It ends how it started

I ended up in the Concorde after the last day of racing here, and fittingly, there was a spectacular bar fight that topped the one on the first night. This time, a certain trainer dramatically and publicly broke up with his partner, blows were thrown, names were called and everyone was thrown out, but not without a fight. The two continued to fight all the way across the street to the track, where one climbed the fence after the other, spewing insults all the way. My English friends and I had ringside seats two tables away.

On a calmer note, Blessing Belle was my last runner here, and she ran an uninspired eighth. We’re throwing in the towel on her now – she’s had a good chance down here, but doesn’t seem interested in racing. She is sound, easy to ride and jumps, so my objective when I get home is to place her elsewhere as soon as possible. She can either go hurdling, where she is likely to make some money, or be a decent show jumper/eventer. She is a big, good-looking horse and there’s nothing wrong with her, except her attitude.

The past 24 hours here have seen a steady parade of horse trucks loading and leaving. Turfani and Strictly Rhythm are among the last horses here, and the last two on our yard. I think they’re wondering what’s happening and where all their friends went. In any case, they were both quite happy to see me for night stable tonight, to reassure them that they haven’t been forgotten! I’ll load them at 7 tomorrow morning for the two-hour ride to Marseille. Strictly runs in the third race and Turfani the sixth. If the ground is not too soft, they both should have good chances. It will be Turfani’s last race before she heads off to be a brood mare, so I’d like to see her do well. She is a really wonderful horse, and she deserves to go out in style.

I’m spending the night packing, because there will be very little time tomorrow morning. I’ve got to get to Marseille before the horses so I’m there for unloading. It has certainly been a long strange trip, and I’m ready to go home. I’m very glad we did this, and I have learned a lot for next year. We answered the question on Belle, gave Strictly a great foundation for her season, finished up Turfan’s career and got to see Shinko flourish. I have one win and two places from 11 starts in Cagnes. Not horrible, but I can improve that if I do this again. For now, on to Marseille.

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