...it will be 3 weeks since we had a runner when we finally swing back into action this weekend, frustrating when we have 7 horses primed and ready to go but it has been astonishingly dry and as a result the ground has been very firm. All being well the watering will have done its job though this weekend at Corbridge; Almost Blue and Foodbroker Founder will hopefully line up on Sunday afternoon, both are in great form and put up career best efforts last time out so fingers crossed, thereafter we have 3 nice horses to run at the Perth Festival next week where I am sure there will be nice ground.
With an absence of racing opportunities I took the opportunity to nip over to my beloved Murren for a couple of days skiing in the week running up to Easter; the advantages of being fairly stout came into play when I collided with an unfortunate Mancunian at full speed on part of the famous "Inferno" run, whilst we both had the wipeout of a lifetime and I am still nursing a sore shoulder he was rather more immediately inconvenienced by regurgitating on impact the spinach soup he had just had for lunch which upset him somewhat, fortunately my "bratwurst mit katoffelsalat" was rather more solid and remained in situ.
We were in need of a diversion with Northern Dusk having to be euthanased during Aintree week. Apart from the pain of losing a lovely horse that had become a real friend it is a major strategic blow to a small yard like ours.
In the summer of 07 a very good friend had indicated that she would like a share in a good long term National Hunt prospect and with a decent budget in hand we headed off to Doncaster Sales, we drew a blank and then headed to the Newmarket Horses in Training Sales where we again drew a blank. By this time we had the irrascible Irish bloodstock agent, Gerry Griffin, in tow and he set about finding us something privately in Ireland. I was laid up with my broken hip when he called having found this good prospect down in Co Wexford, unable to travel we had to take his word for it and in early December he arrived at Kinneston. He wasn't the most impressive horse when I first saw him and having only just been backed he had a few behavioural issues as well and he was clearly going to need a bit of time.
We gave him just that and over the next fifteen months he gradually learnt his job, stopped galloping like a kangaroo and overcame his phobia of being near other horses. What was really exciting about him though was his acceleration, the first time we asked him to quicken I was left with my mouth hanging open and after that every time we gave him a little squeeze to see what would happen the power that he showed would literally make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up; he kept me awake at night. As well as that he grew into himself, developing a self-belief that translated itself into his whole demeanour - he knew he was good.
After one or two false starts we eventually arrived at the racecourse on Friday 20th March this year and trainer was definitely nervous, I didn't expect him to win as I knew there was plenty still to work on, he would be green and there would be limitless improvement to come. He ran a brilliant race but faded slightly in the closing stages and as soon as he eased up I could see there was a problem. The rest, as they say, is history, but he was well looked after in Hospital and seemed content when I visited him. Having initially diagnosed a fractured pastern further investigation revealed multiple fractures in his knee, at the end of the day his legs weren't strong enough for his heart and I am afraid to say that to succeed as a good racehorse they need to be. It is disappointing for me and a big blow for the owners but most of all I feel for all those in the yard here that looked after him so well and turned him from the slightly plain nervous animal that came off the lorry from Ireland into a good-looking racehorse with real presence and talent.