Thumbs up, Ian Parsard


Thumbs up, Ian Parsard

Dane Dawkins learn from your mistakes

Sport Editor

Friday, August 07, 2020

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That Ian Parsard is steadily establishing himself as a top thoroughbred conditioner is well known, as evidenced by his numerous successes in recent years.

What is probably not as well-known is the fact that Parsard appears to be a magnanimous human being, a trait that is often lacking in competitive sport, in general, and horse racing, in particular.

Parsard, last season's most-improved trainer, could be aggrieved at how his highly touted Mahogany lost the $2.8 million Jamaica 2000 Guineas over a mile two Sundays ago. The second-generation trainer did his part by presenting the three-year-old gelding in immaculate condition, only for jockey Dane Dawkins to undo the good work with an uncharacteristically hurried ride which resulted in a three-length loss to ante-post favourite Wow Wow.

Parsard's other charge in the race, Double Crown, was third and Tomohawk was fourth.

Given a platform and prompted by SportMax's George Davis, at the end of last Saturday's meet, to comment on what many saw as a suicidal tactic employed by Dawkins, Parsard steered clear of maligning the young rider.

Instead, he adopted a paternal stance as he subtly admitted that “everyone makes mistakes”, while quickly praising the rider as one of the best in the colony at the Caymanas Park, and a jockey he envisages winning many Classic races in the future. Dawkins like Parsard is yet to win a Classic race.

Parsard's performance in that interview after completing a double on Saturday, in my view, speaks volumes of his class, dignity, and integrity.

If he hasn't yet done so, I hope he follows up his verbal support with action by putting a hand around the shoulder of Dawkins to reinforce the young man's belief and confidence.

It was Jettie Woodruff who once said: “There are two types of pain; one that hurts you, and one that changes who you are.”

A contact of mine at the track has indicated that based on social media postings, Dawkins appeared despondent with how the race unfolded.

He should be, in a good way, that is, and he should also accept the pain that comes with it. Both the pain that hurts and the pain that changes who he is.

After all, experience is always the best teacher.

Dawkins is claimed to have explained that Mahogany was so charged for the race that he just couldn't restrain him to regulate the pace effectively, hence superfast splits which rendered him a spent force over the last quarter.

Mahogany stopped the clock at 23.1 seconds for the first quarter, followed by 45.0 seconds for half a mile, followed by 1.09.4 minutes for six furlongs, before passing the post in 1.38.1, three lengths behind Wow Wow's 1.37.3.

It is said that the three-furlong split was 34.0 seconds.

Those splits were suicidal, at best, and the fact that Mahogany still managed to finish second, three-and-a-half lengths ahead of Double Crown, speaks volumes for his class.

After the opening split, he recorded 10.4 seconds for the third furlong, followed by 11 seconds for the fourth furlong, which is 21.4 seconds for the second quarter-mile.

The third quarter was clocked at 24.4 seconds, as he began to tire, before completing the last quarter-mile in a pedestrian 28.2 seconds.

Please note that the six-furlong track record held by the great Eros is 1.09.2.

There is no need to debate the folly in what was attempted, whether deliberate or not.

I would humbly suggest that Dawkins identifies one of the more senior riders around who he is comfortable with and arrange a chat with that jockey. If he is not comfortable with any of those he shares the jockeys' room with at present then he can easily contact Chris Armond at the Racing Office and get a link to Winston Griffiths, Charles Hussey, Emilio Rodriquez or the great George HoSang, all riders with a vast reservoir of knowledge. There is also jockey-turn-trainer Fitzroy Glispie, who could lend a helping hand.

It is also important for Dawkins to keep his chin up, for he is much better than that one poor ride. He must not let that setback define him, and he cannot let the negative reactions of fans weigh him down.

As a professional, Dawkins needs to grow a thick skin, because in one minute you will be the greatest jockey who ever lived, and the next minute you will be the worst-ever in the pigskin.

Dawkins must remember when he rides in a race he does so not just for himself, but for the breeder, owner, trainer, groom, and significantly, possibly for thousands of punters.

When Dawkins or any jockey succeeds there will be many friends, but equally, when you lose, especially due to errors on your part, you are sure to multiply your enemies, so my word to Dawkins and others is — try your best at all times to minimise errors.

That's the nature of the game as a jockey and that sets you apart from the others.

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