After a great week last week, I knew this one would be tougher, and it was. Rendition ran in Maisons-Laffitte on Monday and despite the perfect condition of the track could never find her action. Now we know why: She has a metacarpal fracture, and has rebucked her shins to boot. We’ve always been very worried about her legs; she is not straight in front and she came back from her winter break having popped a total of five splints on three legs. She trained up well, but would hang when asked to accelerate. Still, her legs were cold and tight, if not the prettiest in the world. She never took a lame step and was always eager to work in the morning. The fracture is recent, but not new – she probably ran both her races with it, which tells you how amazingly stoic she is. She’ll go out to Normandy now for about three months, with the usual protocol: Blister her front legs, about three weeks on box rest, then turnout. We’ll see how she mends and hope to give her another try for the fall. Ah, the great deception: She was bought at the breeze-up sales and might turn into a decent four-year-old.
Things went slightly better for Hi Shinko at Longchamp on Tuesday. He ran another Quinte Plus race, again at a mile, but this time with an outside draw and our jockey Fabien back on board. He again went off with the longest odds on the board at 65-1. They started fast and he had to make an effort early from the outside draw (he was 16 in the gate in a field of 18), and then the pace dropped back sharply in the downhill section of the track, which he didn’t appreciate very much. A horse right next to him on the inside broke a back leg and went down; we were lucky to avoid trouble. He accelerated decently in the home stretch, but Shinko is a lazy, fat horse and once he hit the front with a line of other horses, he put the hand brake on a bit before putting in a bit more effort. It was just good enough to finish 7th – the last place with money in a Quinte Plus. All told, he ran decently, and much, much better than Compiegne. The field was much tougher this time out, too – Longchamp is our premier track and trainers send their best here. I think the mile distance is the very limit for Shinko, and I’m going to bring him back to 1,400 meters next time out, which will probably be a claimer at Longchamp on May 5. Strictly Rhythm has a race that day, too.
George, meanwhile, is packing his bags for Guernsey. His big day is May 2. He seems excited.