Shalatin miss at Goulburn sparks heated debate over tactics

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Will ever live up to his potential?

That was the big question doing the rounds on social media after the three-year-old was edged out at the line by Hasten Delight in a 1200m maiden event at Goulburn on Sunday.

It also led to a heated exchange between form analyst and the Pride Racing account on Twitter.

Shalatin – with star aboard for Joe Pride – went in an odds-on favourite because of the talent he possesses.

After his impressive fifth-placed debut in the 2021 Kirkham Plate, he was identified as a potential prospect at the time.

But 11 starts later – and over $282,000 in along with six runner-up finishes to his name – the hyped sprinter is still a maiden.

The gelding was pipped at the post when his first victory looked likely from the outside on the straight.

This led Davidson to question the plan Shalatin followed.

“I just do not get those tactics on Shalatin,” he wrote.

“Jumps so well but they're persistent on taking cover at every cost and they get caught three wide without cover the trip as result.

“Should have still won but deary me, just straight to the front and ride him like the best horse.”

The Pride Racing account was quick to fire back, pointing out it was Shalatin's race to win when he found the front inside the final furlong, before giving up his lead and losing by a nose.

“So what was the excuse at Newcastle 3 starts ago?” the Pride Racing account replied.

“He had every conceivable chance to win today and many times in the past and if you can do a better job @braddavo buy Shalatin and take out your jockeys license you obviously are better than @nashhot.”

Davidson then stood by his comments and his right to have a strong opinion in his analyst role.

“Nash and Joe are two of the best at their craft in the country and I happily say that on air most days,” he wrote.

“I do, though, find it strange that any criticism in this game is met with such defence. I will, however, continue to always call it how I see it, respectfully of course.”

Davidson was not short on support following the exchange.

“Never give it up Davo, you do a great job,” wrote Craig.

And Thomas Haberecht wrote: “Agree @braddavo. Without knowing wat instructions were, very strange ride. Nash is a genius. Keep telling it how you see it mate. Twitter is about having an opinion.

“@PrideRacing are going to cop criticism on here from time to time, I think it's time for them to pull their heads in.”

Even respected Sydney caller Darren Flindell couldn't help but laugh at Shalatin's latest performance, invoking memories of Lisa Simpson daydreaming she could only be in America's second-best band and performing Born To Be Runner-Up.

“God bless Shalatin #lay” and “#nonwinner (laughing emoji),” he posted.

Davidson replied to this, still backing Shalatin's ability but observing that tactics needed to be changed.

“He just needs a decent ride and he will win one soon. Fair dinkum, he has copped some shockers,” he wrote.

Flindell then wrote Shalatin again showed he lacked the killer instinct needed to finally win his first career start.

“Lacks intestinal fortitude. I accepted the fact at the 100m the great gravy train of laying him was coming to an end but alas he didn't let me down,” he wrote.

St Spiman compared Shalatin to Regal Pom, while racing fan Stacey Ropa wrote “He's the new Tom Melbourne”.

Tom Melbourne won five of his first seven races, before saluting more time in another 44 starts.

But runner-up finishes in plenty of Group races, including the and Cantala Stakes, meant he finished his career with over $1.4 million in prizemoney in April 2020.

Regal Pom has two wins from 16 starts for Annabel Neasham, going winless across his first 11 races.

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