Reflections on King George Day

Congratulations to Pyledriver and his team of eternal optimists who deservedly won our foremost all aged prize yesterday. The so called analysts were immediately into their stride denigrating the performance, as invariably happens when their predictions are proven misguided. There may well be mitigating circumstances among the defeated, but consider the career of the winner – here are his starting prices and the field sizes of his victories:

50/1 (13)

14/1 (8)

18/1 (6)

10/1 (8)

8/1 (6)

6/4 (10)

18/1 (6)

These strongly suggest that he has been serially underestimated. I do not believe there is any ownership group that could not have afforded this horse when he first failed to make his yearling reserve, so he does the sport a favour, as great as the credit he reflects on connections, by illustrating that it is possible for everybody to compete at the highest level. Will racing make the capital it should out of this story?

I will not pretend that I expected the result, but the winner was undoubtedly the paddock pick in condition and composure. It is interesting that on such a hot day three of the six horses in such an important race sported red hoods. Cotton wool is obviously considered old fashioned!

Torquator Tasso, similarly dismissed by those in the bloodstock bubble as having “Fluked the Arc on a bog,” found only one too good on fast ground at Ascot, having whipped the cream on heavy at Longchamp. He, similarly relaxed and hoodless, is a light framed, smallish horse, with flat feet: not unlike his sire. Those behind him were beaten as far as he was on his disappointing seasonal debut. It is to be hoped they can show the same class and resolution if allowed to compete under “unsuitable conditions.” I was the only Englishman to book a mare to Adlerflug for four seasons, but unfortunately it did not end well. We also sent a mare to Le Havre (broodmare sire of Pyledriver,) four times hoping for a filly to keep as a prospective broodmare, but that resulted in four colts. As my friend is fond of saying: “System working perfectly, send more money!”

The main event at York returned a similar result from a similar race, in that the principals started racing very early. Sir Busker picked up the pieces and though he has only won six of his thirty five races, he is admirably consistent. It is heartening when a horse can keep producing his best after a series of honourable defeats against the best. There is every excuse for him to lose his enthusiasm, but cases such as his prove that a healthy horse can and does enjoy racing, regardless of what his partner gets up to with his “pro-cash!”

The only personal disappointment of the week was being reminded that I should have reserved the name “Ice Cold in Alex” before it was taken. The current bearer of that name is an equally tough handicapper, having made his fifty third start this week. Unaccountably he is not by Footstepsinthesand!