A typical topsy-turvy week?
This last week had the taste of a ‘Liquorish Allsorts’ week for this racehorse trainer and his team!
Gwafa had a perfect trip to San Sebastian. Jerry Walsh and Sophie Webber took care of his every need. He had a very smooth crossing from Portsmouth to Le Havre, then a two hour drive before his twelve hour rest-up at the Le Metayer family’s beautiful stud, Haras du Buff. There he had another intra-venous drip before being driven through Friday night to arrive on the dot of 08.00 at San Sebastian racecourse.
He looked great at exercise, ate and drank really well and looked a picture in the paddock. Things then started go wrong when he was in the stalls for ages, broke unevenly and was forced to be six wide around the first sharp bend. He was second last into the straight but ran on so well to finish fourth, beaten only 2.5 lengths by the winner. With only a decent break, he must have won, but as we all know these things can happen at any time. Any way no disgrace, just a long trip home!
Dunnscotia then compounded our frustrations by behaving badly on the way to the start at Kempton, but thanks to Georgia Cox and Danny Hannig’s skill and patience got to the start, only to suddenly dive under the rails and gallop off loose. He was joint favourite for a moderate race when he was withdrawn!
My Judge was the pick of the paddock before his ‘bumper’ at Worcester, but when push came to shove in the straight, looked one-paced and should probably ply his trade in the point-to-point field.
Tindaro’s display of jumping when making all the running at Stratford on Thursday was a joy to watch and exactly what we needed to rescue part of our expectations for the week. The handicapper had done the correct and decent thing by dropping him 7lbs, but it is not every time that racing allows the horse to reap that benefit.
He jumped superbly as he usually does, which makes his costly error at Market Rasen in the Summer Chase even more inexplicable! No doubt he’ll go back up 6-7lbs, but at least he was given a chance to win his first steeplecase since 2014 and reward his owners’ patience. Whether he goes back to San Sebastian for the 100th running of the Gran Premio de San Sebastian which he won in 2014 is in the balance.
Our racing week ended today with Gerald making his debut in the bumper at Worcester. He had done plenty of good work away from home at Compton, Kingstone Warren and Wolverhampton and so had to be in the first three. He travelled beautifully and looked in control three furlongs from home, but didn’t stay on as he should when finishing sixth. The reason was soon plain to see as James Best quickly dismounted him; he was very lame on his off-fore and it was obvious he had done major damage to his tendon.
The Worcester racecourse vets deserve huge praise for their immediate care and attention, but despite everybody’s best efforts, there will be one less horse to greet and feed in the morning.
The great days in the fast lane have to be celebrated in style as there are always sleeping policeman awaiting us around the next corner!