Hayley’s excellent blog on Friday evening waxed lyrical about the big run from Gorse who, after a break of about two and a half months ran a cracker under an excellent ride from Franny Norton to finish second, beaten only a neck. According to Franny had he been “drawn on the other side” he would have won and we simply didn’t get the “rub of the green” (or rub of the sand as it was on the all-weather!). Fortunately his stablemate “Highly Focussed” also racing in the same ownership as Gorse did get the rub of the “green- sand” and won despite a layoff of about 280 days. Franny did the steering again and gave him a 'copy book' ride.
A cracking bay gelding who we have always thought capable of winning, he had suffered from a rare eye problem that somehow made his name “Highly Focussed” seem a bit ironic. Fortunately a good job was done by all, the specialist under whose care he made a full recovery, and the staff here at Sun Hill who went above and beyond the call of duty when they so willingly took it in turns to administer eye drops every two hours (including throughout the night) for several weeks.
Only the BHA held things up for us when they did not allow him to race for several months after he had a new procedure performed which it seems the BHA (a bit like us) had had little understanding or experience of, despite the drugs used being widely acknowledged as being “Not performance enhancing” - unless you count being able to see properly as a 'performance enhancer'. Either way it was a bit frustrating to have to wait so long. The win of course made it all worthwhile for his “wonderful” owner “Evelyn Duchess of Sutherland” whose patience and loyalty have been nothing short of amazing.
The runners got to the track in great condition it must be said, largely thanks to the water treadmill which replaced the use of our gallops for a good few days last week when the desperate cold and frost hit us hard. The yard has already used just short of 15 tonnes of grit over winter and we had struggled until Friday afternoon to get more delivered , thankfully the cold has abated for now and we hope it stays that way!
Sad day tomorrow when we kiss goodbye to a rather cranky but hugely talented filly who is heading off to the paddocks to become a very successful broodmare (that’s confidence for you!) More on her tomorrow.