Good news and a perfect forecast....

Welcome to this interim blog where not only will I provide an update on Bay of Freedom but there will also be an insightful analysis of Peregrine Run’s return to action in the Grade 2 Novice chase at Ayr. But that can wait….let’s talk about Bay of Freedom first:

As loyal readers and followers will know, we left this story after he had run at Fairyhouse and was subsequently found to have serious stomach ulcers. Now when you say ‘stomach ulcers’ it sounds kind of serious but it’s difficult to relate; it’s not as if we can see inside of his stomach. Well, with the aid of modern technology, we can now see everything we need to and plenty we don’t want to. This is a link to the scope Click here if you dare

It lasts for over five minutes but you will get a pretty good idea within 60 seconds.  Can you imagine the pain he must have been in, jumping fences in that condition?

Anyway, as you know, we put him in a field with three of his equine pals for a few weeks. (note: Peter was obviously reluctant to engage in the Blind Date I had suggested in my previous blog). So there he was, in a field with mud, subsisting on a diet of a few tufts of grass and loads of hay, for six weeks; only being taken in at night. It was on my way back to Boston after Cheltenham when I went to see him. You know how people will say things like “you look well” and your immediate thoughts is “are they saying I’m fat” well they are! In fact, in Bay of Freedom’s case he may have heard  me say something like “Bay, you are looking incredibly well!” as he was as fat (or is the word ‘burly’) as I have ever seen him. I was immediately reminded of Peter’s oft repeated comment when he is out of training: “he won’t be putting any weight on; he’s too athletic and keeps himself fit” Well, he must have been too busy chatting away to his pals this time because fit, he most certainly was not!

It didn’t matter, of course, as that weight would drop once he was back in training but it was great to see him so apparently happy; so much so, that we decided to have him scoped to see if there had been any improvement. I flew back to Boston with two prevailing thoughts:

1)   I hope there’s been a bit of improvement, and

2)   I hope the vet doesn’t charge by the size of the stomach

A couple of days later, Peter called and said that he had scoped, the ulcers had all healed and that he was not in any pain. The vet was surprised at how quickly he had recovered and Peter ended by saying “let’s look at finding a race for him 

Whoa! Slow down there Mr.Fahey! Are you sure?; it’s not even been six weeks, he’s had no medication and they have gone? So Peter sent the video of the second scope and sure enough it was clear. Click here and enjoy

So, now  we know that the ulcers come on pretty quickly despite medication but that they can heal almost as quickly. It’s not unheard of as this is what happened to the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming Click here to find out 

What really struck me in this article was the trainer saying that Gastrogard (the medication we had been using to prevent ulcers) can sometimes exacerbate ulcer issues. Something to think about (although Peter may go crazy if I ask him again “should we just forget the Gastrogard?”)

He’s been back  in the yard now for just over four weeks and looks great (no…really great). He is in a field 24/7, doing some light cantering and enjoying the spring grass.  In terms of potential races, there isn’t much for when he will be ready to run (late May) but we have identified a 3 mile hurdle at Wexford on June 6th and that is the current plan. It’s a course he loves (won twice and finished 3rd in his three runs there) and it should be a good chance to get him back on the track. Peter was considering having him scoped again a few days ago and he may have done – we have not spoken since. I will update you if he has been scoped, Ber sees this and feels guilty and Peter calls me with an abject apology. More likely, he will be scoped next week. 

Now, let’s discuss what will happen in Peregrine Run’s race tomorrow. It’s a good quality race as it needs to be with a title like “ Future Champions Novice Chase” Peter and I spoke earlier this week and I convinced him that, despite the ground being soft on Monday, the forecast was great and it could be good ground by Saturday. Well, my future as a weather forecaster is now assured as the ground was good by Friday and the next 24 hours are going to be sunny and dry; the perfect conditions for Peregrine Run.

Unfortunately, it’s also the perfect conditions for the other four runners but no need to worry as he will win this race. In fairness, not everyone is of that opinion but, as I will  explain, they are wrong!

It’s a 2 1/2mile race; the perfect distance for Peregrine Run. That can’t be said of the favorite, Mia’s Storm, whose best form has been over longer differences. She certainly seems to have improved for her switching to fences but she would need to as she was rated well below Peregrine Run over hurdles.  While she won her first two chases pretty impressively, it is difficult to know what she beat. To my mind, she beat a non-stayer in her first run and then a horse who needs much softer ground in her second. Neither time was particularly fast either. Add to this the fact that the yard is in average form then a forecast Starting price of 6/4 represents little value

Bigmartre is a decent enough horse but is stepping up in distance. He is also a front-runner so that will make him a target for the other horses. If he does go off in front tomorrow, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his jockey try to control the race from the front and conserve energy.  This would suit neither Peregrine Run nor Mia’s Storm so their jockeys need to be aware of this possibility.  It might not suit Adrien Du Pont either as he pulls very hard and will be difficult to restrain if the pace is moderate: albeit he’s wearing a hood for the first time to combat that tendency. I would be a little concerned about him but the ground may not suit him quite as much as others and he also may not the bravest horse in a finish. The other horse, Cobra De Mia, seems to be up against it on all known form 

Peregrine Run will relish the conditions and the distance  and, at 3/1 (or better) is a great bet. I can see him being held up by the inimitable Roger Loughran and be produced going to the last ,alongside Adrien Du Pont, to jump past BigMartre with Mia’s Storm failing to pick up back in fourth. Peregine Run will land running and Roger will push him out to win comfortably by two lengths.  It really is as simple as that and I haven’t even mentioned the main advantage Peregrine Run has going for him; well, it’s not him exactly, it’s more Roger: Ayr has a really big, unmissable Winning Post!

After the race, cameras will pan to an exhilarated Ber doing her version of an Irish Jig in the parade ring (I have no idea if she’s going, by the way) and then Peter will be interviewed and calm will be restored.

Now, all you have to do is sit back and watch it all happen at 3.30 on Saturday afternoon (local time)