Friday, December 21, 2012

Early present

We had the perfect early Christmas present yesterday when Honky Tonk Queen saluted the judge at Lingfield.  Kempton on Wednesday evening and Lingfield on Thursday afternoon were both fairly grim, wet racedays, but happily for us all the horses ran well, with Honky Tonk Queen topping our bill.  I'd spent the past month scratching my head at the conundrum that this well-bred 800gn purchase seemed too good to be true - because, of course, most things which seem too good to be true aren't true.  David Wachman is a good trainer, and one doesn't expect to get a horse sold out of a good trainer's stable who has never been placed but who can win a maiden race a few weeks later.

She'd been doing everything right at home and no flaws had revealed themselves, so I set off for the races worrying that perhaps she might just fall to pieces when she goes to the sports.  However, there were no such worries: one wouldn't have known she was on the truck, she just dozed in the racecourse stables as she waited for her race, she was as calm as you like in the preliminaries, and she then trotted up under a typically sound ride from Jim Crowley, who has a great record for this stable, who is now two from two in my silks, and who went on to ride a four-timer yesterday, partnering three winnners at Kempton in the evening.

So that was lovely.  I can't take too much credit for this as Chris Murray was the one who was shrewd enough to snare her out of David Wachman's draft at the Horses in Training Sale, thus securing a terrrific bargain with an 'on spec' purchase.  And I was just lucky that I was the man whom he approached afterwards to ask if the filly might be of any use.  You might recall Chris training in Newmarket fifteen years ago or so.  He's a man whose opinion I've always respected, and this happy story provides yet another illustration of his acumen.

Anyway, we've run three horses this week and, although only one has finished in the money, they've all run well.  Silken Thoughts (pictured under Jamie Spencer in the previous paragraph) ran a good race in the dusk half-light of the the 0-85 handicap (the last race at 3.30) yesterday.  She had top weight of 9 stone 10lb, with even saddle cloth number two receiving   7lb from her.  She was beaten four lengths (and one could have knocked a length off that if she hadn't been squeezed up in the final 50m) so was clearly on the day the best horse in the race.  And one can't say fairer than that.  Simayill (pictured here under Tom McLaughlin before the race) had also run well at Kempton the previous evening: she'd shown nothing in her previous runs for this stable, but this week she ran well and tried hard, so perhaps there might be light at the end of the tunnel after all.


bigalp said...

Well done John and thank you for your blogs this year it's really nice to hear about whats going on on the Heath and of your yard. Happy Christmas to you all at the yard & Happy New Year.
Alec & Jayne

John Berry said...

Thank you. Look forward to seeing you both down here later in the year.
With best wishes