Thursday, July 04, 2013

The long, long, long, long wait

Now I don't want to get ahead of myself here, as I seem to be repsonsible for the most backward equine family ever to call themselves thoroughbreds, but it's been an exciting week as Jack Irish has finally started cantering.

Jack Irish with Iva on the Bury Hill canter this morning
Jack's now three and is a younger half-brother to Oscar Bernadotte, who only made his racecourse debut in a bumper in February at the age of five. A very inauspicious debut it was too, as he finished last but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it) he was injured during the race, so at least there was a reason for his disappointing performance and it was, thankfully, not a career-ending injury or worse.

Oscar's had plenty of rest since then and is currently enjoying a fortnight's break at the luxury equine spa that is the National Stud before he gets back to work in August. While he is tall(ish) and gangly, Jack is short and stocky and appears to be determined not to grow too much beyond pony size. The next in line, Delatite, appears to be taller and stockier (a good mix) while little baby Flo is just perfect in every way. Well, all foals are perfect, it's only later that they start to look disappointing.

But anyway, I refuse to be downhearted by this family's reluctance to go anywhere near a racecourse in a hurry. In the course of my enjoyable job I speak to many owner/breeders, usually after they've just enjoyed a major win, and the varying stories recounted about horses becoming promising performers after very unpromising starts is enough to keep the hope afloat for now.

Ex Con (white blaze) mid-lesson at the British Racing School
It may not be good for the bank balance but breeding horses is certainly good for a lesson in patience. Where once I had none, I now have plenty. And at least while we're in the being patient phase, we're not in the disappointed phase. Somewhere between the two, I hope there might be a glimmer of joy along the way, too.

If there's anyone out there who actually reads this blog and is wondering how Ex Con is getting on at the British Racing School, the answer is he's doing very well indeed. If reports were issued for the horses at the school then Ex Con would be a straight-A student.

Brief Goodbye followed by BRS star Our Vic
A few weeks after he left here for BRS, another of our old friends, Brief Goodbye, joined him at the school. Brief is a more testing ride than Ex Con and, at the age of 13, still looks as if he could set foot on a racecourse again tomorrow. It's been wonderful keeping up with their progress at the school, where I am delighted to say they have both proved to be very useful new members of the team.

It was also nice to hear news of Stardust Memories, a lovely daughter of Halling, who appeared in a showing class in the Royal Norfolk Show with her new owner Sam and is heading for the Newmarket in-hand show this Sunday. The show for ex-racehorses, which takes place at the Animal Health Trust, is always worth a visit if anyone's kicking around Newmarket with nothing to do that day. Purple Moon has been the show champion for the last few years and even Panto won a few rosettes there some years back. Sadly, they were green rather than red, but I don't need the judges to agree with me when it comes to Panto. I live safe in the knowledge that he's the most exquisite horse ever to walk the earth.

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