Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Belated debut

I was so pleased with Asterisk's debut yesterday when she ran third in a seven-furlong maiden at Leicester. She's been here a long time, so the day of her debut was a long time coming. But, happily, it proved worth the wait. She seems to have come home fine, so fingers crossed she might be able to build on that promising start and become a winner. I wasn't there as I had received a late call-up from At The Races to go on yesterday's International Review show, and I was happy enough to accede to that request because I knew that the filly would be in safe hands with Adam taking her up there and the well-known stalls guru/brahmameister Yarmy (pictured with her and Iva during a stalls session a month or so ago) being kind enough to look after her at the start. She has been very difficult with the stalls, but thankfully her phobiae should all be behind her now; and yesterday all she did wrong was hesitate for rather longer than she ought before finally going in. Iva's obviously still hors de combat, so Tom McLaughlin rode her. He'd put her through the stalls on Monday morning, so he was able to approach the start yesterday knowing that she wouldn't play up significantly, which obviously helped. So, all in all, that was very satisfactory indeed.

Less satisfactory were our attempts to have runners last week: we had two horses declared and both were non-runners. No doubt we'll have the conspiracy theorists putting two and two together to make 800, but those who believe that horses being scratched is some sort of plot might be surprised to learn that the reason why one declares a horse is because one wants to run that horse. So it is bloody irritating when something crops up after declaration time to thwart that aim. And that's exactly what happened last week with both Jenny Dawson and Rhythm Stick. I rarely have horses' blood tested, and when I do it is to check the muscle enzyme levels; I can think of only one instance in the past few years when I have had a blood test done to establish if a horse is healthy, simply because I believe that a competent stockman ought to know his stock as well as he knows himself - and for myself, I never need to have my own blood taken to know how well or otherwise I feel. But I did have reason the day before their races to have Jenny's and Rhythm Stick's blood tested, as I found myself suspecting that their muscle enzyme levels would be raised - and my suspicions were proved correct both times. It would, clearly, have been madness and in the interests of neither man nor beast then to have run the horses, so I am afraid that we had two of our very rare non-runners in the same week. Which was really annoying. But when one reads, as I have done today, that Sans Frontieres tied up yesterday and consequently has had his Melbourne Cup challenge aborted, then it's easier to take one's own frustrations on the chin: at least our foiled plans weren't centred around a realistic chance of winning a $5 million race!


Wayward Lad said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and your forth-right comments. And many thanks for posting the excellent photo's of the string on the gallops.

John Berry said...

You're welcome. Thank you for your comments: it's always nice to know that someone's reading the blog.