We are in transition and gearing up for the winter season and Cagnes sur Mer, and that always means the semi-annual pilgrimage to my favorite Horses in Training sale in Newmarket. I got back last night, just before our first new arrival, Santarini, a three-year-old filly who had been in training with Richard Hannon. She is a nice big filly who has run a few places in England and is eligible for French premiums, so I’m sure we can have a bit of fun with her here. She is still a maiden, so it should be easy enough to find races for her. We’ll take her for a test drive tomorrow and get a better idea of how she’ll settle in.
She’ll be joined by Eternal Gift, a three-year-old colt who looks very interesting. He is being repatriated after starting his career in France and then being shipped to England, where he ran a couple of places but wasn’t good enough to prompt the owner to hang onto him. But he is a winner here, so clearly French racing suits him better than that across the pond. He also is eligible for premiums and will be targeted at Cagnes.
The sales were the usual exhausting mix of horrible weather, unhealthy (but oh so tasty) food, plenty of alcohol and the endless parade of horses accompanied by the ceaseless patter of the auctioneers. I do love the sales, though, probably most for the things one overhears: “Yes, he’s a weaver, but not a bad one.” “Oh now that ankle won’t give you a bit of trouble. He’s never taken a lame step.” “He’s just sitting on a win, you know. It’s a real shame the owner wanted to sell because I’d love to hang onto him.” “Sound as a pound, he is.”
And better, from the podium: “Make no mistake, sir, you’re going to lose him to the lady at the door…” “Sure to win, I’m told.” “Good-looking colt here, unlucky in his last start.” “C’mon, lads, don’t let him go for that!” They really do put on a show at Tattersall’s, but by the end of the second day I was hearing the auctioneers in my sleep, as usual. In any case, it’s all over now until July, so we have to get down to work.
Coming up on Monday is Milly (Surrey Story), who will have another run or two before she goes off to the breeding stock sale in December. We’re trying her back on the fibersand because the ground is so dismal everywhere. She didn’t handle the surface well in Cagnes, but she’s a different horse now and might do OK.
On Friday, I hope to debut our two unraced three-year-olds, Grey Falcon and Blue Lilac. They’re entered in the 1,600- and 2,100-meter maiden races on the fiber in Chantilly. I’m not sure who will run which race yet; I keep changing my mind over who would be best over which trip. In any case, I’ll probably end up just trying to make sure we get in, because they both need to get on with it now and we need to see them on the track before we can make any further decisions. There are the usual crowd of big-name owners and trainers entered, but we’re just there to run, so it won’t matter.
After that, Deep Ocean will go back to Chantilly, where he finished second last Saturday. The handicappers cooperated after our race in Longchamp and duly knocked us down a kilo, which allowed us to get to Chantilly with a chance. Maybe we can win it this next time. Hard Way also has an entry over 3,000 meters in Angers, but I haven’t decided whether or not he will go yet. Both of the old guys seem in decent form.
We’ve had to send King Driver out to the country to recuperate further from his tapeworm and the resulting intestinal problems. He was just not putting it behind him here yet, unfortunately, so he won’t be ready for Cagnes after all and we’ll have to forget about him until next year. I hope he makes a good recovery, but we’re still watching him very closely.
Magical Flower is also likely to be looking for a new job since she’s shown very little interest in her current employment. You’d think with the economic crisis going on she’d be motivated to hang onto the work she has, but sometimes there’s just no reasoning with horses. We will try to get her a last run, this time with blinkers, but then she is likely to be moving on. Very frustrating, because she is a beautiful filly and seems physically very well at the moment.
Gorki Park is working his way back from a mild case of shins and hopefully will be ready to try something in December. Sageburg is doing great as a sire, so it will be very fun to finally see him start his career.