Monday, May 25, 2015

Fifty per cent

I'm afraid that Grand Liaison couldn't manage to complete her hat-trick at Haydock on Friday, her fifth place taking the stable's strike-rate for the season down to 50%, ie four wins from eight runs.  Still, she wasn't disgraced under her welter burden (9 stone 11lb).  If she 'd been a 10/1 shot it would have been a pleasing run, but as she was the 2/1 favourite it was slightly disappointing.  Still, we've had plenty of practice at coping with disappointment and will get plenty more in the future; and, after all, winning three races in a row is hard enough at any level, but particularly in handicaps.  She won three in a row as a three-year-old, but doing so as a young horse is less hard than doing so in maturity, so we can't be too downcast that she couldn't match the feat at the age of six.

I'm pleased to say that she seems to have come home from the race in good shape, which is always a wonderful post-script to any outing.  I think that she's probably just ready for a bit farther now that the freshness is out of her - and if, as could well be the case, she ends up winning something around two miles, I'll be thinking to myself, "What on earth was I doing thinking that she could have a chance at 10 furlongs third-up?".  I'd be surprised if she didn't tackle 14 furlongs either next time or the time after that, so we'll see how we go.  Anyway, no harm done (other than to our strike-rate and to hers too) so we shall press on with optimism.

What's also nice is that this was a first lead-up for Abbie Bunten, our youngest member of staff.  Abbie had helped us out at various times in recent years, but only started full-time after Hugh left earlier in the year.  She's risen to the challenge wonderfully well, and has turned out to be a great asset.  She tends to be on her own in the yard doing the ground-work for a lot of the time, and she shows great initiative in getting everything done efficiently and without guidance or supervision.  She keeps her eyes open, uses her wits - and the icing on the cake is that she generally ends up asking the best, but least-heard, question of all: "Is there anything else you would like me to do?"  We're lucky to have her - and I was pleased that, although her first lead-up did not turn out to be a winner, it was a lovely, kind horse who is a pleasure to take to the races, and whom she turned out in immaculate condition (as you can see in the first paragraph).


David Winter said...

Such a lovely thing to find such a little gem of a girl this day and age John, and i am sure you will cherish her. I understand that getting good yard staff is particularly difficult at the moment with the immigration laws the way they are and it seems a lot of local lads and lasses don't want the hard work and the early starts. GL did wonderfully to finish from so far back and i am sure there will be another day.

Brian Jones said...

John, get your Twitter profile updated, You're the Mayor now!, Well Done.