It has been a fantastic few days. Obviously Variety Club’s big win made it all worthwhile. It is lovely when a plan comes together. We had the opportunity of running him four weeks earlier but I took the decision to get an extra month’s fitness into him and take our chances over the mile on the tapeta.
It is not often one has the opportunity to slap oneself on the back and say “well done”, but for once I am going to stop beating myself up and say it really was a well-executed plan that worked out beautifully. It was great to have Anton Marcus on board and, apart from maybe myself, it was an all South Africa effort. Full marks all round.
Mike de Kock and his team had an even better night with Vercingetorix and Sanshaawes. I knew we would run well after Vercingetorix’s run as he had not travelled well and had had an interrupted prep, whereas Variety Club had had a flawless prep. As I have mentioned many times before (and I am sure I sound like a stuck record) it is all about preparation into these big races.
If one has a flawless prep, it is most of the job done and this was the case last Thursday. It was a smashing evening and just the long flight home early Friday morning made it all a bit of a grind. Having said it was a grind, I could not have been in a better place than Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday for the Magnum Mile. Magnum and its associated companies are doing a fantastic job of trying to bring people back to the racecourse.
Everyone is to be applauded for all the hard work that has been done in trying to get the youngsters back onto the racecourse over the past year; whether it be L’Ormarins, J&B, Avontuur or Magnum. It was great to see the amount of people on the racecourse; the entertainment was top class and it was loads of fun and laughs along the way.
Magnum was rewarded with a top class finish in the Magnum Mile in what I think was a very decent field. It was great to have our grey bomber, King of Pain (who doesn’t eat his carrots quite as well as Variety Club but is learning) plug on gamely after being sent early at the top of the straight. It is not really his running style but I think Bernard was making sure he got the job done this time around and that is what he decided to do.
Full marks to him and a good, strong ride from what is probably one of the best pound for pound riders in the country and possibly the world. Bernard really is that good and he is a smashing bloke to have around the yard. We are having a quiet week in Cape Town this week with no mid week racing. This suits me as the paperwork is as high as the world’s tallest building. It will give me a chance to knuckle down and get my teeth into it, so it looks like no rest for the wicked here.
We will also have a stable celebration and a braai to celebrate the successes of the last few days. I have had a good many hungry and hopeful eyes looking at me through the window as the guys go about their work in the stable yard. Feature race season is coming up on the Highveld but I am not sure what or where we will have a runner.
We might aim King of Pain at something, but we will certainly have a try with Happy Forever. I must find out what his merit rating is and will have to get hold of my good friend, Andrew Fortune, who is sure to have it on the tip of his tongue. It is time to get that fat boy out and riding again as we are really missing his talents.