Toby Coles’ diary: a sad goodbye to Littlemisssunshine

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  • Last Tuesday Sammy and I embarked on a trip with Littlemisssunshine to Lingfield, where we met my co-owner and his cousin, one of whom had come all the way down from the Borders of Scotland to watch Littlemisssunshine in a six-furlong 0-70 handicap with Liam Keniry on board. She looked a picture in the pre-parade ring with her coat gleaming, in typical sprinter style, muscles rippling.

    Things did not go to plan. Littlemisssunshine seemed to be uncomfortable from the start. However, being as tough as she is — the softest part of her is her shoes — she finished the race. It was obvious there was something amiss as, when returning to the stable yard, she looked distressed. I made the decision that it was not life-threatening and, therefore, I would get her home as quickly as possible. If any speed cameras did catch me on my return, I’ll send the bill and the points to her!

    The vet was waiting when we got back and confirmed my suspicions of a stress fracture of her pelvis. Thankfully, it is not too serious, but it has ended her racing career. She will remain in her box until deemed able to go on the walker, where she will spend four weeks before being turned out, and then start her “very promising” broodmare career, something she will undoubtedly enjoy. God help any stallion she takes a dislike to — her name, Littlemisssunshine, could not be further from the truth!

    Wednesday was a day spent consoling myself. It had come as a bitter blow to both Sammy and me as she had become part of the furniture and was our first winner.

    A bit of jumping practise

    Wednesday also saw Charlie’s Boy, a four-year-old National Hunt horse, school over fences for the first time. I did not have a lead horse for him and therefore he had no choice other than to do it by himself! He jumped the first two hurdles with gusto. The second time over the two hurdles I made the decision to kick on over the chase fences. To be honest, the feeling was rather like kicking an untried hireling into an iron gate on to the road out hunting! Thankfully, this hireling can jump. He made short work of the four chase fences before the open ditch loomed. He had jumped so well that I thought it best not to take the chance of frightening him over the open ditch. We’ll leave that for another day.

    Thursday — the first hard frost of winter (I hate the cold). Of the eight horses I have in, seven refused to get out of bed, something with which I sympathised. Cotton King and Main Beach did a little piece of work up Long Hill Grass and both pleased their trainer. After morning stables I went to my parents’ home for a good feed and to look at Rich And Reckless and Nineteensixtysix, both of whom had been at home in the field for a rest before embarking upon a winter campaign on the Flat. Much to my mother’s dismay, as I left, I told her they were going the very next day.

    Friday was a relatively relaxed day; most of it spent thumbing through the Horses in Training catalogue trying to pick out a future superstar for Coles Racing.

    Dear Maurice is placed again

    On Saturday, after a normal morning, my mother appeared. She was going to be my co-pilot to Kempton with Dear Maurice in the hold. Dear Maurice ran at 9.15pm in the six-furlong 0-75 handicap where he finished a creditable third, just lacking a burst of speed towards the finish. He will undoubtedly do better over slightly further but has now been given two sharp runs over six furlongs, which will surely have woken him up. I could not hide my slight disappointment as there is nothing worse than coming second or third. In both his starts for me he has been both bridesmaid and pageboy. I will get him to be the groom, regardless of how shy he may be to long-term commitment…

    Sunday started rather well. It was a crisp morning, with no one on the heath. The superb Sammy and I had it to ourselves apart from the odd dog walker. Despite the frost the ground was pretty perfect to gallop on. Four of them were put through their paces and went as expected. If things go as expected, it may not be a boost, but it is not a blow, so it is rather like the saying “No news is good news!”

    Sunday was the first day of viewing of the horses in training sales. It is a massive catalogue with a huge number of horses, many that are other people’s rubbish. However, there will be a couple of diamonds, and hopefully one that might slip the net!

    I was to be joined by a friend for the sales, in case we found one of these rare diamonds slipping the net. She met with a very nasty car crash on Sunday morning. An oncoming car in the middle of the road, by all accounts. One child died in the other car. My friend is alive, and conscious, but I don’t know any more. Be this a lesson to everyone at this time of year — frost, fallen leaves, and water on the road are very dangerous. Please be careful, I am sure that everyone who reads this knows at least someone who has been in a bad crash.

    Sunday ended with taking a blood sample from Cotton King. On Monday, after some light exercise Cotton King was scoped, showed a clean trachea wash and some good blood results and I declared him to run at Nottingham on Wednesday over two miles, a further step-up in trip, which should see a little improvement, I hope.

    Back up to the sales, to try and find that uncut diamond. It seems as though some others have the same methods of detection, and they have been just out of reach for me! Sammy has been an absolute super star over the past few weeks. It has been very hard work for her, as it has been sales season. It may be time to get another member of staff shortly.

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