Are we sure we’re still in France?

It’s been warm and dry in most of France for far too long; we’re in the middle of a drought that has turned most of the Ile de France into a dustbowl and the turf courses are turning hard as pavement despite watering. Consequently, tracks that can are watering aggressively – and that includes Lyon, France’s second city about six hours Southwest of us. So we thought we would have four runners there Wednesday and Thursday. When we left Paris it was warm and sunny. When we got to Lyon, it was cold and pouring rain. Con Marnane was sure we made a wrong turn and ended up back in Ireland. The rain on top of the watering turned the track into a heavy mess, and our two fillies struggled on it. Golden Age finished only fifth and Rajasthani Princess was right behind her (running better, actually, than I had expected).

Since the weather was not predicted to get any better, we decided to scratch Hold That Emperor for Thursday and go ahead with Talawa. We didn’t think she’d like the ground, either (and she didn’t), but she needed the run and we had no other good entries coming up for her. Hold That Emperor, on the other hand, is a very nice colt and we didn’t want to waste a race in Lyon. Unfortunately, by declaring him a non-starter, we have to wait eight days before he can race again, so he loses what would have been an excellent back-up entry in St. Cloud next week. But there will be other chances for him. Talawa, on the other hand, will go the claiming route. Hopefully she will run better on better ground, because she was extremely unbalanced in Lyon, and also managed to chuck Fabien off on the way to the start.

We have an easy weekend now, meaning I get to go to the French Derby on Sunday and actually just enjoy the day. We’ll pick up next week with runners in Angers, St. Cloud and Maisons-Laffitte.

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