Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bitter lows after great highs

After the triumphant highs of last week's winners, we were dealt some cruel blows this week.
We had only bought Never Another in July but he had been showing plenty of promise on the gallops ahead of his debut at Market Rasen on Saturday. All was going fine as he sat in mid-division throughout the race but then at the halfway point he suddenly slowed down and pulled up and then collapsed to the ground. Sadly he had suffered a heart attack and died instantly.
It is always very upsetting to lose a horse, particularly one as exciting as he was. If it is any consolation, he wouldn't have felt a thing and we know he enjoyed his life thoroughly at our yard, Harraton Stud. It was just a freak occurrence and the first time one of my horses has passed away at the track in 13 years of training.
Never Another

I never handle a horse's death well and I would have been very emotional if I was at the track on the day. However, another unfortunate incident meant that I couldn't go. On Tuesday morning, I was doing just a routine canter aboard my regular safe ride Handheld when, at a fast canter, my stirrup leather snapped and I had no chance of keeping balance so fell off the side. With the speed we were going, my injuries could have been a lot worse than the broken collarbone and bruising that I suffered. I was very sore for a few days afterwards but am feeling a lot better everyday so hope to be back at the races in the coming days. Driving and riding will be out of the question for a while now but luckily I have a good team off staff to keep things running smoothly.

On a happier note, former stable star Spirit of Sharjah is thoroughly enjoying his new life as a pony with Richard Perham who sent me some snaps of their ride together the other day. He is only in the next village of Burwell but I doubt on the heath he ever encountered rising bridges and herds of cows as he is now! It is great to see him enjoying things and emphasises our ethos of finding all our horses a good home when they retire from racing.
Spirit of Sharjah enjoying a different view
We've got plenty of runners entered for the coming days but whether they run depends on a lot of different circumstances.
Silver Alliance and Tiger's Home are entered at Bath tomorrow but both need the forecast showers to hit the track if they are going to run. Silver has had a great season with three wins but is a bit high in the handicap as a result. He is in top form however and the track should suit his hold-up style.
Tiger hasn't gone on from her early promise but she definitely has the ability to win so we are just hoping things will drop right for her.
On Wednesday, we have a whole host of entries but likely very few runners.
Exopuntia is entered at Kempton but the race is over-subscribed so I doubt she will get a run. Bethan's race at Nottingham is heavily entered too but I hope she can squeeze into the race to have her third run and qualify for a handicap mark. Also that day is Entrance in a lady amateurs' race. She enjoys fast ground and has won at the track so things could be in her favour.
No Such Number is in at Salisbury that day too. He is versatile with regards to the ground so the uncertain weather forecast poses no worries. The race is unusual in that there will be no starting stalls to start it but the flag start shouldn't be a problem and could just perk him up a little!
Entrance (Graham) & Bestfootforward (Ross)
Last week's Brighton winner Bestfootforward has come on a tonne since her run and she is all set to run on the 8th October back at Brighton. The handicapper put her up a whopping 19lbs in the ratings but that's not such a bad thing as she was rated so low before, at least she will be able to get into a race now.

Lea Valley (Shelley) & Omega Omega (Danny)

The mornings are getting a bit chilly now as some of the horses begin their winter holidays. Bushy Glade and Honeymoon Express still have the fighting spirit in them though and let off some steam in the paddock by having a good gallop round.
Bushy Glade and Honeymoon Express

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