As we reached the end of the outstanding 2012 Flat Season, the eyes of the Racing world were firmly focused on Ascot for Champions Day (Sponsored by Frankel/Qipco). Everything that day was concentrated on that wonderful animal and he produced the goods in fantastic style, helped in no small way by one of the best pace making rides I have seen by Ian Mongan on Bullet Train.
Sat 20th for me, revolved around 2 horses. Firstly my 2 year old filly STRANGE MAGIC. After her superb debut win at Catterick, she had mixed it with the big boys and girls. Firstly in a Group 3 at Ascot, where she disappointed on ground much too quick for her and then running very respectable races in Big Sales Races at Doncaster and Redcar.
Richard Fahey and Nick Bradley from MPR had decided that a drop to 5f could help her substantially and this small field novice looked tailor made for her to regain winning ways. The ground was very testing but STRANGE MAGIC broke well and gradually wore down the field to win going away, clearly enjoying the ease in the ground.
A great start to the day as I watched from the bookies in the Members Bar at Cheltenham, where I had gone to watch MAD MOOSE'S seasonal debut in the Feature 2m 4f chase at the Showcase meeting. After Moose's tremendous win at Cheltenham last April, we had high hopes for this debut. I had been to Nigel Twiston-Davies' yard a week ago to watch Moose work up the Naunton gallops. He was in sparkling form and worked really enthusiastically.
Moose looked in fantastic condition as he walked around the paddock. Sam Twiston-Davies was very confident about his chances and we rushed up the the stand to watch the horses at the start. After quite a delay, the horses circled at the start waiting for the starter to give them the go ahead. Suddenly they were off BUT one horse was left stationary at the start as the rest of the field jumped the first. The problem with having recognisable silks is that there was no doubt that it was the Moose who hadn't started and we stood there barely watching the race with a mixture of shock and dismay, with a hint of hysterical laughter. As soon as the race finished we rushed round to the unsaddling enclosure to greet Sam, Nigel and MAD MOOSE. Sam reported that they were waiting a long time and unfortunately the starter suddenly called them forward with Moose planted and despite Sam's appeals, he let them go. Nigel was very apologetic but fortunately we have become used to the ups and downs of racing and we still have a fit, healthy horse unlike others who are sometimes not so lucky. The badly behaved MAD MOOSE will have the help of blinkers next time out, where we hope not to see a repeat performance.
Which brings us on to this weekend......
STRANGE MAGIC was in great form following her win at Catterick and Nick Bradley of Middleham Park Racing had spotted a Listed sprint at Longchamp this Sunday that could suit her on her favoured soft ground. As final decs closed on Thursday, we decided to supplement her against 6 opponents in the CRITERIUM DE VITESSE over 1000m tomorrow. This is a fantastic opportunity for our filly to gain some valuable Black type, but she will need to be at her best to get in the top three. Drawn 2, we hope that Freddie Tylicki can get her out to the rail quickly. It's proved almost impossible for me to get over to Paris, without paying more than the supplementary entry fee!! So much for cheap and easy flights abroad with Easyjet or FlyBe.
STRANGE MAGIC has had similar travel problems this morning, unable to travel by ferry due to the strong winds, she is currently on the EUROSTAR making her way through the tunnel to Paris. Hope her passage through the race is smoother.
Meanwhile MAD MOOSE runs (hopefully) in the Matalan Handicap Hurdle at Aintree tomorrow. We had considered the OLD ROAN CHASE today but Moose would have been 5lb out of the handicap and with Sam sidelined through suspension, Nigel has decided that the hurdle route would be more suitable. David England will be charged with making sure that Moose gets away with the rest of the field, everything will be crossed.
So between 12.30pm tomorrow and 1.10pm we will have another opportunity for more DREAMS AND DISASTERS!!! - Hopefully both Dreams