As racehorse owners, we have a list of excuses.
Actually, make that a folder. Or a large book. A shelf full of them.
As I have said on these pages before, we are eternal optimists. Better days are always just around the bend.
On the darkest days, when we tail off, a furlong behind the second last horse, there is still light.
This is because we pay money to experience these joyful times. Cash, to experience crushing lows. So there has to be a reason.
Track too hard. Track too soft. Poor ride. Ride was too clever. Track bias. Goat track. Needs more distance. Can’t get the distance. Missed a crucial workout. Worked too hard. Lost a plate. Dropped the whip. Too hot. Too cold. Get the picture?
Our horse has been something of a riddle. Beautifully bred, he promised so much.
But there were problems. He was struck down by colic as a youngster. Had to have surgery. We ignored all the well-read scribblings, that they never come back the same.
He went shin sore. Twice. Lengthy stints in the paddock. Came back, and struck wet tracks. Did I mention he can’t run in the wet? And by that I mean, he is barely able to lift his wonderfully conformed legs, if there is so much as a spit on the ground.
It goes without saying that all but one of his starts have been on wet tracks. Hopeless. Guess how he went on a good surface? The most exciting win I’ve been involved with.
And there is our dilemma. He showed us something that day. Enough to make us think that we had a special one. All we needed was a dry track, and the race clubs would be lining up to woo us, ala the Mighty Mare.
That was the thinking, up until last weekend. A run so bad I find it hard to re-visit.
He jumped in front. Was placed to perfection by Ryan Wiggins. We hit the straight, and looked every inch the winner. Until, our bloke stopped as if shot, by a sniper in the stand wearing gumboots.
We ran last. Passed by horses that will do nothing in their uneventful careers.
Finally, there were no excuses. Nothing more could be said. He wasn’t a star after all.
He’s on his way to a new trainer now. No hard feelings there. We have no idea what the future holds. We don’t even know what state he’ll be running slowly in.
There could be a miracle around the corner, but I doubt it. We own a slow horse.
That lumps us in with the great majority of racehorse owners. We all dream of owning Black Caviar. But the reality is, we don’t. We own horses that struggle.
A new chapter awaits. We love this game so much, we’ll keep plugging away. Maybe with a new excuse or two. I just hope that sniper doesn’t find out where we’ve gone.