Toby Coles’ racing diary: surviving in a cutthroat industry

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  • The week started on a little bit of a low — Cotton King had to be withdrawn from his race at Lingfield due to a small temperature. At this time of year it is quite a common occurrence because of the change in weather, temperature, and in turn a change in their coats, and with this in mind, I threw the kitchen sink at him: antibiotics. Thankfully I think we caught it in time and stopped it before it became a problem. He is now once again bursting out of his skin and will hopefully run on the 27 October, all being well. But knowing him, he might thumb the page in the veterinary handbook and pick another ailment.

    On Wednesday I was still in the deepest depths of prostituting myself at the sales. However, I was given a lifeline when I was asked to go and look at a yearling a couple of hours away, which I am to train. I just need to find someone to take on half of her. Funnily enough, I now know what Mr Cameron feels like — having gained the reins of control in these bleak economic times, survival is paramount. But surviving is one thing that humans are good at, along with killing each other.

    This yearling filly has been given the best possible start to life, and it is now down to me that she fulfils her potential. While visiting her, I saw her older half-brother to see how she may turn out. His life story sounds like one of my semi-believable ones: he was trained in France when a plane crashed into his stables. He was set on fire, ending his very promising racing career! True…

    Despite the respite of Wednesday it was back to the sales on Thursday and Friday, ending on Saturday. It was here that I once again learnt how cutthroat this industry really is. I found out on the grape vine that a horse I was hoping to train had gone to another trainer. All one can do is dust oneself down and get back into the ring.

    Forthcoming runners and a real superhorse

    On Friday Sammy and I galloped most of the yard, all of which went as expected. Littlemisssunshine runs today (Tuesday) at Lingfield, Dear Maurice on Saturday, and Cotton King on the 27th.

    Main Beach, Eastern Chariot, and Charlie’s Boy will run in the middle of November. Lycidas, the half brother to Prix de l’Opera winner Lady Marian, thinks himself to be Manchester United’s replacement for Wayne Rooney. He has a football in his stable to keep him occupied, and now shows the talents of a premier league footballer — if better educated!

    Saturday saw what was an amazing spectacle in anybody’s books. Henry Cecil’s unbeaten two-year-old Frankel stamped himself as a real superstar (see picture above). And so he should have — having been given the name Frankel he had to be a superstar. Bobby Frankel was one of the very best trainers America has seen; he trained many of Prince Khalid Abdullah’s horses to win the big races on the other side of the pond. I just hope in seventy-odd years when I have gone back to from where I came, there is another superstar running by the name of “Coles”!

    It was lovely to see Mr Cecil and his wife so happy after the victory — relief, they had been vindicated.

    Sammy’s out of luck
    Sammy had the weekend off, and how she deserved it. She has worked like a slave for me since the sales had begun, and it was beginning to tell as she was coming down with a cold. My instructions to her for her weekend off were to go to bed, and don’t get out until Monday! I think she did as she was told, as she seems vastly improved.

    However Monday mornings are not so much fun — for some reason, even though my horses get ridden every day, Monday is always interesting, as they are as fresh as can be! Just before we got onto our first lot, I saw a rather strange sight — Sammy jumping up and down on a brand new coat.

    “What on earth are you doing?” I asked.

    Her response was: “I hate new clothes, something always goes wrong!”

    Well it did; while she was riding Main Beach he slipped and fell. It was a long way to fall, as he is BIG. Watching it, it looked like a giant tree being felled in the Amazon, followed by an earthquake as he hit the floor. Thankfully both are ok, if a little sore.

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