Cheltenham: Starzaan is a class horse

The reason I didn't post on the blog yesterday was because I'm currently at Cheltenham, winning money on the horses.

The Cheltenham Festival Guide 2008 has a section entitled 'What the Experts Think?'. Never mind the exclamation mark, I was taken by this quote from Hughie Morrison, trainer of Starzaan:

Starzaan is a class horse who has all sorts of problems with legs, wind etc

Doesn't sounds very class to me. I have a mental picture of Starzaan (pictured below) limping and farting his way across the finishing line...


TootsNYC said...

I had assumed at first that "class horse" has some sort of specific-to-horse-racing meaning.

Like a "claimer," or something.

Is it possible that "open class" is often shortened to be simply "class" by those who use that jargon often? (though that's usually used for the event, not the animal--unless the *type* of horse entered in that race, "champions that have progressed through from lower graded races" per Wikipedia, has come to be called an "open class" horse?)

You'd know better than I; my knowledge of English horse-racing terms comes from six readings of all of Dick Francis's novels.

And i can't find that terminology in use anywhere except one place:
One website in the U.S. refers to a "class horse" in a way that makes me think they mean "a horse used to teach classes" (he is trusty, smart, and personable, and has been at the camp a long time).

The Ridger, FCD said...

I would assume that he means the horse overcomes his problems and is worth training despite them. But really, who knows?

JD (The Engine Room) said...

You may be surprised to learn that I am not in fact a horse-racing expert. But I assumed 'class horse' was just short-hand for 'high-class horse' or 'first-class horse', despite – as the ridger, fcd says – his various problems.

I'm not sure the 'wind' mentioned in the quote does refer to flatulence, but again I'm not expert...

Robync said...

I work for Hughie at Camp Farm Stud, and Starzy IS class horse. By this he meant that he's fabulous, and of really high quality, not and "open class" horse, he's a top class horse - well bred, with good confirmation (basically, he's the ideal shape a horse should be) and he's fast, kind and loves his job.
When Hughie mentioned his legs, he meant that Starzy has been lame quite a lot, with tendon injuries and swellings in his legs, which often renders racehorses useless - Starzy has overcome this and gone on to be a fantastic racehorse. When Hughie mentioned Starzy's problems with his wind, he didn't mean flatulence, he meant his lungs. Starzy had problems when he first went into training (under Hughie as a racehorse) with breathing, when he was galloping he found it hard to breathe and would gasp for breath. This problem is minor compared to the extreme wind problem of bleeding - bleeders gasp for breath so violently whilst racing that they burst blood vessels in their lungs, causing them to have serious nosebleeds and choke on their own blood.
Starzy is wonderful, and after going back into training following a break over the summer, he is going to continue to be a class horse, and win big races!