We had a frustrating time at the races over the past few days. George ran quite well at St. Cloud last week, but I had wanted to put sheepskin cheek pieces on this time to motivate him a bit more. These now need to be declared, and through various missteps didn’t get declared, so we couldn’t use them. I am convinced that kept us from getting a check. George was lying fifth on the outside for the bulk of the race, accelerated a bit in the home stretch but switched off when the going got really tough at the end and couldn’t quite hang in there. The form says we finished 9th of 18, but it was the usual cluster at the end – the photo shows 5th through 10th places separated by not even a length. Good old George has really turned into a tourist at the track these days, and I really do need to retire him. He keeps conning me into giving him one more chance. We’ll see.
On Friday, Tuna (Fortunateencounter) and Rue B (Rue Debellyme) ran in the same claimer. I wasn’t keen to run Rue B, because I’d rather have waited for something a bit easier, but the owner was keen so we went ahead. She came back lame behind, on the opposite side of a similar injury she had this spring. So the message is clear: She is retired, and will be sound for riding and even some show jumping. She is just not cut out for speed. Tuna, on the other hand, ran a great race but hung badly right in the home stretch. Since she was running left handed this time, her path took her toward the rail rather than away from it, and she cut off a horse that then fell behind her. She flew on to finish third, two lengths clear of the fourth-placed horse, but she was disqualified because of the horse falling behind her. On top of it all, she was claimed, so I finished with no horse and no prize money. It was a good deal for her owners, though. She was bought for around 5,000 euros at Tattersalls in England in July, and she was claimed for 18,000 euros, which is a tidy profit in a short time. The next sale is coming up at the end of October, so we can try to do it again.
Tomorrow, Strictly Rhythm goes to Lyon with one of the best chances of her career: We have only eight runners in a maiden over 2,400 meters on the fibersand. As usual, there is a horse from Rouget who will be the favorite; we are second choice. We’ll try to prove the handicappers wrong.