'I'm not sure whether the information will help punters' says Hales
Long-time owner John Hales, who won the 2012 Grand National with Neptune Collonges, believes the chances of wind surgery improving a horse are approximately 60-40.
Hales, currently looking forward to seeing his latest big name, Politologue, contest the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown next month, said: “It’s good for the betting public that declaration of wind ops is to be made compulsory, but in my experience there are no guarantees they will work.
“A good proportion of them are not successful. The vets will tell you there are no guarantees. I would say the chances of them improving a horse are 60-40.”
Hales, who also owned 1998 Queen Mother Champion Chase hero One Man, added: “In the main, I’ve been lucky with my horses who have had wind ops. I guess I’ve done better than 60-40.
Proper race conditions
“But I’m not sure whether the information will help punters too much. There are various types of wind ops and you could have three horses in the same race who have had three different types. You can’t declare all types of wind ops, that would only confuse the betting public.”
Hales also emphasised confirmation of wind surgery being successful can only be gleaned on the racecourse under proper race conditions, and not on the home gallops.
“Until a horse is flat-out and under pressure on the racecourse you’ll never really know if the wind op has worked,” he said.
Carlisle-based James Westoll, who owned the ill-fated Glingerburn, conqueror of Bristol De Mai in a Kelso Grade 2 hurdle in 2015, agrees with Hales on the subject of whether punters will benefit from the additional information.
“There's no harm in them being publicised, but a lot of wind ops don’t have any effect,” Westoll said. “There are so many different procedures, and none is100 per cent guaranteed to be successful.”
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