Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Triumph and Disaster

Gosh, I'm shattered.  Everything's really good one minute and terrible the next.  I had a lovely start to Saturday, watching quite a bit of really good racing from Australia before starting work.  The Star Stable competition started and I found that I'd recruited the winners of two of the three Group One races (Fiorente and Lankan Rupee) and the runner-up in the other (It's A Dundeel).  So that was exciting, particularly as Fiorente's so special, so it was great to see him win the Australian Cup, one of my favourite races.  And then ... and then ... Roy Higgins died, which turned a terrific day into a black one.  I want to expand on this and pay him tribute, but I'll do that manana, for reasons which I'll explain when I do it.

Sunday was just the perfect spring day here.  You can see its start in the first paragraph, and it just got better from there, all the way through to dusk, which you can see in the second and third paragraph's illustrations.  And what made an idyllic day even better was the news that Leon Macdonald, whom we were delighted to welcome here in the summer and who is pictured in the last
paragraph in Luca Cumani's stable when Luca was kind enough to show him and his friends around, was inaugurated into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, a great and well-deserved honour and one which has been universally well received.

Anyway, Monday began as Saturday had begun, with some good Australian racing on ATR, Monday being Adelaide Cup Day. I wanted to watch that, not just for the Cup but because it was our friend Clare Lindop's second day back riding after a spell on the side-lines with a dislocated shoulder, and she had some good rides for Leon.  So all was going well.  A lovely interview with Leon.  Then their first runner finished second.  Then a nice interview with Clare.  And then her second ride, on Leon's good three-year-old Gamblin' Guru.  He was very much on his toes in the parade ring, very fired up in the race - and then, after about 600m, bang, he clipped heels and went down, nearly as fast and nearly as sickeningly as Seal Of Approval went down with Hayley Turner in the Park Hill.

It could have been worse as her injuries are ones which will heal, but they'll only heal very slowly and very painfully: her mum tells me that she's broken eight ribs on one side and seven on the other, some of them broken in several places, and she's broken her collar bone on the shoulder which was dislocated last month.  At least the horse was more or less OK - which brings us around to today's racing at Cheltenham, which would have been an absolutely wonderful day's sport but for the sickening sight of lovely Our Conor's fatal fall.  Triumph and Disaster indeed.

I've got an ATR shift tomorrow afternoon when the channel is showing Southwell AW.  Let's hope that that's more straightforward - but if it isn't nobody will know as, with Cheltenham on the other side, we won't have many viewers at all.

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