Dismal day in Maisons-Laffitte

Rapsodie ran dead last today – practically came over the finishing post at a trot – after one of the most dismal rides I’ve ever seen from a jockey. She would have done better on her own. I’m not saying she had a chance – it was a comeback race after a nearly a year away from the track, so all I wanted to see today was a decent run. In the hopes of learning more about the horse, I put up a jockey I’ve never used before but who had ridden her through all of the early races in her career. It turned out to be a mistake. I know we’re in trouble when the jockey turns up in the presentation ring and instead of discussing the race merely says “don’t worry, I’ve got it handled.”  This is one of the most irritating things a jockey can say to me – it tells me he has no interest in what I have to say about the horse, and no respect for me as a trainer. Rapsodie was nervous going down to the gate and then extremely fractious once loaded, so now we know that like Hard Way, she will need to load last. She broke OK, though, and was running near the back of the pack when unfortunately a horse next to her broke a back leg and was pulled up (and, very quickly I hope, put down). That was about when my jockey decided he wanted no part of the race. He put his hands down and basically let her hack canter the rest of the way around. When he came back, he complained about her in the gate, and said that cost him any chance to do a decent job with her. I disagree. It was a dismal day all around – cold, rainy and miserable, worst of all for the owners of the poor horse who broke down. You don’t see it too often here in flat racing, so it always has an impact when it happens. Nice horse, too, coming off a win. Anyway, looking at the bright side – and there always is one – Rapsodie came back fine, we learned a couple of things about her and she will improve from the race.

We now have a few days break before Skid Solo on Monday…but it needs to stop raining for that to happen. Before that, I’ll be at the breeze-up sales on Saturday at St. Cloud, and then I will guide a group tour around Longchamp on Sunday. But first, I can enjoy an easier couple of days before gearing up for what’s next.

6 Replies to “Dismal day in Maisons-Laffitte”

  1. I hate jockeys who think they know everything. We’ve had a few of them ride for us — once each. They tend to be the big-name riders who think they’re doing you a favor when they ride for a small outfit.

  2. Interestingly, I’ve used big-name guys that have been great – Peslier and Thulliez have both won for me, and they have always been consummate professionals no matter what the level of race they were riding. I find the worst results with mid-level guys who have been around for a while. The young hungry ones are OK, and the real professionals are just that. It’s the middle-of-the-road guys who sometimes think they are better than they are.

  3. Like you said, the good news is she came back all right and that race is now behind you. Good luck in the future with her and a different jockey! So, what happened with Timelord on Monday?

  4. Ah – Timelord ran really well – 7th in a tough field. He came back with a nick behind from being galloped into, but it is superficial and he may go back in a claimer in Maisons-Laffitte on May 22. I posted about his race on Facebook but forgot it on the blog!

  5. You’d have thought that with a mentor like Jonathan Pease, young Huet would have made a name for himself in the jockeys world. In the end, he’s simply below par, given the good horses he’s had to ride.
    Amongst the younger riders, if you can get youngsters Tristan Normand and Eddy Hardouin to ride, they should make a good use of the weight allowance they have. And although he’s a bit closer to the end of his career than to the beginning, Dominique Boeuf always has some relevant insights to give about his rides.
    On the other hand, I’d avoid some others, Victoire, Huet, Badel only to name a few.

    From a follower of french flat racing for the past decade.

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