Thursday, May 22, 2014

The return of the prodigal son

As predicted, Tuesday was indeed a busy day.  It wasn't, though a productive one, with Zarosa finishing a moderate sixth of nine, and Gift Of Silence finishing a very poor sixth of six.  Both runs were disappointing; and for no obvious reason, other than each might have found the ground a bit firmer than ideal.  Neither has come home with anything amiss, although Gift Of Silence is looking very light after the race - but that's par for the course with her, as she's a lanky mare at the best of times, and races generally leave her looking lighter than one would like.

Before moving on from our Tuesday runners, I might just touch on the subject of Gift Of Silence's 12/1 SP.  This was a massive surprise.  She was 6/1 in the Racing Post.  She'd finished four lengths behind Meet Me Halfway last time (when  Meet Me Halfway had won and she'd finished third) and this time was 6lb better off - which makes her 12/1 SP hard to understand, with Meet Me Halfway winning the race at 9/2. Anyway, it turned out that 12/1 was far from generous as she ran badly, finishing miles behind Meet Me Halfway this time - so there you go!  The one thing I would say, though, is that when a horse is significantly longer than one might expect (which is general for our horses nowadays, bizarrely the only exception being Gift Of Silence on the previous time when I'd put on this blog that she hadn't done much work!) one has to be concerned - and so it's worth pointing out that Sean Levey rode her perfectly, so there are no grounds for suspicion in that respect.

With the two horses both running disappointingly, the highlight of Tuesday (for me, anyway, even if for no one else) turned out to take place in the Memorial Hall.  Firstly, the annual Town Meeting (at which the townsfolk have the opportunity to make the councillors aware of the errors of their ways) was pleasingly straightforward.  It was the first time that I'd been up on the panel at this meeting, and I can tell you that it's much nicer being among the hecklers than the heckled.  However, happily there was minimal heckling on this occasion, which was a big relief.  Then part two of the evening was nice too, as at our monthly Town Council Meeting I became Newmarket's Deputy Mayor for the next 12 months.  Don't be thinking, though, that this was much of an achievement: it's relatively easy to win an election when, as was the case in this instance, one is the only nominee.

Returning to the horses, yesterday was a real red-letter day.  Longtime readers of this blog might recall 'Tommy' (Platinum Proof) who arrived here as a spring two-year-old after the Newmarket Breeze-up Sale in April 2012 and who left here 14 months later, having shown adequate form in three maiden races (finishing fourth in the third of them, earning a rating of 63) but then having run moderately in two handicaps, when on each occasion I'd probably run him in an unsuitable race.  Anyway, Tommy (then still a colt) was a lovely horse in every respect (looks, behaviour etc.) and we were very sorry to see him go.

He resumed on 21 September and then ran seven times in just over seven weeks.  He finished second once and fourth once, but was unplaced on the other five runs, and his rating dropped to 48 during the period.  And then, having had his final run on 15th November, he made no further appearances until showing up at Doncaster Sale on Tuesday, 20th May.  I was interested to see him so went up to have a look, and had it in my mind that it would be lovely to buy him, but that I could only do so if he were very inexpensive - and I couldn't see him being very inexpensive, because he's such a good-looking horse, is still only young, and has National Hunt racing stamped all over him (and has done so from the outset, because he was always a magnificent horse with plenty of size and scope).

Anyway, he showed up at the sale with no obvious sign of soundness queries, so I thought that someone would be sure to want to throw in a few bids for him as a potential jumper - so you can imagine my surprise when I bought him for £800 (ie £848 + VAT) which was the only bid, my having opened the bidding with very little optimism at the minimum bid, only to find that there was no further interest.  So he's back here.  Which is terrific.  He's having a lovely time because, while he had to live in solitary when he was here previously because he was a colt, he's now a gelding, so is out in the back paddock as I write, hanging out with his seven new friends (as the final photo shows, with the other pictures having been taken after his arrival yesterday).

What the future holds for Tommy I don't know.  I don't think that he'll be running for at least three months because he doesn't look very fit - but, then again, the catalogue said that he "will run up until time of sale".  That's an odd thing to read about a horse who hasn't run for over six months, but it does imply that he's fitter than he looks.  Anyway, I'll do the best thing in such a situation: I'll take it a day at a time and feel my way with him.  If he does indeed turn out to be a nice hurdling prospect, then that'll be terrific; but if he turns out to be as good a prospect as his price would imply (ie no sort of prospect at all) and we just have to end up finding him a good home as a hunter or eventer or such like, then the £848 will still have been money well spent, simply because of the pleasure of having had him here again for a while and for the knowledge that we've made sure that he has a useful and safe future.

Anyway, it's great to have him here.  That's how I feel;and, as these photos suggest, I think that he feels the same way too.

3 comments:

David Winter said...

Deputy John

I have just read about the second coming of "Tommy" and i must say you brought a lump to my throat.You are such a very kind man to have put yourself out the way you did to almost rescue him from who know's what. It was a wonderful thing to do and reflects very well on the racing industry to boot. You and my wife together would be dangerous people as she also would have fields of unwanted horses !!!I wish you and Tommy all the very best of luck and a lot of fun and happiness together.
Oh my God, sounds like i am wishing a good future to a newly married couple. ha ha!!!

David Winter said...

Deputy John

I have just read about the second coming of "Tommy" and i must say you brought a lump to my throat.You are such a very kind man to have put yourself out the way you did to almost rescue him from who know's what. It was a wonderful thing to do and reflects very well on the racing industry to boot. You and my wife together would be dangerous people as she also would have fields of unwanted horses !!!I wish you and Tommy all the very best of luck and a lot of fun and happiness together.
Oh my God, sounds like i am wishing a good future to a newly married couple. ha ha!!!

Suzy Quirke said...

Tommy for Town Plate!!!