You cannot be serious....

After he won at Galway, Kim said that he ‘smoked them’ ; went one better saying he ‘pulverised his opponents’ in an article titled “Bay of Freedom one to watch”.

Well no one would be seeing him soon as we had decided that Bay of Freedom would have a break after his run at Galway and that was still the plan despite Bay of Freedom coming out of the race pretty well; he had been on the go, with a few stops and starts, since April.  He could now only run in a Winner’s Bumper and there weren’t many of them coming up and, anyway, it was likely to be winter ground soon and we didn’t want to run him on too soft a ground just yet.

It was good to see him relaxing that Tuesday after Galway but I had more important matters at the stables; the lariat (or what used to be called a lasoo) could finally be delivered!  Ber had tried to order a lariat for Conor (her son) for Christmas but could only find it on a US website and they wouldn’t send it to Ireland; the solution was for me to order and then bring it over from Boston. There was a Halloween event going on at the Fahey residence that day and, sure enough, Conor was in his cowboy outfit; the lariat would have worked perfectly but he would have to wait for another day (or 2 months).

I was not in a good mood. A forum member (Basil Brush – not his real name I suspect) on the Betfair Racing Forum had this to say about the Galway race (Nina is Nina Carberry who rode the 2nd horse):

That was disgraceful, clearly there was a plot for the other thing to win. Nina was absolutely cruising yet she let Katie bounce past her while Katie was clearly whipping the hell out of her horse...... The result of this race was clearly decided long before racing started today, and it was in someone’s best interest for Katies horse to win so that's what happened. Irish racing at its very worst.

A plot? A plot that does not involve the owner, trainer, jockey, stable lad or horse is not a plot; could it just be that the best horse won? Could it also just be that Basil had done his proverbial and is feeling a little upset?

Photo courtesy of Healy Racing

Photo courtesy of Healy Racing

Peter and I settled down to watch multiple re-runs of the race; he had mentioned Cheltenham very briefly after Galway but I was almost scared to mention it again; the whole idea of me having a horse capable of running at the greatest race meeting in the world, a meeting I had been going to for well over 20 years, was too much for me to contemplate.

At dinner that night with Peter and Ber we went over the race again and started talking about Cheltenham. I said it would be a dream but that I wouldn’t want to go for a day out; he would need to be good enough to run in the race. Peter said we will see when he comes back after the break but that you need a horse with stamina, with courage and the ability to relish that stiff uphill finish; certainly if he was within shouting distance at the bottom of the hill then nothing would be finishing better. It sounds serious now but I was still treating it fairly lightly that was until we got onto the subject of travelling. Peter said that it might be an idea to take him over to Wolverhampton (which, for the US audience, is in England) and stable him overnight; he wouldn’t run but it would get him used to being away for the night. Peter would take his own water, as always, and may take another horse who would actually run at the track.

This seemed to be very professional and sensible but also something that meant Peter had given this some thought; I realised that he was being really serious about aiming for Cheltenham. It was time for me to get serious:

“ How much does it cost to take a horse to England?”  I was playing for time really but I had no idea; I think Peter said about 800 Euros which I didn’t think was too bad when you take into account flight costs, stable staff wages and, of course, luxury accommodation at Wolverhampton racecourse. (The last comment is sarcastic – there is no luxury accommodation in Wolverhamption; at the racecourse or anywhere else)

Shop DJ and Owega Star enjoy a balmy Cheltenham morning

Shop DJ and Owega Star enjoy a balmy Cheltenham morning

It was funny: I honestly couldn’t work out if I was more excited or if Peter and Ber were. They’d had runners at the Festival before in Shop DJ and Owega Star and they had run well. Peter is not the sort of trainer who is going to run a horse without a chance and he is also not going to get carried away about the quality of an horse so if he thinks it’s worth a shot then I absolutely trust his opinion.

Before I could leave, Ber said she would ‘arrange’ for the trophy from Galway to be shipped to the US. Coincidentally, she had ordered an American Doll for Kate and would it be ok to have delivered to my condo and would I mind mailing it over to Ireland?; it would have been churlish to say no! It would probably have been a first as well,  as I get the sense that Ber’s charm  normally gets her what she wants.