Belle’s “rentree” went OK yesterday, but not more than that. She handled herself well, breaking nicely and settling about fifth for most of the trip, but she was hung out four wide after our jockey couldn’t find any place to tuck her in. She accelerated a bit in the stretch but not more, and she practically put the brakes on after she got a smack to go. The jockey stopped riding about 150 meters from home, so she trailed off. I do get annoyed when jockeys don’t ride to the post, even if there is no chance for a check. I’d like to see the horse get a good work, at least, instead of a bad lesson. There’s no need to hit them if there is no response and no chance, but they should at least encourage them with heels and hands to the wire. I wasn’t expecting too much more from this race, and Belle hardly blew after. The distance of 1,900 meters is too short and she needed the race after more than six months off. She seems to have come back fine physically, but as usual the race completely did her head in, and she spent the day wheeling and squealing in her box, kicking the walls and throwing in a rear now and then for good measure. She ate up last night but wasn’t interested in food today, but this is pretty normal for her. We’ll get her out tomorrow and see how she feels. If she gets back on her feed and settles down a bit, she’ll run back rather quickly down in Cagnes sur Mer in a 2,400 meter handicap that will be more to her liking. It’s a short, 10-day turnaround, but we have to kick on with her now and see if she wants to be a racehorse or not.
Belle’s stablemate Rendition came back into training today; the Oratorio filly was turned out for a couple of months after having sore shins, and she seems in good shape now. She will work with another new filly, Rue Debelleyme (I still haven’t decided how that’s pronounced) who arrived today. She is a three-year-old Slickly filly who has come in from pre-training but hasn’t yet raced.
For the moment, the list for Cagnes is Shinko, Belle and George; Turfani will stay behind for the moment to be a schoolmaster for Rendition and Rue, and Strictly Rhythm, who has started her speed work, will also stay behind for now. Both Strictly Rhythm and Turfani will come down if I can find boxes for them once I get there. If not, we’ll have to rotate them in and send other horses home. It’s very frustrating not to be able to take them all, but boxes are at a premium and I’m already lucky to have three. Plenty of other, bigger trainers didn’t get boxes or only got three, as well. Since I haven’t done the meeting before, planning for what to take and exactly when to make the move has been a challenge. I’ll try to post a sort of “Cagnes diary” on the blog as we go along – assuming I can make my computer work down there.