Sunday, May 20, 2012

All's well that ends well

I ended the last chapter by saying that I was hoping for three good runs from the horses at Newmarket.  Well, we certainly didn't get that, but all came home sound and the sun still rose this morning, so we haven't got too much to complain about.  Silken Thoughts went up there seemingly feeling a million dollars but, having set out across the Heath like a lion (pictured), she returned home like a lamb.  It wasn't her day at all - but, as the late, great George Hanlon so memorably observed one day, they're only human, so they're all allowed an off day.  She'll bounce back.

Wasabi ran even worse than Silken Thoughts, finishing last.  We can't say that she'll bounce back as she has no form to bounce back to, but she'll be fine.  She just showed her inexperience too much, racing much too fiercely in the first half of the race and inevitably weakening very badly at the end as a result.  This was a typical second-time run: the shock of hard work on the first occasion must have rattled her cage, but given a bit more practice she'll learn to be more ho-hum about things, and she surely has nice future ahead of her, as she is, as I feel these photographs show, a really nice young filly. 

The funny thing was that I was expecting second-time-out pressure to manifest itself in the stalls as she had been very restive in practice earlier in the week but, having been pretty fired up when we were saddling her, she settled right back down in the parade ring (pictured) and then behaved beautifully down at the start (pictured under Pat Cosgrove with the Kelly Harrison-ridden Guarda Pampa) and in the stalls.  She came out of them like a rocket - and then continued as if the rocket was still stuck up her rear end, until fatigue inevitably kicked in in the final couple of furlongs.  She'll be wiser as well as stronger in the future, and I'm sure that the lessons she's learning at present will pay dividends in the end.

This just left Grand Liaison (pictured in the parade ring under Martin Lane) to salvage some sort of honour.  It might be stretching things a bit to say that she did that, but she ran a nice enough race.  These three-year-olds' Newmarket maidens at this time of year are very hot contests indeed and one would think that the principals will be en route to Royal Ascot and the like; so it was no disgrace that she finished with only a couple behind her, and she definitely showed enough to suggest that she'll be alright.  For one thing, she showed enough professionalism and pluck, as she did everything right at every stage, and kept going bravely even when she was getting very tired up the final hill.  She's a grand little horse who makes everything pretty straightforward for those around her.  The funny thing was that when we were waiting for her to come back in after the race, Ryan Moore rode past in Andrew Tinkler's colours on a really beautiful Michael Stoute-trained colt.  I looked at my racecard and was not surprised to note that the horse had cost 200,000 euros as a yearling - and then had a little chuckle to myself when I realised that he had finished behind our little girl!

The happy post-script to this rather downbeat post-Newmarket report is that I can, as I have just discovered, end the review of the weekend's racing for Beverley House Stables inmates by reporting that one former inmate has kept the flag flying by covering himself in glory: Grey Panel - Minnie's Mystery's four-year-old son by Largesse, pictured enjoying one of the first canters of his life, up Warren Hill as a two-year-old in April 2010 - recorded his second win of the season by storming home by ten lengths at Les Landes, relishing the wet underfoot conditions on another of these cold, wet racedays with which we have all become so familiar this spring.  That was just terrific

What a month it has been for Minnie's, with Dream Walker also having thrived in the mud to win by six lengths at Yarmouth.  And what a day for Grey Panel's owner/trainer Tony Le Brocq, who took two horses to Les Landes today and came home with two easy winners.  I just hope that some of the success of Minnies' offspring can inspire little Orla's Rainbow - pictured striding out across the Severals with his trademark boldness this cold (but dry!) morning - to put up a good show at Kempton on Tuesday night, when he is set to make his debut in a two-year-olds' maiden auction race.

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