One of the jobs I really hate doing is deleting a horse from our 'in training' list on the website. Today I had to remove Karma Chameleon (right), as he is now on his way to be trained in Dubai, where his owners, the members of EERC, all reside.
Of course before we get too maudlin about it, the reason he's going to Dubai is that he did so well through the winter, winning four races on the bounce from this stable, that he is now suitably highly-rated to go to race overseas. It was a privilege to have him here and we can look forward to monitoring his progress throughout next winter.
He's a small, neat horse with a very quiet personality. On first glance he perhaps doesn't look like the most obvious racehorse, but looks can be deceptive, and what he lacks in stature he makes up for by being not only very sound but also incredibly genuine and straightforward. I really can't speak highly enough of this handsome little son of Haafhd.
I said goodbye to him early on Friday before leaving for the Oaks, and of course I wasn't able to stop myself crying as I gave him a handful of carrots. By Friday night he was en route to Dubai. I hope he's arrived there safely and that he continues to be a real little trouper for his owners. We'll miss him terribly.
Regular followers of this blog and the website will perhaps have picked up on tales of Ruby In The Dust (pictured here with Ex Con) over the years.
She's been here since she was a yearling, barring various holidays at Golden Vale Stud in Ireland and at Manor Farm Stud in Kent, and now, at the age of five, she appears to be ready to make her debut in a bumper. We're hoping that might be next week, but to say too much more might be to tempt fate.
She too is a small horse but appears to be coping very well with her training at the moment so let's hope she gets to the racecourse in one piece and has the chance to show us whether or not she is indeed a racehorse. I'm extremely fond of her, having known her since she was only a few days old, and I was also immensely fond of her sire, Doyen.
I remember very clearly just how tremendous he looked the day he won the King George. It's an image that sticks in my mind just as clearly as Montjeu winning that same race a few years earlier.
Certain racehorses get under your skin and for that reason alone you long for them also to be good stallions. Doyen has not excelled as one would have hoped, though he is being offered a shot at becoming a jumps stallion at his new home at Sunnyhill Stud, but Montjeu can do no wrong in my eyes.
In the modern era his record as a Derby sire is matchless, so for those of us who still believe that the Derby is the most important race in the world, he can only be considered as a truly great stallion, especially when comparing his books of mares to that of his stable-mate Galileo, who has been afforded many more chances than Montjeu over the years.
It's not exaggerating to say that I felt sick when I received a text message while on holiday in Australia in March telling me that Montjeu had died. He's probably one of the first horses to have converted me from a jump-racing fan to one who swings both ways, with a particular passion for Flat pedigrees. He was an outstanding racehorse and we don't need the benefit of historical hindsight to tell us that he was a great stallion. We know that already, and the signs were there right from his first crop when Motivator won the Derby, Scorpion won the St Leger and Hurricane Run won the Irish Derby and the Arc.
I was fortunate enough to see him at Coolmore in September 2010 (above), along with his sire Sadler's Wells, and I can only hope that the box he has left vacant in the stallion yard will be filled by his son Camelot when he becomes the first Triple Crown winner since another Ballydoyle great, Nijinsky.