Saturday, November 30, 2019

Always trying

Gee, you have to have the patience of a saint to race horses.  Das Kapital has long been a trial of patience already as he's been here on and off for three years now and has only this autumn been starting to come good (I believe and hope!).  He's an autumn four-year-old and he's a big horse, so there's nothing particularly unusual in that - but three years of waiting is three years of waiting.  Anyway, during the past three months I've been happier with him than I have ever been.  And his last run, at Yarmouth about six weeks ago, saw him the most competitive he's ever been.

So that's all good, as was the fact that he has been training very nicely through November and looked to have his easiest opportunity to date with a 0-50 race coming up at Wolverhampton on Tuesday.  He was duly entered for Wolverhampton when the entries closed at noon on Wednesday.  He had galloped nicely with Konigin that morning.  On Thursday he had a canter, doing everything in the exercise very smoothly and comfortably - at walk, trot and canter - as has been the case the past few weeks.  He went back into his box after his exercise, stayed there for 23 hours - and on Friday morning when he came out he walked down the yard like a crab.

He had been going to canter but I just sent him for a trot and, although technically sound, he just didn't look comfortable.  Unbelievable.  Hence we won't be going to Wolverhampton on Tuesday.  I can't see that it's anything serious and I'd be disappointed if it isn't something which can be put right when the chiropractor sees him early in the week.  But, you see what I mean?  You have to have the patience of a saint.  You need everything to go right every day, and at times you wonder how you ever manage to have a runner, let alone a winner.  You just have to keep reminding yourself of the wisdom expressed in 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel': it'll all be alright in the end, and if it isn't alright at the moment, that just means that you haven't reached the end yet.

We have a couple of new trainers in the town who will be having their patience tried over the years to come.  One will already be accustomed to the trials of mental strength: Simon Pearce (pictured here on a young Roy Rocket at Yarmouth six years ago) has for many years played an integral role in his family's extremely good but under-patronised stable, initially under his father Jeff and more recently under his mother Lydia.  In general, how bloody trying training is doesn't really hit you until you are doing it yourself, but in Simon's case he will already be more than aware of just how much of the time you find yourself feeling as if you're swimming against the tide.

That already-learned realism will stand Simon in good stead in the years to come; and if it were just a matter of working very hard, training the horses very well, and conducting oneself honestly and decently, then he would now be on the way to becoming a champion trainer.  It doesn't, of course, always work out that way, but that's what Simon deserves.  He had his first runner at Southwell a few days ago and my new neighbour James Ferguson did the exactly the same thing.  James has moved into Willie Musson's yard at the bottom of this street, becoming the third trainer in there since Willie retired four or five years ago, following Henry Spiller and Tom Clover.

James too has given himself a thorough grounding, having spent many years inside Sheikh Mohammed's operation, including as an assistant trainer to Charlie Appleby, while his father held a senior position in the operation; and since then working for other trainers, including Brian Meehan.  His brother Alex, a very good amateur rider who also now has a very solid background in the sport, is working for him, meaning that this too is a family operation.  Like Simon Pearce, James is more than ready to start training and is a conscientious and decent hard-worker.  You would like to hope that that Southwell meeting kicked off the careers of two very successful trainers of the future.


Unknown said...

Thanks this is really interesting I've only just discovered your blog Great to see a young Roy Rocket and I'm sure things will eventually come right for Das Kapital you've a happy yard good team, knowledge and patience

John Berry said...

Thank you for those kind words. Much appreciated.

neil kearns said...

I am going off on one again just came into watch the Haydock racing to hear they have taken four fences out due to frost still in the ground -so basically it is unfit , just wonder what is the point of having a chase with less than or close to half the fences to me equivalent of running a six furlong race over four