Puzzled Pauling questions why Oskar Denarius was forced to wear blinkers
Ben Pauling is bewildered as to why Oskar Denarius was forced by the American authorities to run in blinkers, despite the yard not declaring them for his ultimately disappointing run in Saratoga's Grade 1 $175,000 AP Smithwick Memorial Handicap on Monday.
Pauling said: "Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix-up with the American authorities in that we didn’t declare blinkers.
"He’s never worn blinkers yet, just before the race, they seemed to believe he'd been declared with blinkers, or they certainly declared them.
"An email had been sent by my assistant [Tom David] to declare him without blinkers, yet they insisted he wore them or the horse couldn't run.
"All we try to do is keep a lid on him. Unfortunately, blinkers didn’t have that effect. He ran in them, which was never the intention and a mistake from the Americans. We’re still trying to sort that out."
He added: "It wasn't the difference between winning and losing, because he scoped badly in the stables afterwards."
Oskar Denarius, who finished a distant last of seven, had already suffered the problematic experience of the race being postponed last Thursday after an unseasonable amount of rain.
He was moved from his temporary base six hours away from the track last Tuesday to the busy stables across from the course until the rearranged race, which created its own issues.
Pauling added: "It’s quite clear that between Thursday and Monday he did pick up a little bit of a bug, because he’s returned with a dirty scope and a snotty nose. It was all just unfortunate."
Undeterred, Pauling is plotting another US raid later this year and admitted that, despite the poor result, his team thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience.
"I don’t think it has put us off," he said. "We’re looking at possibly taking Jaleo over for the American Grand National. There may be other races in America too.
"It was, on the whole, a very good experience for everybody. It was a shame it ended the way it did, but there are no hard feelings.
"We ought to be looking to do more of these trips, there’s good prize-money out there and the welcome you get is great.
"It wasn’t the most successful raid on America there’s ever been but, at the same time, nothing ventured, nothing gained."
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