Progress

It’s hard to believe it’s almost June, when the weather says November. But the yard is rolling along, and we are making big plans for the summer, in the hopes that it one day might come.

Grey Falcon has finally turned the page, and while he is still galloping quite green, the jumping in training has helped his coordination and he ran a very good second in Angers last week, beaten just a short head. It’s doubly good news considering he still has quite a bit of improving to do. We’ll keep jumping in training, and he might eventually run over hurdles because he really seems to like it and is a nice big horse, so he’s built for it. Meanwhile, though, he’ll continue on the flat. His next target is June 9 at a country meeting in Durtal, a race that might well also see Hard Way make his long-awaited comeback. There is a new series of races at various country tracks and the prize money is nice, so we’ll probably try to run a few of these. The one on June 9 is a 2,200-meter handicap, which suits both horses. The other two options for Hard Way are closer to home, but not as attractive: a mile handicap at St. Cloud, a track he loves but a distance that is really far too short, and a 2,400-meter handicap in Maisons-Laffitte, which is the right distance but the wrong track. Hard Way hates Maisons-Laffitte, so there’s really no point in bothering with it.

Gorki Park will go back to Longchamp on Wednesday where he’ll have another crack at the second division of the Quinte handicap, the same sort of race he won in St. Cloud. He gave us a scare last week when he got loose and banged himself up a bit, but he’s a tough little horse and seems, thankfully, no worse for wear. A stirrup broke when his rider was pulling him up, the saddle turned and the rest, as they say, is history. Unfortunately these kind of things happen from time to time, and we were lucky things ended up OK. Despite his handicap penalty for the win, he still will have a chance on Wednesday with a decent draw. We’ll know post positions tomorrow.

Deep Ocean is preparing to run a nice handicap on June 16, the day of the Prix de Diane at Chantilly. He’s had a tough spring season, so we’ve taken the foot off the gas a bit to have him good and ready for Chantilly, which will be a very nice race for him. Our new recruit Gold Knight did not run a great race in Chantilly in his debut for us and his new owners, Foxtrot Racing, but he’s coming on and should do fine once we get him situated. He stumbled coming out of the gate and almost landed on his nose, so we’ll have to throw that race out and look ahead. He is likely to run a handicap on June 5 here in Maisons-Laffitte. He’s still too highly rated, so even if he doesn’t finish in the money, it will do to get his rating down for better races this summer.

Eternal Gift is just about ready for his comeback after his big equipment change. He’s doing very well and I’m looking forward to having him back as a gelding. He doesn’t seem to notice that anything is missing, except that he’s finding it easier to gallop without the burden of manhood. His comeback race is likely to be June 4 in Lion d’Angers.

Two more horses are rounding out the team for summer: King Driver is back and new recruit Not Bad for a Boy has joined him. They have been in pre-training with Xavier Richard and hopefully it won’t take too long to get them up and running. We had a lot of health problems with King last year after we discovered he had picked up a tapeworm, which led to all sorts of complications. He was put away for winter and has been in light work for a few months now, and he looks very well. I had forgotten what a wonderful long stride he has. If his health doesn’t fail him this year, he should be a very interesting horse to watch. Not Bad was a very promising two-year-old in England but then had a dismal three-year-old season after gelding. He’s starting over now in France and he looks promising, too.

Now all wee need is the weather to cooperate and we’ll be in for a good summer. We’ve already started off the year very well, and I’m looking forward to continuing the good form we’ve seen so far this spring.

One Reply to “Progress”

  1. One major issue that needs addressing in horse-racing is the Anglo-Irish bias shown by the panel of handicappers who compile the World Thoroughbred Rankings and the Pattern Committee. Every year a disproportionate percentage of the racehorse population in Britain and Ireland are included in the World Thoroughbred Rankings which the Pattern Committee use as a guide. This isn’t simply a source of irritation for fans in other racing nations. It can also have a major impact on British and Irish races.

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