Toby Coles’ diary: some tough lessons learnt

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  • This past week has been one where the lessons have been rather tough. On Wednesday morning our giant, Main Beach, had developed yet another quarter crack from his gallop at Lingfield the previous day. This is not too serious but a slight setback. It has been patched and he was given an easy week and will have another one before being prepped to run on the grass, where one anticipates he will improve from his all-weather form.

    It’s never too early!

    During Wednesday luncheon I visited a little stud on the seaward side of Shadwell. This was to view two yearlings, yes yearlings, that I might have the pleasure of training in about nine months. Hopefully I have jumped to the head of the queue to train them as I have got in there very early! I was tempted to offer to take them now.

    Littlemisssunshine is in flirty form

    Littlemisssunshine (see picture) had a very important date on Thursday 3 March. Unfortunately in her eyes, this was not to be with the Lanwades Stud teaser, as both she and he had fallen in love. It was probably the first man she had seen when in season so she had an excuse and the teaser was rather taken by this temperamental pocket rocket. Rather reluctantly this piebald pony left it to the eye-catching Sir Percy. One hopes that in about eleven months and a week a Gimcrack winner will be born!

    A disappointing run — but with a reason

    After returning Littlemisssunshine to her stable, her place in the lorry was taken by Rich And Reckless on her way to her handicap debut at Wolverhampton, where she was to meet a few of her owners in anticipation of a strong run over a mile. The filly, unfortunately, was rather keen and was unable to get any cover. She travelled strongly until two furlongs to go where her run petered out rather quickly. A disappointing handicap debut and one which left me rather puzzled.

    Feeling rather deflated on the journey back, I went over the thousand things in my mind of what could and did go wrong. On Friday morning an easy explanation arose; her shins were on fire. I had probably pushed her too hard to please. She will do the same as Main Beach and be prepared for a return to the ring on the grass.

    Business advice and yard improvement

    Some very welcome business advice came on Friday from an owner’s friend and will be acted upon imminently. He returned, with my owner, the next morning to watch Brent Pelham, a four-year-old Royal Applause colt, gallop from the stalls. This was an education for both owner and horse. Brent Pelham duly jumped and pleased and the owners were understandably entertained.

    The weather over the weekend was on our side for the development of the yard. The improvements are now marching on, with the lunge pit having been finished, both walkways to the Heath surfaced, the foundations for a covered walker laid, fencing done for a sandpit and the sand delivered.

    On Saturday an owner, who is also a close friend, came to see his filly gallop on the Cambridge Road polytrack as the sun rose. Seemingly this is not the only filly he has in training as he had not even driven himself!

    Disaster strikes in the form of colic

    Monday morning had passed without too many mishaps. This was to be short-lived. Beinn Tharsuinn, a two-year-old colt bred by Tara Stud, was not having such a great day. He had not passed a dropping since coming in from exercise and was starting to colic. Simon Waterhouse, my vet, a partner at NEH (Newmarket Equine Hospital), gave him 10ml of buscopan and 10ml of bute to ease his pain, which it did for a time.

    Unfortunately, his symptoms worsened and he was summoned to hospital. After further investigation it was found that there was swelling in his small intestine. With no droppings passing this blockage, the outcome looked very bleak and with operating not being an option, he was given a 5% chance of survival. Thanks to the NEH vets and their staff, he has made it through the night and his chances of survival have increased to 50/50.

    Although we are far from out of the trees there is a shimmer of hope coming through the branches, which is entirely due to the dedication of both Simon and the staff at NEH. If we are lucky enough to get out of this horrible situation I shall have a lot to thank them for.

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