Belle and Turfani off to Deauville

Belle and Turfani shipped out tonight to Deauville; Belle runs tomorrow and Turfani on Saturday. Bad weather caused authorities to restrict movement of bigger transports this morning, and the same might be likely tomorrow morning, so they had to go tonight or stay put. It will give us a chance to get both of them out on the track for a hack tomorrow morning, which is good, since both of them were stuck walking the courtyard this morning. I decided not to bother with Bay, because the track is likely to ride on the heavy side after recent snow up there, and he’s already told us once he’s not fond of that kind of going. I’m still figuring out how I’m going to get there, but I’ll decide whether to brave the car or not tomorrow morning. Otherwise, I’ll take a train and hope for the best.

Everybody gets a check

All three runners brought home money from Deauville today: Versaki finished 2nd, George 3rd and Turfani 4th. Versaki started us off with a good run at a distance far more suited to him at 1,300 meters. George held on gamely for third in a race that was really too long, but Mathias Sautjeau rode him really well and now we have a much better idea of what we have (a good horse) than we did after the last catastrophe. Turfani was the most unlucky of the lot. She was jostled badly in the quest for position at the start but recovered to run on well. She might not have won today, but she was only a head-bob out of second as three horses hit the line at the same time. It was a nice Christmas present and all the horses came home in good shape. Champagne!

DerringBay disappoints; Turfani up next

DerringBay didn’t fire at all in Deauville yesterday, I think primarily because of the track. The grounds crew harrowed all of the overnight snow into the track, which combined with all the road salt they plowed into it last year to make muck. There was no life left to the track at all and a lot of trainers were complaining about it. Few horses looked very comfortable out there and a lot of long-shots won. I could tell DBay wasn’t liking it from about a furlong into the race. In any case, he wasn’t the same horse we saw in Lyon. Although he was working fine at home coming up to the race, it’s also possible he has fallen off form just a bit when all the heavy snow and cold moved in. We haven’t been able to train as we’d like, and I’m sure some of the horses are as miserable as we are. In any case, a thaw is predicted for tomorrow and I’m told the track in Deauville changes daily, so I’m hoping for some drainage and packing before Thursday, when Turfani lines up in a 1,900-meter handicap. She didn’t get a decent run in Lyon because of the heavy going on turf, so if the track stays as it was yesterday, I would probably not bother to go because I think she’ll hate it. But if it firms up a bit and gets a little bounce back, like it was for Tyke last week, I think she should have a good chance. In any case, I’m planning to gallop her tomorrow on the fibersand here in Maisons-Laffitte to polish her up for Thursday. Meanwhile, I’m huddling by the fire with the dogs waiting for the snow to melt.