**UPDATE** It is time to confess that it was all an April Fools joke. Not only would I not sell Bay of Freedom for 300k but, honestly, do you see me in a tweedy suit?
The Cheltenham Dream is over for Bay of Freedom….he’s been sold! I guess, technically, he still has the dream but, for me, I will have to reinvest in a few more horses and hope I can find one as good.
It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind to be quite honest. I got a phone call from Rich Ricci on Monday morning. At first, I thought it was someone trying to sell me some tweedy fashions but I soon realized it was the man himself. The conversation went like this:
RR Is that Paul Leech, owner of Bay of Freedom
ME It is. Who is this?
RR I am Rich Ricci and I am going to buy your horse
ME Really? Don’t you have people who do this sort of thing for you?
RR I do but Willie’s a bit busy at the moment putting the press away
ME He’s not for sale and he’s not French so I’m not sure why you would be interested
RR I read your blog and you named him after Anse la Liberte – that’s good enough for me
ME Me and my romantic vacations eh?
RR I am going to do what I normally do and offer twice what he’s worth. So…I will pay you 200000 Euros
ME Rich, you are a financial guy so you must know that two times 150000 is actually 300000 Euros. Come on, you haven’t been retired that long!
RR You are correct Paul. It was worth a try.
ME If I accept will you move him to Willie Mullins yard?
RR Actually, funny you ask. I was talking to that friend of yours, John McKeown, and he was saying what a great guy Peter Fahey was and asked me what I thought. I said he was a good young trainer and, when I went home and checked, it appears that I was right!
ME So he’s going to stay at Peter’s?
RR Yes I let Willie convince me that Ballycasey should run in the National, despite the fact he wouldn’t stay 3 miles in a horse box never mind 4 ½ , so it was my turn to make a decision.
ME Why Bay of Freedom?
RR Several reasons actually:
First, he automatically becomes my best bumper horse for Punchestown
Second, I saw his schooling session and I’ve never seen such a natural jumper since Vautour in the JLT
Third, he has a French name (sort of)
Fourth, I think he will look good in pink and green
ME Not so sure about the pink and green Rich but agree with the other points. You should know that I received another offer earlier today.
RR Who from?
ME Michael O’Leary at Gigginstown
RR What did he offer?
ME He offered 100000 Euros – he said they never pay more. He threw in free flights for life on Ryanair up to the value of 150000 Euros.
RR Does that include all of the additional fees?
ME You mean to check in at the airport or online , reserve a seat, carry a bag, wear glasses, a premium for travelling during the day, a premium for travelling at night – that sort of thing?
ME No it didn’t but I then got him to include it. That adds another 200000 Euros to the deal
RR Of course, you would need to actually fly on Ryanair
ME That is the dilemma Rich. I then got another offer from JP McManus. He thinks that Joseph O’Brien would look good on the horse so offered 250000 Euros. As you can see it’s been a busy couple of days.
RR So what are you going to do?
ME Well if you can throw in a couple of tweedy suits you can have him for 300k
RR Done. One more thing: how much does Peter Fahey charge?
I told him, he seemed relieved and the cheque is in the post.
I am, of course, a little conflicted about all of this but a couple of things swayed me. First of all, I avoid a family trip to Galway now and, secondly, I can take Kim on a nice vacation to somewhere with a French name, get Peter to find a few more embryonic stars and then wait for a phone call from some American guy in a hat!
Of course, the deal could be off by tomorrow so please check back on this blog. (Perhaps I should delete that comment about Galway just in case?)