The problem with stayers

December 8, 2017

It's always a tough one to manage. I call them "the take more time, think it can stay horse."


The first one I had was a mare called Lacey Underall.


The problem with these horses is that they rarely show anything early.


Most trials are over the sprint distances of around 800 - 1000 metres. It can be disheartening to say the least to watch a young horse, who's gene's say I prefer a marathon than a sprint race, compete in these trials. They normally don't show a lot. 


One can make the mistake of sacking it too early. The horse seems slow and one paced. 


The other thing with stayers is that their physical make up is that they take a lot of time to physically mature. Ever wondered why it's cheaper to buy a staying type at the sales?


A stayer is many ways is not dissimilar to that raw tall key position kid who just got drafted to an AFL list. This kid is not an automatic starter in next years team. In fact he's normally a long way off. Chances are he'll spend most of the next 2-3 years in the twos and loads of time building himself up in the gym.


So like the 18 year old kid, a young stayer can spend the first 2-3 preparations physically maturing and in  training to be prepared to race over a longer trip.


Many young horses simply can't stand up to the training and racing that it takes to get over a longer trip. They may have 3-4 races in a preparation but never get out to a distance that best suits them. You see some encouraging runs over shorter distances but the horse will generally get to the end of its preparation and be ready for a break. No different to how a young AFL team gets tired at the end of a season. The stayer and the young AFL key position player simply are not seasoned enough.


For the trainer it's a really hard one. He or she may have a hunch that the horse should get over some ground but the facts are you never truly know until you get it over a trip.


So back to Lacey Underall.


She had a trial as a two year old. Ran a long last. I remember leaving Flemington after the trial that day. I thought to myself, "Gee I hope she can stay!"


And stay she did. It did take time for her to break her maiden. We had to get her out to 1600 metres and travel to Murtoa to get the win.


With each preparation she improved as she was able to be raced over more ground. The further the races were, the better she raced.


At her fourth racing preparation, she ran a nose second to Gallic in the Adelaide Cup of 2007. 


The year after, in her sixth racing preparation she won the Adelaide Cup.


It was a good lesson in learning to be patient.


 Lacey Underall wins the Adelaide Cup over 3200 metres in 2008.



So we have accepted for She's Tidy at Werribee on Sunday. She has always looked to me like the "take more time, think it can stay type of horse."


She's into her third racing preparation. She has raced 9 times for 3 seconds and 2 thirds. This time in she's stronger, eating better and able to get through her training better than ever. She keeps improving. This is expected as she continues to mature.


She's Tidy ran a nice third over 1200 metres first up. She heads to Werribee in a race over 1400 metres and we've drawn perfectly in barrier 3. In form jockey Chris Symons gets the ride.


This race is not an easy assignment. It come up as a very strong maiden. Grunt looks the one to beat. It has a placing to subsequent Group 1 winner Aloisia (it won the 1000 Guineas) back in May at Flemington. It surely runs as the short priced favourite. There are also some well bred first starters from the Hayes and Busuttin stables. 


I'm sure She's Tidy will run a good race on Sunday. She'll need to get rolling early to get to top speed and will run a good honest race. But I'm tipping her best is yet to come. 


We have a hunch that She's Tidy should get over some ground. We'll need to be patient.


You can view the form for the race HERE.


She's Tidy races at Werribee in a maiden over 1400 metres. 

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