Troubles of a Trainer: Gilpin Tells of Worry Entailed by Handling Classic Candidate, Daily Racing Form, 1924-03-20


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TROUBLES OF A TRAINER Gilpin Tells of Worry Entailed by Handling Classic Candidate. Cites Case of Town Guard, Future Favorite for Last Years Epsom Derby, Which Met with Accident In Stall. The trials and tribulations of a trainer who is preparing a horse for a classic en-Ragemcnt are vividly described by P. P. Gilpin in the following article from the London Weekly Dispatch: I am quite certain there are few of the thousands that witness the great races on the English turf who realize the anxieties of those whose business it is to prepare the "cracks" for their engagements. No one but those who are intimately connected with them can understand the unceasing worry that dogs the footsteps of the trainers of classic favorites. As the time draws near for a Derby or a Leger they cannot call their souls their own, and the relief that they feel when the fateful hour has passed is like lifting a load from their shoulders. Let me give you an idea of what occurs all too frequently from time to time. Well, having been fed and examined, and all reported well, the string of horses emerges from the stables and walks off to the training ground. It is a fine morning and the larks arc singing sweetly overhead, and all the world seems bright and gay. The mornings work has been completed, and the aspirant to classic honors has gone well and pleased his trainer, who returns home to breakfast well satisfied with the progress his charge is making, and reports accordingly to his owner. AT EVENING STABLES. At evening stables he carefully examines everything, finds out if the crack has fed up, and then, handling his legs, discovers that all is not well. The horse has hit his leg, or it is filled, or something has happened over which the trainer has no control, lie cannot, no matter how careful he may be. prevent those things from happening. Then the usual rumors start flying about, and he is beset by inquiries from all quarters. What is the exact trouble with the horse? Is it serious or trifling? Is it merely a matter of a few days rest or will it prevent him running in the race at all? And if it is really a small matter, is it sufficiently serious to affect his chances of winning? And so on and so on! Perhaps the trainer and his experienced professional advisers are not quite sure at first what the injury really is or entails, and while uncertainty exists anxiety is acute. Even when the trouble is correctly diagnosed and yields to treatment, all worry over the matter is not gone. The horse has to bo watched carefully for any recurrence, and in any case the course of his preparation is interrupted. Can he be completely restored to health and a sound condition in good time for the race? It is some little time before everybody can be sure of that. A JJECEXT ROTABLE CASE. Take a recent notable case in point what happened to Town Guard last year. Town Guard had practically completed a satisfactory preparation. That is to say, the active part of his training was finished. I had returned home from the training ground Avell content with what I had seen and I immediately telephoned to town to back the horse for a considerable amount. Later in the day I went to London to transact some business and returned to Newmarket in the evening in time for dinner, to be met by my head man immediately on reaching Clarehaven with the news that when he went to evening stables he had found the horse lame. At once I went out to see him, and it was quite evident that Town Guard had injured his shoulder In some way while rolling in his box, or that he had been "cast," and so hurt himself against the side of the box. We telephoned to the veterinary surgeon, and I sent my car to bring him alone at once, and he diagnosed the case exactly as we ourselves had done. This naturally was a "bolt from the blue," and wo could only use every means in our power to overcome the trouble. The veterinary surgeon was unremitting in his care and attention, and the late John Coleman himself came down to see the horse, and again we were told we had diagnosed the case correctly, and Mr. Coleman prescribed exactly the treatment we had been followingall of which was satisfactory so far as it went. Town Guard, of course, was unable to do any work, but Ave managed to walk him for a short time at different periods, and the injury to his shoulder yielded to treatment, with the result that he was able to canter steadily before ho went to Epsom, and again in the mornings while he was there, by which time he was moving as well as ever he had done. As evidence of this, his action in the pre- liminary ear.ier was sldmired by all observ- ers. In fact, I never wish to see a horse move better than he did on that occasion. It was in my opinion a pure and simple accident which no foresight could have prevented, and one therefore to which any horse may be subect at any time an accident that may happen to any trainer at any moment before producing a horse at the post for any race. Everything was done to safeguard the horse between the time of the accident and his running at Epsom, but that was all a mere matter of precaution. There is no doubt whatever in my mind that the injury to his shoulder was the result of an accident such as I have described, but in this case the mishap had caused us great anxiety, which was increased by various rumors and such like, so that wc decided to take the rather unusual precaution of sending some police officers in plain clothes to supervise his transport to Epsom and to watch over him until the race was run. This is a measure that has been taken previously by other owners who have been in a somewhat similar position and have been unusually anxious about the safety of their horses, though I myself had not resorted to it before. I have more than one occasion in my mind when it would have been better for me had I done so, when, I have grave reasons for saying, unforeseen happenings were not the result of accident, as in this case I have just related. Thoug. the race was on the Wednesday, the horso traveled on the Monday, as, on account of racing starting on the Tuesday, we wero anxious to have the horses safely at Epsom before the race traffic reached its height.

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