In my last blog I wrote of Midnight Belle's loathing of losing and I really did mean it. There is something quite satisfying about your subject matter so obviously showing your writing to be true. Without throwing too many anthropomorphic descriptions over her; Midnight Belle is the Serena Williams of the equine world. She could be down but never out until the line has arrived. Under a fantastic ride from Felix she showed admirable tenacity to win at Wetherby on Saturday and when the subsequent second - Granville Island - came across her it only fueled her fiery fight in the finish. Strangely enough, racing and tennis could have plenty more similarities to be highlighted. They are both sports where luck in physical well being is paramount but the real underlying quality one needs is the attitude to want that win more. The mental battle is sometimes far greater than the physical and in a derivative of one of Dr Vincent O'Brien's aphorisms losing is only a temporary state that should drive you to win and glean more satisfaction in doing so. Now a seven-time winner, life will get harder for Midnight Belle but if she knew that then surely it will only drive her more - or so we hope.
Wetherby's clerk of the course Jonjo Sanderson did a great job of staging the meeting and showed a helpful confidence that the meeting would go ahead when I rang him in the week. Expectations were high and while one horse won, the vanquished had plenty of future promise. I had told Lewis' owners, Celia and Michael Baker, that he would not be running over 3 miles this season and then completely dispelled that by doing exactly the opposite. He simply did not stay and the race also perhaps came a bit too quickly after Wincanton. He will stay 3 miles one day but is probably too weak at this stage. This is coming from the man who has constantly (and unsuccessfully) tried to make Midnight Belle into a 3 miler. . .
Later in the card we finally got to run a fully fit Kaki De La Pree on his favoured soft ground. Alas it was not to be a double but there is plenty to be positive about and to work on - this is without mentioning his state of inertia at the start. 'Kaki' looked great and his jumping was awesome but Ned Stark foiled us once again. Sir Peter and Lady Gibbings have been so patient in letting us take our time with him so it would have been a fantastic graded victory but there is no margin for error at this level. However, we had a great day with each owner taking a keen interest in eachother's horse. The bottle of wine and brief dissection prior to departure at the end of a busy day was most welcome.
Having a busy week is one thing but a successful busy one is all the more satisfying. Eaton Rock was fantastic at Uttoxeter and more importantly proved me correct. I have been telling his owners (Kevin and Jen Price) that, in spite of being from a real staying chasing family and the size of Gulliver, he would win a hurdle race. He has been a real long term project for them so it was terrific to see him win so well. This is very much just the start for him. Thursday then saw Carhue Princess triumphant once again at her beloved Towcester. The ground was very testing indeed and the day mostly blizzard - themed but she did what she does; pulled like hell; jumped and kept going. For some reason she was never at the races at Leicester but made no secret of her intentions this time under a confident Ben Poste. To put it into perspective we can neatly revert back to tennis - a match between 'Eaton' and 'Carhue' would be like Ivo Karlovic taking on Justine Henin-Hardenne or perhaps in more biblical (being a Catholic ) terms David versus Goliath. I apologise for the long winded blog but like VAT it can surely only be a good pain to endure?