Black Beauty could probably have raced, Duchess, his mum was really proud of her dad having “won the cup two years at the Newmarket Races” and was very conscious of her upper class status and that of BB. And for a horse that wants to race, speed helps, but breeding is vital. You see the Derby isn’t about finding the fastest horse in England, or the UK or the World, it is about finding the fastest horse with five generations of upperclass blood in its veins.
The Conservative Party, although currently, thank God, being run by people who went to a good school, has been run by complete commoners in the past. Margaret Thatcher wasn’t much to write home about but John Major makes stealth bombers look glittery when viewed through class glasses. By contrast, Cameron manages to look quite posh. But racing requires real breeding, common fast oiks are definitely out. And as a common slow oik, I don’t have a hope in hell.
But then would I want to go? I would be safe from the flagellation, and most of the other horrors they inflict on racehorses, but is safety enough.
Would you go to watch other humans being whipped round a track? Would you like to see the dead bodies? People watch boxing and they used to watch Motor racing with enthusiasm until Jackie Stewart started a campaign to take the death of drivers out of entertainment. I don’t see any of our current racehorses managing to do the same.
Horseracing was the great leveller, the Sport of Kings, and of everyone else, but Formula 1 has usurped that. I know the cars that Button and Hamilton and Webber hammer round in are different from the things that blat past me, but the horses that McCoy rides are nothing like me. For a start they put up with a level of abuse I wouldn’t touch. You try waving a whip at me, to be honest try getting on my back and you had better be pretty damn good to stay on. But McCoy is riding highly trained, maniacally inbred, lunatics with a wide selection of problems, half starved and half mad. Actually rather like the East European female Gymnasts of a couple of decades ago, They are so highly trained, on such weird diets that they no longer function easily as normal females. Look at the level of female genital mutilation in racehorses if you really want to be put off. Google Caslicks procedure which is the norm for Thoroughbred females, and almost unheard of in common native ponies like me. Well thank God I’m not that smart.
This is the savage journey to the heart of the equestrian dream. Caslicks procedure is very simple, you trim the lips of the vulva, just slicing off the edges, and if you stitch them together, it heals up. If you want them to breed you do this after the brutal forced rape that passes as mating in the Studs of the civilised world, and please remember to slice the poor girl open before she gives birth. Labour is never easy, but when the vulva has “healed up” it’s bloody unfunny.
I don’t know what they do to Formula 1 cars, but the point is that they don’t mind. Force air in at extreme pressures, make the bits spin at ungodly speeds, run the brakes at Gas mark 27, blow the bloody things up, it’s only metal and carbon fibre and depleted uranium for all I know, but it doesn’t care. Simon’s brother was a keen racer when young, and told Simon he would never make a racing driver because he wasn’t prepared to push a car to the limit. On that basis Simon’s a really crap jockey. He falls for the simplest stuff, and he was pulling the bloody bannedwaggon as much as I was by the end of the London trip.
But I would rather work with a gullible fool than someone who will drive me to my grave, and I would rather put up with Simon’s eccentric ideas on feeding and exercise, than watch the girls exercised till they have to stitch their vulvas shut to stop the infections caused by crapping into them. I can’t think of a polite way to describe it, and why the f*** should I. It’s not me doing it to horses. As I say,. google Caslicks.
Rebecca Cassidy in “Horse People” was the original source of the info. I’ve never read the book, because it isn’t online, and even if Simon hadn’t lent his copy, I still couldn’t read it because hooves weren’t developed for turning pages. But from things Simon has said, it is a brilliant book. Cassidy is an anthropologist, and wanted to study isolated tribes with strange beliefs, and weird sexual practices, but equally she didn’t want to spend weeks in dug out canoes which is de rigeur for that sort of work, so she went to Newmarket and then Lexington, Kentucky, to study the isolated tribe of racing people, and their weird beliefs and strange sexual practices.
And that brings us back to the point I was trying to make, about the Sport of Kings, still being the Sport of Kings, but having lost the mass appeal which gave it credibility. Racing was called the sport of Kings because everybody from the bottom of the pits upwards, worked with horses and ponies and had an opinion about it. Go into any pub today and you will hear people discussing Hamilton, Button and Webber, because they use a steering a wheel, and an accelerator pedal, and the brakes. They have a connection, but when some motor racing bigwig gets a whip out, all hell breaks loose. “How weird is that?” everyone cries.
Well he’s in the wrong sport. Whips, in racing you can’t get away from them, however fast you run. the only exit is death because even racing types stop short of flogging a dead horse.