I have taken a bit of time off blog writing to focus on what I want to do for the rest of my life; the answer, right now, is not readily apparent and so Kim and I are jetting of to fabulous St Barts for a week to celebrate our 4th Anniversary.
I have committed not to mention racing during this week and am pretty sure I can do it. My reasons are numerous but include the following:
1) Bay of Freedom is not running next week (although Peter did have half a mind on Sligo before the rains came – more on racing plans later)
2) Kim is not sure she wants to go racing all three days at Galway but she is certain to recognize my magnanimity next week so there’s still hope
3) This vacation is costing almost as much as the horse does and there is no tax write-off! Proof, if any were needed, that my wife’s happiness comes before mine. With my English complexion and a lifetime’s worth of chemo I am not allowed to sit in the sun; Kim was amazed to find out there really is a factor 85 but there is and I will be using it!
4) A week of having to talk to me will make Kim realize that the distant tapping of the keyboard is actually music to her ears and she will be desperate for me to blogging when I get home
5) I have many plans to come over to Ireland later this year
I’ve been thinking about what to expect when Bay of Freedom goes over hurdles and, to be entirely hypocritical, have decided to use Racing Post Ratings as my information /logic source. Bay of Freedom’s highest RPR last season was 124 and this puts him in the top dozen or so of Irish Bumper horses; that’s pretty good.
Most of those horses are having a break before next season but we had our break during the winter so we’ve got other plans. Not only that, Peter actually thinks Bay of Freedom comes into his own during the summer (he must take after Kim) so this is the time to make plans. So.here are the plans:
We want to run him in maiden hurdle before giving him a short break and then run at the Galway festival. Ideally, we would be looking at a 2 ½ mile maiden but, at a push, we would run him over two miles provided it was fair, galloping track. Of course, a lot depends on the weather (we don’t want it too soft) and, to get the break of about 4-5 weeks in, he would need to run by early June. The most likely options, right now, is a two mile maiden at Down Royal on the 29th May or a 2 ½ mile maiden at Punchestown on June 3rd.
If he runs at Down Royal I will do my best to be there but, if it’s Punchestown I am unlikely to be there because, and you will be shocked by this, I have decided to restart my professional brain and it’s likely I will be taking on a (short) interim position at a non-profit. I have told Peter not to worry about my availability and to run the horse wherever he’s got the best chance of winning; I truly meant it but I hope he chooses Down Royal. If I don’t go then it will be a case of waiting 10 minutes and then watching the replay on Attheraces; my only fear then is that an excited Mr. Fahey calls me within five minutes.
I don’t want to be one of those owners who tell the trainer where they can and cannot run their horses. I was watching the racing at York today and a horse won whose next race would logically be at Royal Ascot; well that’s what the trainer thought but the owner doesn’t like Ascot so that is most likely off the agenda. Peter on the other hand would love to have a horse run at Royal Ascot – don’t be surprised if it happens sooner than later. We actually talked about Ascot among many other things on the Thursday of Punchestown. Peter , Ber and I went for a quiet night in Kildare; a bite to eat and a few drinks; that’s what I thought anyway and , indeed, the eating was quick. We were still there talking at 2am and I decided we should all speak to Kim as it as 9pm in Boston and, anyway, she’d be wondering why I hadn’t called before going to bed. She probably didn’t expect to be speaking to Peter and Ber but, now at least, she is in no doubts what to expect at Galway
Peter’s horses are running well: a good second at Limerick and a 50/1 winner at Naas. Peter was called into the Stewards room afterwards to explain the improvement in form; I’ve no idea what he said but the fact that he reduced his stake by over 50% when he saw the horse was 50/1 would seem to indicate that Peter was not exactly pulling off the coup of the century. His explanation was noted by the steward which basically means that he had better perform just as well next time or else!
Back to his next race: Bay of Freedom has been 100/1 and 50/1 in his last two races and, while he performed better than those odds would have suggested they were still a bit of an insult. I would expect him to start favorite or almost favorite in his maiden hurdle; let’s put it this way: if he’s 50/1 again then we really have chosen the wrong race!
There’s a 2 ½ mile novice hurdle on the Thursday of Galway which would suit him if he performs well in his next race. He wouldn’t run in between and we would go to Galway knowing he likes the course having won there last October.
Watch out for a couple of Bay of Freedom’s previous adversaries Haddington Road and Mr. Picotee over the weekend. I will be avoiding the racing but may have to sneak a look at the Sunderland-Leicester game – hope the Foxes can complete the miraculous escape!!