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By Larry Cassidy | Friday, December 7, 2012

Larry Cassidy currently has forty-two Group 1 successes behind his name. He is a multiple Premiership winning jockey having taken out three titles in Sydney and one in Brisbane. Larry’s View, the personal blog of this top class rider will appear on horseracingonly.com.au every Friday, workload permitting.

The Hong Kong International meeting which is being staged at Sha Tin this weekend is the highlight of the global racing scene for December and, as such, it is important for the Australian racing industry that we continue to be represented on the world stage at meetings of such prominence.

This year Sea Siren and Alcopop do the honours for Australia and they will endeavour to show once again that horses from ‘down under’ are up to performing on the world stage.

This premise obviously doesn’t only apply to Hong Kong. It’s the same deal with Ascot or Dubai … wherever there is a serious test of strength at the highest level.

I should really say it’s important for Australasian horses, including New Zealand, to be given that opportunity to mix with the best.

In the past they have proved to be very strong and shown that they can compete with anyone, anywhere where they race around the world but, whatever the past achievements, you do need an on-going presence to highlight your product.

Without question, the racing and breeding industry from any country needs that type of exposure!

Having said that it is not an easy process to finally arrive at a true contender to represent you from the racing ranks and you obviously only want to go there if you are going to be competitive.

For all of the advances we have made it certain areas the fact remains that it is still not easy travelling horses, even inter-state … let alone halfway across the world.

For overseas travel horses have to be inoculated. That in itself can have an adverse affect. Then there is still the unknown of how the horse will actually handle the travel itself … then, how it will cope with a different climate and surroundings on arrival, how it will fare on a ‘new’ track … and, finally, how much that overall experience win or lose, might take out of the horse. Remember the horse will be racing at the highest level in
probably his toughest assignment yet.

It is all pretty much a fine juggling act.

The trainer has a two-part mission and he can only do his best against some considerable odds on both counts.

Firstly he has to get a horse up to that sort of competitive level required to receive an invitation to compete and then he has to guide it safety through a really tough assignment.

Even with the best planning and the best of care, there are no guarantees you get the same horse back after he has run his race.

And therein lies a serious gamble!

So while we want to have representation, you have to have to right horse to do it. Ability is obviously the first stop in the selection criteria but importantly, beyond that, you have to have a horse who is likely to cope with what will be thrown at it.

Usually, most of the better horses already have some travel experience so they will have something to draw on when they undertake an overseas trip but, the bottom line is that is a new situation and you are never really going to know the outcome until you try it.

For some, if they are close enough that they can smell it, the temptation of a shot at international glory will be too strong to overcome. Others might adopt a more conservative approach to their runners’ schedule and put it in the paddock for the summer.

Like everything else in racing, there is no right or wrong way of doing things.

Just the ever-present, addictive uncertainty of it all!

Till next week,

I can now be followed on Facebook - Larry Cassidy

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