Deep Ocean is heading back to Lyon tomorrow to try to do the near-impossible: Win a second handicap in a row. He went up three kilos in the handicap after winning on Feb. 27, and he’ll run the same course and distance tomorrow. He likes Lyon (at least one of us does), but I had hoped he would fall into the second division, where he would stand a good chance to win again, despite the weight penalty. But we ended up in the first division, which makes things quite a bit harder. On paper, he should be fourth, but I hope he can do better than that. He is feeling in top form, so we have to hope for the best. Antoine Hamelin gets the ride this time because Fabien has other commitments in Chantilly.
It would be nice of Deep could develop an affinity for a track a little closer to home. I’m really not looking forward to tomorrow12 hours of which will be spent driving a horse box. Thankfully, somebody invented Red Bull. The stuff is evil and probably bad for your health in ways they haven’t even discovered yet, but I do find it extremely useful in extreme situations. In any case, the truck has four new tires, so we’ve got that going for us.
After Deep, our next runner will be Eternal Gift on Sunday in Amiens. This race was supposed to happen last week but got canceled because of the blizzard. Unfortunately, France Galop reopened the entries, so the race doesn’t play out nearly as sweet as it did the first time. We’ll see the final start list on Friday and have a better assessment of our chances then. I haven’t run Eternal on the turf yet, but I doubt soft ground is going to be to his liking and I’m still not sure he’s all that effective at a mile. It’s all still a learning experience with him. Gorki Park also will discover Amiens, but not until next week. His entry in the maiden there is looking pretty good, and he has started to pick up the weight he lost coming back from Cagnes.
Grey Falcon also is putting weight and muscle back on, and he is likely to tackle a handicap in Compiegne on April 6. Hard Way is coming along, too, and hopefully will be ready to defend his title at St. Cloud on the first Saturday in May, a date that has some significance for the Americans in our crowd.
King Driver has moved to Xavier Richard’s pre-training yard in Normandy, where he joins Not Bad for a Boy, our new recruit from England. Hopefully, the two of them will be back in Maisons-Laffitte in two months or so. They’ve both had a few months off, so need to build some muscle before taking on more serious training.
We’ve had some unfortunately news for Magical Flower, who injured her suspensory tendon in Cagnes. The problem is very minor, but a tendon is a tendon, and she can’t train for four months or so. Given that diagnosis, we’ll now be looking to place her as a brood mare because her pedigree is quite nice, she has good size and conformation and is now a winner, so she does have breeding value.
Santarini, meanwhile, is convalescing down south and we hope to have her back in two months or so. Meanwhile, off to Lyon…