The following commentary seemed most appropriate to concerns of the present:
“… the supposed degeneracy of our thoroughbred horses is altogether a mistake. It is the manner and the purpose for which they are used that gives them the delusive appearance of non-stayers, in comparison with horses of an earlier date, when long races and heavy weights were the rule, and not, as now, the exception. If horses of the present day were trained for long races and raced but a few times a year, this important fact would be made manifest. Five or six furlong races are so numerous now that few trainers care to prepare their horses for any other distance, or at most only a little beyond it. In this they have the tacit sanction of their employers, for there is scarcely one nowadays but likes to see his horses big when brought to the post; a state totally incapacitating them for running a long distance successfully.”
— William Day, racehorse trainer, from The Horse: How to Breed and Rear Him, 1888, p 80-81.
Perhaps today’s circumstances are not so different as they might seem when we look at contemporary results and compare them unfavorably to the “golden days of yore.”
When Day speaks of racing a distance, he is especially thinking of heats and single dashes of three and four miles, and the weights sometimes exceeded 10 stone, which would put Sid Fernando or me in the frame as potential jockeys.