We entered last week optimistic. We had some good chances at the track, the horses in the yard are in form, and Gina had just returned from a successful trip to Royal Ascot.
Things, however, started to unravel mid-week. Mr Chuckles – Arcano and Caribbean Escape (Pivotal) – who is in peak form, was entered in a handicap in Maisons-Laffitte, only to be eliminated from that race. A new entry was found for the following week, but that one started to look complicated for him, so he will have to wait a few more weeks before running again.
Gina, hesitant to run at Longchamp for what are known problems with the track (unevenness of the ground that was not properly maintained during construction the last two years), decided to forge ahead there and so we went to France Galop’s Thursday night after-work meeting, Jeuxdi, a nice play on French words and marketing effort that did actually succeed in getting a younger public to the racetrack, albeit most of them were nowhere near the racing and unaware that it was taking place.
Ray of Hope – Layman and Risque de Verglas (Verglas) – ran that night, his second race after more than a year off to repair a hind-leg fracture. The jockey who was supposed to ride, Mickael Forest, couldn’t make it because his flight was canceled. With much deliberation on the way to Longchamp, Gina reflected on her options of available jockeys. We weren’t sure that the rules of racing would allow the one she chose to ride, Mickaelle Michel, to take the ride. In the end, the stewards deliberated and she saddled up and did a fine job on such short notice.
Ray looked perfect, and seemed ready to race, but didn’t fire in the stretch. He will try again next week in Deauville on the surface that he prefers, fibersand.
Saturday we headed back to Longchamp to try and get our first results at the new ParisLongchamp, which reopened in April after two years of work to install new grandstands. This day we arrived with Eternal Gift – Layman and Get The Ring (Linamix) – who has won at Longchamp and Grey Sensation – Aussie Rules and Sensasse (Imperial Ballet). Eternal Gift was not the horse that we saw a couple of times earlier this year. Gina had this to say the following day:
Eternal Gift has earned his retirement. I’ll never forget pulling him out of the box in Newmarket all those years ago (2012!) and what a stunning horse he was. He still is, but it’s now time for a second career. He’s won four races and placed 27 times in 65 races, and given many good memories to four different owners, particularly to Clément Rollin who has looked after him for nearly five years now. Ponito, as he’s known around here, will give someone many years of enjoyment to come. He retires with no health issues, four good legs and a kind heart. We’re looking for his next home, but we will take as much time as we need to find the right one!
The second runner Saturday was the standard-bearer of the High Street Racing syndicate, Grey Sensation. Like Ray earlier in the week, we went into the race expecting good results, but this time with a cheering block as several High Street members showed up for the event.
Grey looked every bit the part, but like Ray of Hope on Monday, simply didn’t fire in the stretch. Mickael Forest felt that the unevenness of the surface didn’t help so we’ll send him out again on a track that we know will suit him better.
We hope that we’ll have a winner at ParisLongchamp soon, but we’ll wait a while for the surface to get sorted out before returning to this track. We have other options.
So, what was supposed to be a good week for Ecurie Rarick, didn’t quite end up that way. But as the old saying goes, “That’s racing”.