Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Off the mark

The up-and-down nature of success - or, put another way, the very slender division between success and failure - has often been discussed on this blog. 2010 ended well for this stable with our final runner of the year, Ethics Girl on December 29th, winning at Wolverhampton. I can't say that I'd then noticed any sign of the horses 'going off the boil', but it just so happened that our first three runners for 2011 (Alcalde, Kadouchski and Asterisk) all finished hopelessly tailed off. Happily, though, the pendulum has swung back again (the horses have 'come back to form'!) as good old Rhythm Stick got us off the mark for 2011 by winning at Wolverhampton yesterday, thus completing his own hat-trick of victories over course and distance. That was lovely, and all the more so because Louise Parry, his joint-breeder and co-owner, was there to see him running for the first time. Her brother Peter Steele-Mortimer, with whom she bred the horse and who also remains a part-owner, had seen him win on the previous occasion, as had his other part-owner Rebecca Hunter, so it's great that all involved have now visited the winner's enclosure with him. Franny Norton (pictured here before and then after the race), who generally rides very well when riding for this stable (or for any other stable, come to that), has a perfect record of three from three on Rhythm Stick. He judged things just right again yesterday, making sure that the horse's strengths (primarily stamina and genuineness) were sufficiently exploited. Although there were only six runners, it was a competitive race and the field were mostly in a pack throughout. It was very exciting. Rhythm Stick had made all the running on the previous occasion, but that was basically by default. This time he was fourth passing the stands for the first time (pictured) but once he got to the front in the straight, while he was never likely to win by far, he always looked likely to prevail. And so it proved: four of the six were within about a length of each other crossing the line, but he was the one at the front. Great!

Pendulums (pendula?) keep swinging, of course, it and might very well have already swung in the other direction by the time we get to Kempton tomorrow evening. However, Ethics Girl seems in good heart and I'm sure that she'll do her best, as usual, so we'll hope for the best. Competitive race, but. Before then, though, we'll have another competitor to cheer as Hannah has a ride for Mark Rimmer in the first race on the card. Let's hope that this horse can get the evening off to a good start. On the subject of promising apprentices, by the way, it's worth noting that one rode her first winner at Wolverhampton yesterday. I'd already left by the time that the last race was run, but when I read the results I was very pleased to see that Alice Haynes had ridden her first winner. She's in a good stable as she's apprenticed to David Simcock, who came up with the champion apprentice last season (Martin Lane) and also has Laura Pike, who is doing very well. Alice started in David's stable last spring, having come back from Sydney, where she had been working for former Newmarket trainer Mark Wallace at Warwick Farm, and had previously worked for Mark's mentor Mick Channon, so she's had a thorough grounding. I'd say she'll do her bit to help to continue to establish David's reputation as a good producer of apprentices. The other winner to note from Wolverhampton yesterday (apart from Rhythm Stick, of course!) might be Art History, who defied remarkable green-ness to win a maiden race. Mark Johnston's AW three-year-old maiden winners early in the year often go on to do well (several have won at Royal Ascot) and Art History (who has a lovely pedigree, being by Dalakhani from a Peintre Celebre half-sister to Grey Swallow) might be another to do so.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Definitely not pedula. A pendulum is pendulous, so it must be Pendulums? You've made my head hurt now John!