Settling in

Things are finally starting to sort themselves out here. Still very much like living out of a suitcase, but that can’t be helped when your saddle room is the size of a broom closet and the hay and straw are stacked outside the boxes.

In addition to the trotters today, Shinko and Belle were faced with a storm that blew threw just as we hit the track. It started with lightening and thunder, then hail, then a downpour. By the time we got off the track, they seemed less bothered about the trotters. George, on the other hand, is completely traumatized by them and by life in general. I still don’t know if he’ll get into the handicap next week; I’ll know more on Saturday. We’ll ride him out tomorrow, if we can get him past the trotter yard (he plants himself every time he sees one).

Shinko runs the Tierce tomorrow; not a single prognosticator has given him a ghost of a chance, which is fine by me. The first question all the reporters asked me was whether I thought he was fairly placed in the handicap. I answered no, he’s not; he’s at least two kilos too high. So they assumed that I was running just to pull him and get the weight down, which is most certainly not the case. He is here to try to make money, and he will be asked to run his best tomorrow. But the reporters didn’t bother to ask that question. “Journalism hippique” in France is pretty dismal, over all.

Belle is in on Saturday, and I have to say her race seems to consist of the most dismal group of bloodstock ever to grace a racecourse, which makes it an absolutely wonderful entry. If she is on form at all, she should be in with a chance.

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