Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Everything's turning to white

I rather got out of sequence by writing a review of my trip to the July Course on Friday evening, when Bill Scott's race was run.  I had, of course, been to Yarmouth the previous afternoon, and I had yet to review that outing, which was particularly good as Anthony came along too.  However, I'm now glad that I had made that omission: it now means that I can talk about Roy's seasonal debut from the perspective of his coming from an in-form family, with his year-older half-brother Dream Walker having won twice within 24 hours early this week, a fact which makes me a very, very proud breeder.

Anyway, Roy ran a nice race on his first try in a handicap.  It was only a low-grade race and he was on bottom weight, but even so it was a low-grade race largely filled by horses who had been running very well in similar contests - whereas Roy, of course had contested three maiden races last autumn and that was that.  So he was a lot less experienced than his rivals, hadn't run this year, and is still quite a baby any

So, all in all, his fifth place, beaten about six lengths, was a very pleasing and promising performance.  So that was good - as was the ground, which obviously wasn't good as it was good to firm, but it was genuinely good to firm, what one might call good, fast ground, and that's lovely in an extended period of proper summer weather; and one should salute the racecourse for laying on a nice, safe surface.  And we should suit the good 3lb-claimer Simon Pearce too, not only for riding Roy very nicely, but for being diligent enough to ride at 8 stone, which is a tremendous effort for someone who isn't small by jockeys' standards.

Anyway, Roy particularly now has to go on to achieve something, because his relatives really are putting the pressure on him.  His dam Minnie's Mystery (pictured here, in February at her home Haras de la Cauviniere) won a stack of race over a period of several years, and her first foal Grey Panel (five-year-old gelding by Largesse) has eight wins to his name so far.  Last week ended with her second foal Dream Walker (four-year-old gelding by Gold Away) the winner of one race (at Yarmouth early last season, and pictured in the next paragraph) but now he is the winner of three races, having saluted the judge twice within 24 hours at the start of this week.

So that was great.  Dream Walker's previous trainer Ian McInnes lost his license a few weeks ago, after which Dream Walker was transferred to Brian Ellison's stable, along with his owner Keith Brown's other horses, including a two-year-old who won at Beverley today and also Keith Brown's best horse, the splendid Top Notch Tonto, who won at Newmarket on Saturday.  This run of success suggests that the horses have improved since going to Brian's stable, and that might well be the case; but in Dream Walker's case, things have fallen into place nicely as he's been making hay while the sun hasn't been shining.  The horse is clearly better on a wet track, but has done most of his racing (but none of his winning) on fast ground.

Anyway, various parts of the country have had a lot of rain over the past four days, and north-western England and south-western Scotland both clearly fall into this category. They had a wet track at Carlisle on Sunday, and Dream Walker (shown here as a yearling with Hugh in October 2011) revelled in it to win the 5.30.  They also had a wet track at Ayr the following afternoon (soft, heavy in places) and he did even better, defying 10 stone 2lb (including a 6lb penalty) to win the 5.00 by seven lengths.  So that was wonderful.  Minnie's' first two foals have now won 11 races between them - so it's now up to Roy, to So Much Water (her yearling filly by Le Havre) and to her Youmzain colt foal to follow in these distinguished footsteps.


David Winter said...

John, you must have been so proud of Roy...i watched the race and the poor chap looked a spotty boy among men but as the race went on he seemed to get the idea and ran on well. He looks a lovely chap to be around I am sure you will be patient with him and i would imagine you didn't over prep him for his first run. Just as well he can't read because he would be stressed right out if he had glanced through your comments about him !!!!!

John Berry said...

Thanks David. It's interesting as he was noticeably tired for the first few days after the race - he's 100% sound and there's no problem, but it was clearly the first time in his life that he's ever worked really hard. All part of growing up! He'll be stronger and wiser for the experience.