So…here’s a surprise for you: Bay of Freedom is making a quick return to the track on Sunday and will be running in the Corinthian Challenge at Navan. It’s a Charity race for (very) amateur riders (you know..those with the er…Corinthian spirit). Here’s a link to the web site: https://corinthianchallenge.com. There are 17 riders listed on the site but only 14 horses are runnng in the race; Bay will be ridden by David Christie. Peter and I did discuss running him in this race last week and he was keen to get David on board so that has worked out well. Kim and I decided to sponsor David; he will need a lot more than we gave to get to his 9000 euro target!
So, as regular readers, you must be asking “ what are going to do differently?” The answer is, in nor particular order:
1) Leave off the noseband
2) Do not plait him
3) Take him to the races with Conor’s (Peter’s son) pony
4) Get him in the paddock as late as possible
5) I will be staying in America for this one
Peter says he is in fantastic form. That’s right: exactly the same fantastic form he was in before his Listowel run. We are doing our best here but we have no idea what to expect. My best guess is that he will struggle again but there is a big part of me really hoping that he gives David a great ride. One and a half miles around Navan, particularly if it gets the forecast rain, will be like 2 miles anywhere else and that would give him a chance. Let’s put it this way: his Cheltenham Bumper form and his work at home would give him every chance in this race.
Kim and I are off to deepest Connecticut on Sunday to watch our nephew play football (the American variety). That games starts at 11am and I am hoping it will be over by the time the race is available as a replay on the Attheraces mobile site (he’s only 11 so the games don’t last three hours). I would imagine that will be at 1pm (the race is at 5.45pm Ireland; 12.45 US East Coast). I will be keen to watch and then give Peter a call to see how he is; it will be the first time I won’t have seen him racing live and only the second time I won’t have been at the track to watch him run. However, returning to Ireland only a week after leaving, for an Amateur race, would probably be crazy, even for me.
And, anyway, who wants to turn up when the party is just finishing? What party? Well the ‘Hamley winning party’ after the eponymous horse stayed on well to win the concluding race at the ICW (Irish Champions Weekend); a premier handicap with 150000 Euros of prize money. This must be the most valuable race Peter has ever won and when I spoke to him on Wednesday he was still in the bar. Not only that, he withdrew every horse he had entered between Monday and Thursday; coincidence? I think not! In fairness, that may not be strictly true (the bar part) but it sure as anything felt like it and I have no doubt that Ber was not exactly holding back in her celebrations; and why not? You have to enjoy it on the few times it happens – great job guys!
There will be no such scenes if Bay of Freedom wins on Sunday. More a muted scratching of heads and a general “ok..so what made the difference?” I just want him to enjoy it and convince himself that he’s just having a gallop on the Curragh. He’s not a betting proposition but it will be interesting.
So….it appears he’s a general 5/1 3rd favourite for the race tomorrow; are people crazy? This is what happens: people who have seen him at his best refuse to believe he is running as badly as he really is. I then allow these crazy people to influence me and I start believing that he has a chance; well..not this time. I am not going to look at any selections, any betting or any comments before the race.
Who am I kidding???? Of course I will! This is just not fair!
Updates to follow………