Turfani won the second half of the Tierce handicap in Deauville yesterday, salvaging what had been a dismal week. She survived a half-hour stewards’ inquiry, during which I think I lost about three kilos sweating, but we kept the victory. She was clearly the best horse on the day, which is what saved us. Fabien Lefebvre, a jockey I was using for the first time, got a little overzealous in going for the hole in the home stretch, and he cut off another horse. The stewards decided the horse we cut in front of wouldn’t have finished in the money (thankfully), so we kept the win. Secondly, Christophe Soumillon, who was riding the horse that finished second, took exception to the way Lefebvre moved Turfani over just after the start, and he protested. Lefebvre came out of it with a six day suspension, which he took in pretty good spirits since he kept the win.
Turfani’s great race salvaged a week of disappointments. Brazil and George ran flat on Friday, and I thought both should have had a chance. Brazil was traveling well but didn’t finish. It was a quick race, and she has a speed build and pedigree, so we will probably try her over shorter next time out. That said, she finished her mile race in Dieppe well despite not liking the heavy going, so she’s a bit of a mystery for the moment. I think she has the quality, so it’s just a matter of getting her more experience and finding the ideal trip. She is still growing and learning how to carry around her bulky muscles and needs to run. George didn’t finish well either, and Soumillon said the horse was never traveling. It certainly didn’t look like that to me, and I disagreed with pretty much everything Soumillon said in assessing the horse – that he needed more distance and possibly blinkers. He is entered in a seven-furlong handicap on the turf at Clairefontaine next week, and if he runs it won’t be with blinkers but with a different pilot.
Next up for us is Rapsodie in Vichy on Friday.