Toby Coles’ diary: Charlie’s Boy is off to pastures new

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  • Last Tuesday was one of those mornings where we had rather a lot going on, probably most importantly a visit from the vet regarding Charlie’s Boy. He was to gallop with an endoscope down his throat to see if we could come up with an excuse for his lacklustre attempts at the racecourse. His owner, Mrs Hamilton, was in attendance for the excursion, and Sam Hoskins, the owner of “Nelly The Elephant” (Keyaza, a four-year-old Azamour filly) joined in the fun.

    Nelly The Elephant seems to be going the right way; we might even show her the racecourse sometime during Cheltenham week. However, one cannot say the same for poor old Charlie’s Boy. Unfortunately, we could not find an excuse and, therefore, it would be pointless to put him under the knife or even carry on. So he has today made the journey to the depths of Gloucestershire to learn another trade. Knowing that he jumps like a buck (we school most of the horses before they run), he will surely find his calling.

    The irresistible rise of Cotton King

    Cotton King, a now-beloved favourite of both Mrs Hamilton and us in the yard, was put up a further 8lbs for his romp the previous week at Wolverhampton. A total of 17lbs in eight days. Having spoken to Sir Mark Prescott, he suggested we should feel very well done by as he would have put us up 14lbs for his last win alone! A far cry from his first gallop when it was suggested that we did not ever show him the racecourse… Let’s just hope that he can keep improving and, if we are lucky, be the horse to put us on the map.

    A borrowed birthday present

    It was my birthday the previous week, and probably one of the best presents was from my accountant in the form of lending me her Equissage machine, something I could not yet afford myself as it is a luxury rather than a necessity. It now tops off the fine equine spa that Coles Racing has become. Their effect is arguable, but I like them. It can do no harm and my horses seem relaxed after it has been on. In Flat racing we are dealing with such minute variables making huge differences; this is surely something which will help us out.

    Times are tough but it’s better to be honest about horses

    Wednesday was the first day one started to feel the effect of the past Labour government; 20% VAT does hurt! The VAT bill was duly paid, even if grinning through gritted teeth. Times are a little financially tough at the moment as we have got rid of half the yard as they were lacking the ability to do either their owners or us in Coles Racing any justice. It has, however, left us with a yard of horses which have the ability to win their training fees back, if everything goes to plan and with a little bit of Lady Luck on our side.

    I have had some flack for getting rid of quite so many horses from friends and people who are slightly concerned about my precarious financial situation and I have sometimes questioned it myself! However, the ruthless stance which we have employed may make things a little tough in the imminent future, but in the long run one has to tell oneself it will pay off. I think one of the most important things is to be known as fair, honest and ruthless when needs be.

    Two on the tightrope

    This past weekend has been one of walking along a tightrope with a couple of the horses. Unfortunately, we seem to have slipped from the rope with one but, hopefully, caught ourselves on the way down. Our smart two-year-old filly was seen to be slightly lame on Sunday and the vet confirmed a possible very slight stress fracture. This is quite a common occurrence in many two-year-olds and thankfully the prognosis is good and we hope to be back in the swing with her in a few weeks. Nature has a wonderful way of putting the brakes on when a little more time is needed.

    The other horse doing the tightrope walk was my mother’s beloved Main Beach. He was not on the best of terms with the starters and had been summoned for a test. He is mammoth and particularly hard to train as he has both the size and temperament of his father, Starcraft, and has the feet and fragility of his American-bred mother, Ocean View.

    This 580kg beast was taken to Lingfield where he was met by the son of father-and-son team Witheford, who are renowned worldwide for their ability to coax even the most difficult of equine charges into the stalls. Luckily our tame giant decided not to throw too much of a strop and passed the test. To kill two birds with one stone Main Beach was given a racecourse gallop. If accosted by an authority, “I could not stop him, Sir!” would have been the words uttered.

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