Our movable racing feast will move South on Saturday when Eternal Gift and King Driver race in Moulins. Everybody else seems to be in Deauville, which seems an ideal time to go elsewhere looking for winners. Eternal will run a mile handicap and try to confirm his victory at Longchamp. He should race well, because he has come on from his last race. There are two or three horses in his 12-horse field that might give him a bit of a run, but if he handles the four-hour trip down, he should run in the money.
The same goes for King Driver, who has even easier competition in his 2,200-meter handicap. He seems in great form, and if he runs anything like he did in Vichy, which he should, he could finally find the winner’s circle. The variables, of course, are the transport and the state of the track. Neither horse is a fantastic traveller, but at least the heat has broken so we won’t have that to contend with. We should get decent ground, too, barring a downpour like the one we had this week in Maisons-Laffitte, when nature chose to give us an entire two-month allotment of rain in one go.
I think King will go on any ground (not sure on that, just a feeling), but Eternal doesn’t do his best work if it’s too soft.
The rest of the yard is pretty much concentrating on getting ready for autumn, with the exception of Gold Knight and Not Bad for a Boy, who both will have races in Deauville this month if they don’t get eliminated. Hard Way and Grey Falcon did run in Chantilly at the end of July, and neither finished in the money, which was disappointing. It seems 2,400 meters over good ground is just too short for Hard Way, who can win at that distance but only if the ground is heavy. Over good ground, he needs more runway. Grey Falcon ran decently and finished 6th, just out of the frame, but he was probably done in by the heat and the fact that he’s had a good amount of racing this year. He’s now building himself back up and he’ll do some jumping before he races again in September.
Gorki Park is back from his vacation with a suntan and about 50 kilos of added weight, which is a good thing. He’s picked up training right where he left off and he should be ready by mid-September. Santarini is back and working well, and new additions Hera Eria and Greatest are coming along, too, and hopefully will run in September.
Deep Ocean, our banker, was due to retire after his race on Aug. 1, but now we’re all having second thoughts about that – especially Himself, who seems not to want to leave. So he’ll stay around in light training to see if he is up for the Quinte at Longchamp on Sept. 15. Retirement beckons soon, though, because his arthritic legs won’t last forever. He has been an absolutely fabulous horse, and loves his job, which is why he thinks he doesn’t want to give it up yet.
Meanwhile, on to Moulins!