Our Channel Island adventure paid off yesterday when DerringBay won his race, becoming the first French-trained horse to run – and win – there. The whole trip was quite an adventure, and Bay was our first international runner. He was also the first runner for our new Guernsey-based owners, and it was fantastic to see them hit the board on the first time out. The weather was a bit blustery, but the sun came out for our race, and we had a crowd topping 3,500 people on hand for the event. It is safe to say that Bay is unlikely to run in front of that many people in France! Bay also picked up the “best turned out” award.
We finished with only three runners in our race, but it still turned out to be a proper race with an exciting finish. Bay was carrying more than 10 kilos than the second-placed horse, which had already won several races and Bay was still a maiden. It turned into a match race toward the finish and the two really dueled it out, with Bay prevailing by a neck. He was ridden by Tony Proctor, who is the champion jockey in the Channel Islands and is a work rider for Sir Michael Stoute in England. I told him that Bay has a two-furlong turn of foot and hangs left, and he did the rest in great style.
It took about 12 hours stall-to-stall to get Bay to Guernsey by truck and ferry, but now that we know how to do it, I see that it could be done again. The trip home was slightly more complicated, involving a 3:30 a.m. freighter and a change of boats in Jersey, but Bay handled it all very well and is now collapsed in his box at home sleeping it off.
While I was away Hard Way ran a very disappointing race in Chantilly, but I’m still digging out and haven’t been able to find out exactly what went wrong there yet. Meanwhile, Skid goes to Longchamp on Thursday and Blessing Belle has an entry for Saturday, but the race is quite oversubscribed and we might not get in. But a little sleep is in order before I can sort out who goes where next.