That’s all that separated Shinko from 23,500 euros on Wednesday. A head and shoulders. Half a length. I keep looking at the photo thinking Ugh! But he ran very, very well considering his far outside draw and two-kilo penalty in the handicap. Did I mention he went off at 74-1? I’m sure the prognosticators very nearly had to change their underwear when it looked like he might win. He still collected 4,500 euros for his fourth place, and this also marks my first placing in the big Tierce handicaps. We’ll get one soon. Shinko made it back home Thursday morning and has apparently been eating nonstop since he got there. That bodes well for finding him another try at the Tierce in Deauville in March.
The meeting here finishes tomorrow, and Blessing Belle will have one last crack before we try to sell her on. I’m not expecting a miracle, especially since she’s back on the turf, but if she decides to participate, she might run a place. While she won’t like the ground, she will appreciate the distance, back to 2,150 meters. After that, she’ll pack her bags and head home, leaving me with Turfani and Strictly Rhythm, who head to Marseille on Monday. Turfani just made the cut; she’s number 16 in the second half of the Tierce. Both seem in good form, and Strictly’s entry looks particularly good. Now we have to hope she handles the starting gate better than last time and that the ground turns up no worse than soft. After their races Monday, we all head home. It’s been a good ride, but I’m ready.