training is mostly done, you want to see horses that are sharp and are looking for more to do. They are the ones that are ready to peak. They are the ones that are getting ready for the performance of their careers.
And I put the word "serious" in quotes for a good reason, but that might be for another chat, at another time.
I enjoy the boys from TCI who I have been watching for about a year now. I keep their link on this blogsite. They have a good eye for a horse and they know what they are looking at. Though I don’t know their background, it’s odds-on that they are experienced horsemen. Mike Welsh from the DRF is pretty sharp too. HRTV’s Jeff Siegel, Jill Byrne and (now Richard Migliore as well) are three more horsepeople who’s assessments I pay attention to. And Simon Bray and – just where is Frank Lyons? - from TVG are worth listening to.Yes, you can argue that these are still "opinions" but horsepeople can read a horse and that, more than reading the form, is what's critical now.
Pay attention to what your horses are doing this week. They need to have a great week if they are expected to show up with their “A+” game next Friday and Saturday.