It’s been a hectic and frustrating day, with Spidello running the Tierce and George in the claimer right after it. Neither horse ran particularly well, although Spidello did better than George, who was very disappointing. George was extremely stressed before the race and our jockey said the horse’s muscles were contracted tight as cement behind the starting gate. He broke well and settled second on the rail, but had no acceleration in the straight. It’s very disappointing because he’s worked very well at home, and he needed to take a check so he could get into back into the handicaps. He is re-entered in a handicap next week, and if by chance he can get in (they’d have to split the race like they did this time and I don’t know if we’ll be so lucky twice), he’ll stay and race. If it looks like he will be eliminated, I’ll send him home and bring down Strictly Rhythm, who is set to race the 31st.
I’m still feeling a bit lost, but I’m finding out how things work little by little, and in a few more days I’ll have it sorted, I think. I rode Belle out this morning with our jockey, Fabien, on Shinko, and that did me a world of good because he gave me the orientation tour of the tracks. Fabien will ride Shinko in the Tierce on Friday, so it’s great that he can ride the work leading up to it as well. Both horses handled the environment OK, all things considered. Shinko is not a great fan of the TGV train that passes just behind the track, and as I suspected, neither horse was keen on the trotters. We were unlucky crossing the tracks leading back to the stable this morning because just at the moment we were leaving, sulkies seem to come at us from all sides. The horses whipped around toward each other and almost knocked heads trying to run away. We got them headed in the right direction eventually and had to settle for leaving the tracks at a collected dressage canter rather than walking, but nobody was hurt, which is the essential. Tomorrow will be calmer with no racing, and Friday we just have Shinko. Belle races Saturday.