It’s been a long, cold day in Deauville, but a worthwhile one, because Hard Way managed to bring home a check – a small one, but a check nonetheless – for finishing 5th of 15 runners in a decent maiden race. We are really pleased with him, because he’s shown progress in every race he’s run. Maybe a little too much progress, since he’s gone from falling asleep in the gate in his first race to getting a little too agitated about it today, his third outing. He didn’t do anything too horrible, but he was prancing in place and almost rearing, so next time out we’ll ask to load him last or next to last. He jumped out a little too brilliantly and had to be settled back in the pack, but once he found his place he was relaxed and did everything right. He finished four lengths off the winner and turned in the best performance of the horses with almost no experience, so we have a lot to look forward to this spring.
Pixie didn’t have as good a trip, but it was not entirely her fault. She was running very well, and relaxed for a change, but just as Nadege asked for acceration after the final turn, a horse cut in in front of her and nearly caused a spill. Pixie probably wouldn’t have finished in the money in any case, but it was a shame to see her cut off like that. I complained to the stewards, who agreed it was a dangerous move and the jockey was called in. I don’t know what the punishment was; I’ll have to read it tomorrow in the Paris Turf like everyone else.
So now winter racing is officially over for us; Pixie will have a break in Normandy. She doesn’t run well in heavy going anyway, so there’s no point in keeping her primed up for March/April racing here. We will look to have her ready to race again in May. Hard Way stays in the yard, where he will be on the easy work list for a few weeks but ready to go again in March.
I, meanwhile, am heading down to Nice for a couple of days to see my friend Jean-Paul and thank him personally for the use of his truck. Like I needed an excuse to escape this cold. It’s no heat wave down there, but at least it’s quite a few degrees above freezing.