Racing pundit Tony McCormick from.irishbigracetrends.com beforetheoff.com and racing radio station racingfm.com speaks to Matt Bisogno of independent racing site Geegeez.co.uk about the recent spate of horses entering the winners enclosure following ‘wind operations’ including three at the Cheltenham Festival.
Among the many views Matt and I share in racing is how annoying is the frequent amount of times that, following a win, the trainer announces how pleased he/she is with the horse ‘following its wind operation’ or we expected an improvement as ‘we have now got its wind sorted.’
For punters who, like me, prefer the form book to the soundbite, we were left high and dry by the absence of any official information.Matt Bisogno
Matt feels it would be beneficial to the regular pundit to have this information more widely available.
I asked Matt to explain exactly what is a ‘wind op’?
He said: “In essence, the issue is that the long nerve that controls the larynx runs from the right side of that area all the way down a horse’s back, and then back up the other side to the left of the horse’s throat,” he said.
“So it is far more likely for there to be weakness in the left side of the throat than the right. This weakness can lead to a partial or full paralysis of the muscle, which in turn means it can collapse across the airway making for difficulty breathing.”
“There are different degrees of intervention to address the problem - ‘hobday’ and ‘tie back’, a more acute operation for more extreme cases, being the most common.
“Inexplicably, these surgical procedures do not currently have to be declared to the BHA.”
He added: “Punters were hit hard in the pocket last week as Kim Bailey’s Darna, the biggest winning starting price of the week, beat the heavily gambled 11/2 favourite, Monetaire in the Festival Plate. Monetaire looked to have been brought with a finely-timed run by Tom Scudamore, as Darna had weakened late in his two prior starts. But not this time.
“A third breathing operation successfully prevented David Bass’ mount from racking up an unserviceable oxygen debt, and allowed the nine-year-old to keep on rolling to the line.
“Cole Harden, too, was to keep finding when previously he’d hit the wall in the World Hurdle, and he too frustrated many punters by beating the favourite into second in the biggest race of the day.
“Next Sensation, winner of the last race of the Festival, had attempted the same unbridled tape-to-line victory run last season in the same race, but had capitulated in the last 100 yards, eventually finishing a gallant fourth. This time, under a slightly more measured ride and with facilitated breathing, there was no stopping him and he came home unchallenged by four lengths.”
There is little doubt in Matt’s mind that none of the three horses would have won without surgical intervention and wonders what punters are to make of such undisclosed improvement?
When I suggest, that both Warren Greatrex – trainer of Cole Harden – and Next Sensation’s trainer Michael Scudamore had highlighted that their runners had undergone surgery, Matt is straight to the point.
“But that’s the key. Unless you happened to read the particular bulletin in the particular newspaper/website, you would have missed this most material of snippets.
“For punters who, like me, prefer the form book to the soundbite, we were left high and dry by the absence of any official information.”
Part two of the interview will conclude next week, where Matt will hopefully provide any feedback he has received from the BHA.
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