Thursday, July 8, 2010
All the Threes... thirty three!
They say that troubles come in gaggles. But I’ve found, in horse-racing, that so do triumphs. Twice, during my dozen years in the game, my tiny team has burst into multiple winning action – that amazing fortnight in February 2000 when Davey Crockett won thrice, and Gwen once – and, later, when Rosmarino in Australia and Il Campione and Master Ado in New Zealand all hit winning form at once, adding largely to my Triumph Total, which at the beginning of this year stood, somewhat blocked, at twenty-nine victories.
But 2010 saw me past the thirty mark, as first Elena in New Zealand, and then Tenor in France, got me back on track. And then came little homebred Seppl’s victory last week. Three wins: already, half-way into the year, an above-average season. But there was more to come, and this morning, at 7am Wightish time, all the threes came up: win number thirty-three!
Even watching from the other side of the world, on a tiny video screen, I could see that Seppl’s victory at Ashburton-upon-Addington had been what might be termed ‘comfortable’ and, although the step up from maidens to one-win class is often a pretty big one for a young horse, I was fairly confident that he would be competitive ‘up a grade’. So his run for 6th at Rangiora last week was a little less than I’d hoped for.
Today he was back at Addington. Mr Trottech the Tipster retained his confidence in the wee boy and made him second pick, but the public was less sanguine. The bookies had him at 13-1, and the tote fifth favourite at 10s. The hotpot was a frustrating beast named Maysoon, which has been belying its name on Canterbury tracks for a couple of seasons, doing more galloping than trotting, but which had recently run an impressive trial.
Once again, with no live link, I could only wait for the result: urgently wanting him to confirm his quality by coming somewhere, anywhere, and, deep inside me, just a little prepared for him to win. And win he did.
Just how comfortably he did it, in what was clearly his best run to date, I couldn’t know until the video went up on the HRNZ website, amazingly quickly after the finish.
Once again, he made his ‘trademark’ (long may it last!) fast-acceleration beginning, and he rolled straight to the front, where it is becoming obvious that he loves to be. Behind there was a certain amount of carnage in the large field, but Maysoon got away and, once things were settled, rattled round the field at -- given the falling rain and the slushy track -- a decidedly quick rate. Behind Seppl, Stephen (McNally) simply had to let her past. But if Maysoon has speed, she also (like Seppl’s mum) seems to have an aversion to corners, and when one of those came up she simply blew out of her gear and the race. Once again, Seppl was in front. And there he stayed. Round the final bend, he skipped several lengths clear of the field and he cruised to the line without Stephen having to worry him unduly. The statistics may say that he won by a neck from the strongly finishing runner-up (with 3 ¼ lengths to third), but it could undoubtedly have been more.
If I sound less thrilled and excited about this win than the little feller’s first, it actually isn’t so. But, now that we know that our Seppl is ‘up to scratch’ as a competitor in the intermediate trotting class, his successes, when they come (and I’m sure there will be more), will have less of that element of joyous and incredulous surprise that have accompanied some of my other wins. But I promise, they will be none the less welcome for all that! Just let them come! Go, go, little Seppl!