Toby Coles’ diary: Tattersalls or the Antarctic?

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • Last Wednesday had started in a decent fashion as we reminisced about Main Beach’s, decent debut run at Lingfield the previous day. However, we were brought swiftly back to reality by the confirmation that Dear Maurice (pictured) had sustained a fracture on his last start.

    Under an ultrasound scan it was clear that there was both some old damage and new damage. He, therefore, will be sent to my parents’ home to keep Littlemisssunshine company until it is time for her to be covered and for him to return to training.

    On Wednesday evening I went for dinner with a foreign owner of mine in Newmarket. While discussing the Maginot Line and the Treaty of Versailles, we had a fun evening and I was rather late getting into my nest.

    Why didn’t Charlie’s Boy run better?

    Thursday saw what has been common of late — an ungodly early start to prepare for Charlie’s Boy’s debut run at Uttoxeter in the last race.

    After riding four lots, Sammy and I departed for the racecourse. On arrival it was clear that the weather had changed. There was a biting northerly wind and most of the National Hunt crowd were buried beneath a sea of tweed and fur. Thankfully, I had rather a large amount of the first!

    Charlie’s Boy’s owner, Mrs Hamilton, had come in force with her family and a friend to watch jockey Dominic Elsworth strut his stuff. Unfortunately, Charlie’s Boy did not run as expected and was a tailed-off last. I am still at a loss as to why this was as at home he can gallop with Main Beach, who had two days prior run a very close fourth to what looks to be a superstar in the making — Roger Charlton’s Keys.

    After a little scuffle with the vets at Uttoxeter I decided to get Charlie’s Boy home so that he could be checked out on his return. Fortunately, and unfortunately, there seems to be nothing wrong. Fortunate that nothing is wrong but unfortunate that, as yet, I can find no reason for his poor run.

    Friday saw Mrs Hamilton once again travel the length and breadth of the country, this time to see her beloved Melody Belle being galloped with an endoscope down her throat. The news was somewhat better than the day before and the filly has no problems. She will be given a short break before returning for a late spring campaign.

    Lycidas gets above himself

    My German owner appeared on Saturday morning to see his Lycidas be ridden for the third time. It was a somewhat amusing experience as Lycidas is not your usual yearling. He has the size and strength of most two-year-olds and knows it! I hope that his owner was reasonably impressed by his steed; however, if he were not, he is not the type of person to be diplomatic and I am sure would have let me know.

    Ed Walker, a good friend, who has just joined the training ranks, had the dream start to his career on Saturday afternoon. Riggins, under William Buick, won the Listed race at Kempton as Ed’s very first runner.

    My staff [Sammy and Emily] had the weekend off, so I was on my own when the bad weather struck on Sunday. The afternoon was spent perusing the fillies and mares at Tattersalls prior to the sales beginning on Monday. The sale ground would not have been out of place in Scott’s great trip to the Antarctic. I must have been wearing at least 14 layers and still felt as though I had been chilled to the bone.

    Freezing pipes and a new acquisition

    Monday was quite a busy day, with Cotton King returning for a winter campaign on the all-weather and keeping my finger on the pulse at the sales. Newmarket had been frozen over night, but not as badly as my parents’ home in Leicestershire where Littlemisssunshine’s water had to be filled from the bathroom upstairs as the pipes had frozen both outside and downstairs in the house!

    A friend of mine called in a favour in the evening as he had just bought a mare for his old headmaster and needed somewhere to stable it until the snow subsides in the Borders of Scotland and the horse can go to its new home.

    I also received a telephone call at 10.45pm at night. It’s rare that I answer the telephone this late, but it was lucky I did.

    “Toby, I think I might have just done something quite stupid. I have just bought a filly,” the voice said.

    Another friend of mine had just bought a three-year-old Azamour filly and needed a trainer. Without hesitation I offered my services and picked said beastie up from the sales at 4.35am this morning. While walking through the town with this three-year-old filly, all dressed in fluorescence, those at the gates at Tattersalls must have thought that I was trying to steal her. However, they duly let me past when I showed the appropriate paperwork.

    You may like...