So last night I’m doing night stable quite late, because I got stuck at the St. Cloud sales longer than I had planned (thanks to my visiting Irishman getting comfy in the bar, but that’s another story…) and I’m still doing my boxes around 8 p.m. It’s light so late in summer these days it’s easy to lose track of time. So I’m picking out George’s box and I hear a mighty clatter in the street – two loose thoroughbreds, saddled, were careening up the pavement at full gallop. Valerie, my exercise rider, goes to help with the roundup. She comes back an hour later with the news: Horses caught, luckily no obvious injuries. So what happened? A trainer’s 12-year-old daughter decided to impress her friend by suggesting they saddle up a couple of horses and go for a nice relaxing trail ride. Dad was away, and since night stable had been done (for those who keep regular hours), no one was around to stop them. There are several problems with this, not the least of which is that the friend didn’t really know how to ride a horse, much necessarily a thoroughbred. The best part is that the kids were begging Valerie not to tell anyone. She informed them that people have eyes, and word would get around even if she didn’t say anything (not to mention that the horses were wearing the distinctive blue bridles for which this trainer is known). She advised them to fess up and tell Dad before Dad heard through other means. I don’t know the end of this story, but I wouldn’t want to be the kids. Or the owner of the horses that got loose…or the trainer who had to tell the owner what happened. Looking after staff, horses and owners is stressful enough in this business. Thank god I don’t have kids!
On another note, Brazil and Rose got through their races fine at Compiegne on Tuesday. Rose ran like a typically green horse that had never seen a track before, but finished respectably and will come on from this. Brazil’s race was strange for a few reasons. It was an apprentice/young jockey race, and one horse got loose and lapped the track before being caught and eventually declared a non-runner, but not before trying to reseat the jockey twice. When the race finally went off, one horse decided to stay in the stalls. This caused everyone else to think there may be a false start, so the race turned into lots of inexperienced jockeys trying desperately to stop horses that didn’t need or want to be stopped. After about 200 meters they realized there would, indeed, be a horse race today, so they rode on, but it was too late for Brazil, who had no idea what was going on. She finished respectably, and it didn’t do her any harm to be stopped from bolting off in front. She, too, will progress from this and is now ready to try something for real.
Next up: Turfani and Versaki at Longchamp on Saturday.