There is no gas or diesel in France at the moment, it seems. Those of us lucky enough to have filled up while the filling was good are still OK for a bit. The measure that is the bone of contention for strikers is supposed to pass the French Senate tomorrow, which means that things should then get better – or worse. My car is full, which means that if I don’t go anywhere between now and Sunday, I can still get to Newmarket, filling up on the English side, where they still have gas. My truck is three-quarters full. That means I should have enough to take George to his race in Deauville tomorrow, and probably get home, too, if I don’t drive as fast as I usually do.
Since I’ll have one horse in a two-horse truck, I did the neighborly thing and called up another trainer with one runner, in the race before mine. No, he said, he couldn’t come with me, because his horse won’t get in a truck. He won’t get in a trailer, really, either, but apparently this can be accomplished with skillful positioning of said trailer just in front of the horse’s box, and piling bails of straw on either side to prevent escape. This done, a Chifney bit, a couple of good-sized pushers and a broom are required to complete the task. If he’s lucky enough to get the horse on the trailer, the trainer said, racing is still far from certain, because the horse often won’t load in the starting gate, either. He was banned for a year from any races requiring a gate, which turned out to be OK, because it gave him time to recover from a fracture sustained during a previous loading experience. “Once I was stuck in Seiches sur Loire for three hours because he wouldn’t get on the trailer,” the trainer said.
So I’m hearing all this, and thinking maybe retirement would be a better option for this horse. “Ah, mais il galope un peu,” the trainer said – “Yes, but he can gallop a bit.” Further proof that training horses makes you insane, if you weren’t that way to start with.