I woke up today feeling like I was already a winner; I dodged a bullet a last night. Peter called around 7pm and said he and Ber were going to a party in Dublin and did I want to go with them. It was going to be an early night. Fortunately for me (because I speak Fahey) I had just eaten and was tired so had the perfect excuse to decline. For the uninitiated, an early night means some time between midnight and 2am and a late night would mean they’re getting home around now (9am) – actually more like 7am because of the horses. Don’t get me wrong, I love Peter and Ber and enjoy their company immensely but, right now, driving the two hours to Wexford without a blinding hangover feels sooo good!
Peter was also quoted in today’s Racing Post saying the following: “It’s a big step up in class for him…we’ll be happy if he can pick up a share of the prize money” I agree in principle but would like to add one little qualifier: “a big share”
I have been reflecting on my visceral reaction to the declarations yesterday and have concluded that I need to have more confidence in Bay of Freedom. He can be a bit of an enigma and no one knows which Bay of Freedom will turn up today but, at his best, he is not without a chance; particularly when you consider that Venitien De Mai (who I would not be surprised to see as a non-runner) likes it much softer and that Tiger Roll is difficult to win with (although his overall form is way ahead of ours). I still think Domesday Book is the most likely winner but even he would like it softer and hasn’t run since April so may not be fully wound up at the start of a long season
My new racing hero is Eamonn Murphy who wrote the race preview for Irishracing.com. This was his conclusion: Course winner BAY OF FREEDOM won his sole chase to date, and as the son of a stallion that I've always liked, Heron Island, I'll take a chance on the possible improver. If I could find him on Twitter I would follow him; pretty sure that would make his day!
As regular readers will have surmised by now, it took me all day to find the one tipster who selected Bay of Freedom. That being said, he is currently best priced around the 8-1 mark and that indicates that he is not being discounted by the bookies. Obviously, had Kim been here, he would have been 5-1 and shortening but, unfortunately, work commitments prevented her from attending; work commitments in the sense that she has no vacation left this year and , for some reason, feels it more important to keep the week she’s booked off when we go to St Lucia in December.
Kevin Sexton is riding Bay of Freedom again and I hope he gives him a great ride; unfortunately, whatever happens, it will be the last time he rides him for some time. Kevin tested positive for a banned substance, cocaine, at the Galway Festival in July and will receive his punishment next week; it will be a ban of , most likely, six months. Kevin is a really good lad but has done something stupid. I have no time for drugs but am more than happy to support Kevin. He wrote a long and very brave letter to Kim and myself after the test results; which we really appreciated as it could not have been easy. He is clearly remorseful and determined to learn from this experience and, being only 21, he has the time to learn provided he is given the opportunity. Peter and Ber have been very supportive of him and it was great to see him ride a winner for Gordon Elliott yesterday and to have two more rides for him today. He is a talented rider and, as I said to him last week, Bay of Freedom is his ride so “come back and work hard and we can all move forward”. While I am not convinced today is the perfect race for us given the going and the competition, I am more than happy that Kevin has this chance to ride him before his enforced hiatus.
It’s a beautiful day here in Kildare so it should be a nice scenic drive down and, who knows, a dark but celebratory drive back. I am sure we will ride him prominently and hope that he’s is his comfort zone and they don’t go too quick for him. If he gets into a rhythm then he could well give a really good account of himself. I don’t want to say any more; check in this evening for the update.