If I am being honest I thought I would be writing this blog having had a weekend of winners or a winner. Alas, it was not to be. I write this with a delighted frustration; an oxymoron too often used in racing. Our first proper runners of the season were always going to be ones to look forward to and it seems our beliefs we were not too far from the mark. The work companions and better ground-lovers Foxcub and Straits of Messina have been really pleasing us in all aspects of their training and we waited for a bit of rain just to take the edge of the ground. Foxcub ran a great race and it could be that he now goes chasing as he has schooled very well. It must be remembered that he won at Fontwell a year ago off a 27lb lower mark and was only just denied on Saturday so that surely shows some improvement.
Straits of Messina jumped beautifully and travelled well. He is a difficult horse to get fit as he is very stuffy so I was pleased that he didn’t show signs of needing the run. Felix was delighted with how both our horses ran in terms of fitness and how they seemed in themselves. Let’s hope it is one place better for both our horses next time as they didn’t seem to have hard races. Actually, plenty of credit must go the in-form Neil Mulholland for his placing and handling of Agapanthus.
The weekend also played host to plenty of international racing. It is also meant the ultra-ruthless French stewards wreaked havoc with some notable results; notably the admirable Cirrus Des Aigles and the impeccably bred Gleneagles. Luckily it did not detract from the main headliners who stood alone in producing the goods – and produce they did. I was delighted to see my old boss James Fanshawe go oh -so -close to having a Group 1 double with the startlingly improved Ribbons and High Jinx. High Jinx was also given a mind bogglingly good ride by Ryan Moore; evidence of a trainer doing what he does best in improving horses to the highest level and the jockey simply sublime yet again. But the main headlines will stay with Criquette Head – Maarek and the incredible Treve. Now there is a long standing dynasty with a great Arc history and enviable knowledge of their horses. Mme Head said that she was back to her best and that she certainly proved that in the best way possible to emulate Alleged. Winners eh . . . we will have to keep trying as Treve showed that the thought-to-
be vanquished still have their glory days.