In case you didn’t hear: Bay of Freedom did not surprise us and ran the way he did at Fairyhouse and Wexford. Peter and Ber said he looked ‘depressed’ in the stable yard when being saddled and Johnny Burke (jockey) said he even seemed to resent ging onto the track and that he didn’t jump two fences alike. He came back in a distressed condition (despite being pulled up after less than two miles) and had buckets of water thrwn over him before he walked, more like staggered, away. The discussion over a pint was that a) his ulcers had definitely come back and we would just test to confirm on Thursday morning, and b) how could we ensure he had a good retirement.
I received the expected call from Peter on Thursday morning and, as we driving back from Killarney, decided to pull over to take it; it’s a good job I did. He is completely clear of ulcers with the vet, who knows him well by now, saying it was the best he had ever looked. None of us could believe it and now it was an even bigger mystery. It must be in his head as it doesn’t seem to be physical; the only difference this time being that any stress did not manifest itself in ulcers. But it still leaves a lot of questions even if it is a mental thing:
- Why is his jumping so poor when he always used to love jumping?
- Why was he so distressed after the race?
- Why can’t he speak?
We are at a loss to know what to do and are open to anything. Our latest thinking is this: we will probably enter him at Navan on September 23rd in a Charity flat race for (very) amateur riders; the Corinthian Challenge. He won’t be plaited and we will keep it as low key as possible and try not to let him know he’s going to run. We may even take him to Clonmel next week and have him go to the stables and then just come home – we need to recondition his mind and not let him worry. I also suggested to Peter that he travel with Conor’s (Peter’s son) pony who he spends all the time in the field with; perhaps he was missing him on Wednesday. I don’t know.maybe he has taken a dislike to Paul, the driver or he associates Paul driving with going to the races. Who’s to know?
If you think any of this sounds crazy then, trust me, you have read nothing yet! We are going to bring in a Reiki expert to (literally) go over him and are reaching out to a self-proclaimed amateur horse psychiatrist to take a look at him. She is a bit like a psychic and it’s something you either believe in or not; or, in our case, have no other option than to believe in. It reminds me of a few years ago when a single thirty-something Kim was focused upon by a psychic; she had only gone along to keep her mother company. Anyway, this psychic told Kim she would meet the love of her life and would travel a lot. Well, while she’s still waiting for the first part to work out, she has, at least, been to Ireland a lot and one out of two is not bad!
If anyone reading this blog has any ideas then please respond in the comments section; as you can infer, no idea is to stupid or ridiculous for us to consider.
One final note: Vocarium, who runs on Sunday for Peter, comprehensively beat a couple of Peter’s horses in a gallop a couple of weeks ago. Last week, in his final piece of fast work, Bay of Freedom galloped really well against Vocarium. You just know that Vocariu is going to run well on Sunday, don’t you? It’s a tough race though and he is carrying plenty of weight but it would be great Anthony and Siobhan to have him run well.