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LETTER: Jockeys in control of how race is run.

Byline: Steve Prior

Steve Prior does not agree that the course is the reason for the Champion Hurdle not being a true test of stamina

I take issue with Tony

Harman's letter (November 21) suggesting the Champion Hurdle is not a true test of a champion, whereas two miles at Sandown would be.

Much as I am an enormous admirer of Sandown Park, I fail to see that the way in which races at Cheltenham are run could be blamed on the course itself.

The implication is that Cheltenham does not sufficiently test a horse's stamina over two miles. Setting aside for a moment the debate about whether two miles over any course can be a real test of stamina, the way in which races are run rests squarely with the jockeys.

If a horse has bags of

stamina, why not make the running? Surely this would test the true mettle of the opposition. In the event that another runner can `lay-up' with the pace and deliver a blow up the hill-that horse cannot surely be deemed to be lacking in stamina and guts? Is Mr Harman suggesting that Istabraq, for example, is simply some fortunate Flat-bred, who has races run to suit him? And, if that is the case, more fool the other jockeys.

In actual fact, Cheltenham and Sandown provide a similar test. They are both stiff tracks that demand exceptional stamina to deliver a

final blow.

Watch the finishes at both courses and you will find a horse in front off the final bend is often out-battled on the climb to the post.

If it is stamina and guts Mr Harman needs, can I suggest he attempts running at full speed up the Prestbury hill and then re-assesses his


Steve Prior


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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 30, 2001
Previous Article:LETTER: Low-key approach the best option.
Next Article:LETTER: Cheltenham is in a class of its own.

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