Friday, June 20, 2008
It’s a funny old game, horse racing. Sometimes you can win races on the trot – I remember a period when my horses were averaging a win a week! – and then you can have long, long periods where you simply can’t (if you can even get one to the races in one piece) get them first across the line.
Well, since Gerolstein came into being, we and our little team have had both the faste periods and the foul. The lucky and the horribly unlucky. Most recently, alas, the latter. A whole year of drought since dear old Gipsy Moth won at Rangiora. But as of today the drought is over. We have a winner! Darling little ‘Dobby’ took out the third race at Addington tonight in really fine style.
We almost missed out on Dobby. In late 2005 a small horse, by In the Pocket out of Never Easy, arrived at Gerolstein to be broken-in and thereafter go into Wendy’s training. But Wendy had not long begun to work with the little feller when we got an alarmed call. We had a changeling. Someone had fouled up and this was not the horse we were supposed to have! So our small horse was packed off elsewhere and in exchange we got … a very much smaller one! Look, this is him, in December 2005, saying ‘are you my mummy?’ to a normal sized (male) horse!
But if ‘Dobby’ was small, and kind of babyish, he was also pretty sane and sensible, he learned his lessons well, and he showed, on his first trip to the trials, that he had the stuff of a racehorse in him. It was a qualifier at Addington. The inexperienced field went away unevenly and, on the first turn, one of them got his hoofs tangled up and fell, bringing down a couple of others. Dobby squirmed free of the fracas, but in the squirm he lost his driver. Did he stop? No fear. Dragging an empty, buckled cart, he chased, caught the field, zoomed up the inside rail to the front and raced them all the way until the last furlongs. Unfortunately, he could not count as ‘qualified’, because you do have to pass the post with a driver on.
Needless to say, he qualified in relaxed style next time out, and this season he began to race. After a couple of feet-finders, he racked up two second places, which is probably why, in a rather good-looking Addington maiden field, he went out second favourite tonight at 5-1.
It would be a fib to say that everything went right -- he put in some very messy strides at the beginning of the race, and lost the lead -- but Dex Dunn got him into a perfect place as the race wound up into the swirling fog at the straight entrance, and the wee feller accelerated splendidly in the final hundred metres to go on and win very nicely indeed.
Gerolstein is proud of you!
Oh, the changeling? Yep. He’s turned out OK, too. His name is ‘West Coast Anvil’ and he won this year’s Waikato Guineas. But me, I wouldn’t swap our wee Dobby for Phar Lap.