Hi Shinko won his mile handicap yesterday down here in Cagnes, giving us our first win of the year. He seemed like he had picked up a bit since his last race, and that seemed to be true. We also learned a little bit more about him, too. He likes to run with the leaders, but once he is passed, he quickly gives up. While he has a very combative nature, he’s also very lazy, so once he decides the game is up, he downs his tools pretty quickly. He got a perfect trip this time, with his old nemesis, All Ways to Rome, setting a very strong pace. But this time, rather than challenge it, Fabien settled him just off the pace and kept him there until the home stretch, when he moved him out to take the lead. He got a little lazy once he got a head in front, but Fabien kept him properly motivated to hang on and win by a head.
We nearly lost it at the head of the stretch, because when Fabien moved to shorten the reins, he got completely tangled up in Shinko’s thick and completely out of control mane. At home, Agata braids all of our runners, but I am useless at it. I tried to pull his mane yesterday morning, but he wouldn’t have it, even with the help of two other people and a twitch. None of us could believe Shinko wasn’t still a colt, because he was certainly acting like one. I’ll have to come up with some solution for next time; if he insists on being difficult I’m not above just hogging it all off with a clipper.
While I’m thrilled to win, I’m less thrilled with the two kilos he has picked up on his already-too-high handicap mark. All being well, he’ll run a condition race for amateur riders next week, and then we’ll have to start looking for claimers because I doubt he can win again off that mark.
I’ve got no more runners until next weekend, when Blessing Belle gives it another crack and Shinko comes back. Belle’s entry was touch-and-go, because she managed to get her leg tangled up in a hay net a few days ago and I wasn’t sure how much damage she had done. Belle specializes in hurting herself, but she also seems to be made of steel, because the leg now seems fine and no structural damage was done. Needless to say, I’ve given up on the idea of hay nets. Turfani and Strictly Rhythm seem to be doing well, too; both of them have entries on Feb. 16. I’m the only one dragging, at the moment. I seem to have picked up whatever cold/flu bug is going around, and I’m planning on spending what’s left of my Sunday in bed!