I had an interesting chat with my vet over in the Shaky Isles this evening, and somewhat unusually for a bloke like me who is most averse to the stuff the subject was blood.
Not the human type thankfully, but that of little slaughtered calves from the abbatoir where I once puked my guts up on a school trip that some sick f*ck of a teacher – there were plenty at St Paul’s back in the day, but none anymore thanks to the good Dr Browning, the best principal in the Pineapple State bar none – took us on supposedly for the purpose of learning all about meat production, but really just to sate the sadists sick lust for seeing kids spewing.
We’ll call the vet Dr Rock for the sake of preserving the sheep-shagger’s anonymity, despite the fact that unlike Eliot Forbes he follows the rules of his veterinary profession and doesn’t use the title unless he puts the initials after it that clearly signify that Dr Rock’s a vet not a medico, and isn’t authorised to deliver babies or pretend to be academic and intelligent.
Dr Rock reckons calves blood is the new elephant juice, a wonder potion that when filtered and distilled and titrated and spun like Michael Jackson turns into a substance named Actovegin that until it was banned by the the IOC’s World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was a favorite drug of such sporting luminaries as Usain Bolt (whose coach started using it on him when he was 16), the soccer stars Ronaldo (Cristiano and the Brazilian), Andy Murray, Vladimir Klitschko, Michael Jordan and just about any footy player ever treated by Stephen Dank.
Actovegin: is a filtered extract of calf blood. It is used widely, in Europe, for the treatment of muscle injuries. The major proponent has been Dr Muller-Wolfahrt who treats many of Europe’s top athletes (and the occasional AFL player) at his Munich clinic with a mixture of Actovegin and Traumeel (see below) with apparent good results. His treatments are certainly highly sought after, and many high-profile athletes sing his praises. Actovegin injections into muscle are not banned. The other way Actovegin has been used is by intravenous injection to assist recovery. Intravenous Actovegin is banned by WADA.
Why was I talking to Dr Rock on an international call about this little cow’s blood extract sportsfans? Why am I wasting your time telling you about it?
Well a nasty rumor’s sweeping around the racetracks life a germ-infested Ekka westerly wind at the moment, and what the parrots are chirping is that a reasonably well known group of trainers are paying regular visits to the slaughterhouse and buying up as much calves blood as the meat men are prepared to sell them, and that a hand-shot photo snap of one of the funky bunch of equine conditioners doing exactly that was taken by some untrustworthy Zillmere-style character from the wrong side of the tracks and passed directly to the brigands without even passing go, although we’re not sure whether the 200 was collected in the process by the moral-vacuumed Judas or not.
I don’t know if the rumors are true or not – our industry feeds on gossip, most of it untrue, although my record of accuracy’s pretty fair – but I’m a curious kind of cove and I like to know as much as I can about everything that interests me (birds, booze, betting, big boobs, bad boys, bent bobbies, ball games, big bananas, great blokes and birds, banjo, Bruce the Boss, bodacious boot, poor Ned, politics, pedophiles, crime generally and injustice just about cover the field), plus I needed to check on the mighty mare Carrington Park and see how she’s freshening up in the paddock, and its Christmas and a kingly cheerio call might score me a discount on the Vets bill, so ring a ding ding I went and Kia Ora the good Doctor replied and calve’s blood it was sportsfans, and calve’s blood it is.
Apparently this Actovegin it really kicks a horse’s performance through the roof too, and the reason is that it has the twin benefit of both spiking the glucose (energy) levels in a horse’s blood AND increases the steed’s oxygen capacity and uptake, which means that a horse can run really fast due to the sugar boost (imagine a toddler sculling a bottle of red cordial) and keep running really fast for ages because its sucking oxygen in and out faster than Linda Lovelace used to swallow in a gang bang.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine that Ardoyne Road – the 2-year-old whose performance I and every other racing writer in the land have waxed lyrical about – isn’t quite the super horse that I have declared it to be. Now I don’t for a second believe that this is the case, and maintain that this horse is something special, and that’s why I’m using it as an example of what Actovegin can do for a horse, not because Ardoyne Road’s on the stuff but rather because this rising star is one of the few horses that can do what it did without it.
Just to refresh your memory this was the super horse from Toowoomba’s first and to date only start, and goodness golly me isn’t it a run and a half.
Now like I said this is merely an illustrative example and there is no suggestion whatsoever that Tony Sears superstar is on the Actovegin or calves blood gear – which coincidentally is produced only in Australia, from the blood of our pure little well-fed, disease free but now dead moo cows on the Darling Downs, and exported around the world – and I want to be clear about that because I bloody love this little sheila and know deep down in my waters that he’s 100% clean.
Just imagine for the purpose of showing you what the gear does though that Sexy AR (as I have taken to calling her) is on it, and let me talk you through the Actovegin advantage.
Sexy Ar misses the start and young Nozi yells Banzai! and clicks her up. Well he doesn’t really, I’m just channeling the racists down at the RSL as a satirical device; he more likely screams like Goku out of Dragonball Z, but he clicks her up either way and rides her wide around the top turn and with arms and elbows flailing around everywhere takes her around the entire field and to the lead in the space of only a furlong.
That sharp speed she shows in the imaginary world is the glucose spike from the gear, which to be at its most effective would have had to have been whacked into her about three hours before the race, which if you allowed your fantasies to ramble you’d probably place as about on Ipswich Road on the back of the float.
The great filly gets to the lead and settles back on the bit, but still sustains a high cruising speed that keeps her four lengths in front of the rest of the field.
Now remember this is just a fairy tale (no, not a Bet Fairy one, or even its friend, we’re a not for profit news outlet here) but the high cruising speed is still the glucose kicking in, but the fact that Sexy AR can maintain it without pulling against Nozi is that sucking in the big ones and the gear is ensuring she’s processing it through her big, strong lungs twice as fast as she usually when off the stuff, and as a result she’s like Kip Keno over the 5000, strong cool calm collected but most of all very f*cking fast.
Then they hit the straight and Nozi releases the brakes and digs in the imaginary spurs and the glucose kicks in harder as the exertion level goes up and Sexy R darts even further ahead and keeps going like a freight train to the finish, not in the fastest time ever seen for the class at the track, but in a sustained exhibition of running fast all the way over every inch of six furlongs.
It’s good stuff this calves blood extract, and while it won’t make your horse a superstar like Sexy AR – you’ve gotta be very bloody good to start – it certainly can turn a 6-year-old gelding from a 4th placegetter of 5 in a BM50 at Betoota into a Dalby Class 3 winner in a ridiculously short space of time.
You probably find the whole hypothetical display of my outstanding knowledge of anything I take an interest in and spend a couple of hours researching and yarning to blokes in the know about boring I know sportsfans, and don’t think for a moment I don’t understand.
Just comfort yourself in the knowledge that if for once in a lifetime a rumor comes true and that it’s this one, then you’ll be able to puff out your chest and dazzle your mates with your brilliance by telling them what this calves blood witches brew named Actovegin is actually all about.
You learn something new every day sportsfans.
Sometimes it’s even useful.
Watch this space.