Toby Coles’ racing diary: Nelly The Elephant wins!

  • 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
  • This past week has been very busy, extremely tough and also jubilant.

    The week began with Littlemisssunshine (pictured right) being scanned to check whether she had ovulated after her covering. She had, and will be checked again later in the month.

    There was also good news from the vets. If you can remember from last week’s episode we finished on Beinn Tharsuinn having only a 5% chance of survival. Once again my thanks must go to Simon Waterhouse and the team at Newmarket Equine Hospital as Beinn Tharsuinn is now home and has been given a bill of fit health. It has been commented on that this two-year-old colt by Balmont has the constitution of an iron bar. To be honest, it is a miracle that he is still alive.

    On Wednesday morning Cotton King, our stable champion, was to give one of Ed Walker’s horses a helping hand in a gallop. However, Cotton King did not approve of this arrangement and in hindsight was showing signs of being over the top. I had just thought it part of his quirky character. In the evening we scoped and took blood from him, just to make sure that there was nothing amiss. The results came back on Thursday morning. He was – in veterinary terms – perfect.

    Celebrating an epic day’s hunting

    Thursday evening was one of great interest and one fairly close to my heart. My surrogate godfather, Robin Smith-Ryland, had organised a centennial dinner for Frank Freeman’s famous hunt with the Pytchley hounds crossing most of the Grafton country, the Badby Wood Run. There were descendants of both Lord Annaly, the master at the time, and Frank Freeman, who hunted the hounds.

    A century ago professional huntsmen were the football stars of their day and Mr Freeman would have probably put Wayne Rooney or David Beckham into the shade with his popularity. The evening was a great success as it had drawn people from all over the country, including some of the best hunt servants in today’s scene.

    Cotton King is over the top

    After Cotton King had been given the all clear from the vets we took our chance in a Class 4 1 mile 6 furlongs race at Wolverhampton on Saturday. He was, from the offset, too keen, a typical sign of being over the top, and finished a laborious last. This is nothing to do with the horse but a failure on the trainer’s part to heed to his warnings. The lesson has duly been learnt. Cotton King is going for a well-deserved break before returning for a late summer campaign on the grass.

    My poor parents!

    Sunday brought with it a bolt from the blue. The owner of one of my nicer two-year-old colts telephoned, and due to circumstances outside my control, said that he was unhappy.

    On Monday my parents arrived to give me a proper luncheon before the onset of a tricky week. They did somewhat bear the brunt of my temper as every bit of grief and pressure my owner had given me, I re-laid twice as hard on my parents (well, what else are they for!) However, even I did feel a little sorry for them as I had been positively vile.

    Some senior members of the foxhunting world turned out in force on Tuesday morning to see Brent Pelham, possibly the most viewed charge in Newmarket!

    On Wednesday morning I received a text informing me that Amoure Medici was being picked up by another Newmarket trainer. The frustration was paramount as the reason behind the horse’s departure was nothing to do with me. But there was nothing for it except to dust oneself off and keep going. The person who I felt really sorry for was the unwavering Sammy, as this striking Medicean colt had been her ride since arriving in the yard.

    Go Nelly, go!
    On a brighter note, it was Keyaza’s day to meet with destiny. As the papers had described she was the pick on paper, being out of a Yorkshire Oaks winner, and half-sister to a Grade One hurdle winner. She is somewhat rather large, well super-model-like really. She has long legs and a long neck. This does not sound very becoming but in fact she is well-proportioned. The young Trevor Whelan had the ride and was particularly understanding of his orders and courteous with my owners.

    “Nelly The Elephant”, as she is slightly unkindly known, was rather green to post and slightly keen in the early stages of the race, but Mr Whelan settled her well and rode to instructions. Coming off the bend into the home straight he found himself an ever-increasing four lengths clear. Nelly The Elephant had won her first start by an easy twelve lengths. Maybe she won’t be packing her bag just yet!

    As one friend suggested, it is 363 days until next year’s Cheltenham… We can but dream.

    You may like...