We had another somewhat successful day in Deauville on Christmas eve, with Eternal Gift running fourth in a “D” race, and acting like the horse I had hoped to see first time out. He is a very nice colt with plenty of speed, but he is a bit lazy, and I’d been telling him all week that unless he showed us something, he’d have a Christmas Day rendezvous with the vet to relieve him of the burden of manhood. Apparently, he got the message, because he did show us a bit of style on Monday. We’ll have to be careful with his handicap mark, and I’m not sure if he’ll run again in Deauville or go directly to Cagnes sur Mer.
Deep Ocean finished only fifth, squeaking into money in a race he should have won. It was very frustrating, but it turned out my worries about drawing the No. 1 gate hole were completely justified. It was a strange race, with five horses setting the pace in a line and then everyone lined up two-by-two, like a nightmare Noah’s arc, behind them. Deep found himself 20 lengths off the pace coming into the stretch, so he did remarkably well to take a check. It was really too bad he got such a bad trip, though, because he seems very in form at the moment. I would like to get him straight out again, but there is very little choice. The next really good race for him isn’t until the end of January in Cagnes, and I really don’t want to wait that long since he’s well now. So that means I may have to race him against Hard Way on Jan. 4 over a trip of 2,400 meters. He’s run that distance before, but he’s best at 2,000. Hard Way, on the other hand, is a specialist at the longer trip and I’d think Hard Way would certainly beat Deep; they are practically identical in the ratings so they’d carry the same weight, give or take a half kilo.
Magical Flower ran the gentleman rider’s handicap, and it was a predictable catastrophe. I couldn’t put up the rider I wanted because she had too light a weight, and I ended up with someone who couldn’t really do the job of getting her out front at any point in the race. So she did what she does, which is chat with her friends and stretch her legs a bit. I really do need to move her on, but since she’s here and fit, I’ll keep trying to get her into some sort of race before she goes off to do some jumping.
We should have a few more runners in Deauville before we head down to Cagnes. Hard Way, as mentioned, will run his handicap on Jan. 4 and they he is definitely off on vacation because he can’t go to Cagnes. Deep, I hope, gets in the same day, and Gorki Park is likely to have another go on Jan. 4, too. He’s entered in a 1,500-meter maiden that will be too short for him, but he needs another lesson before he goes to Cagnes. There is a better race for him in Deauville on Jan. 12, but he’ll have to take the transport south two days later, and I want to give him time to recover from his race before he gets the stress of the trip. There will be plenty for him to do down south, and I want him in top form for the task.
Blue Lilac also hopefully will debut soon, although the race I had targeted for her on Jan. 5 might be too hot and we may have to wait, yet again. Grey Falcon is in great form after his efforts, but I’ll probably keep him ticking over until Cagnes without another run in Deauville. That leaves Santarini, who should have one run for us in Deauville before Cagnes but I’m not sure if that will happen or not. She is a huge, huge filly, and it’s been a little difficult to get all the parts working together at the same time…and she’s also excluded from most races because she hasn’t won enough money AND she’s come from England, so she has two regulatory hurdles to overcome before we get a better choice of races. So once she’s right physically, I’m hoping the stars will align and we’ll get a race.