Toby Coles’ diary: tricky situations all round

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  • It’s been a week of many mixed emotions. Two of my most favourite horses have returned to my parents – Littlemisssunshine, my first winner, now in foal to Pastoral Pursuits, has been weaned from her Sir Percy filly foal at Kirtlington and gone home.

    And Dear Maurice has also gone there for a well-earned break before he returns to me to lead the yearlings and two-year-olds in December and January. Yet another string to his ever-increasing bow.

    We had three runners this week, all at the tail end. The first ran a cracker at Wolverhampton on Thursday, over the minimum trip, and was just beaten into second place, first time in blinkers.

    The second ran on the Friday, also at Wolverhampton, over a mile and a half – her first appearance in a handicap. She was quite heavily backed but, for some unknown reason she ran no sort of race and was lucky to beat one home.

    Now, this is a truly tricky situation. How one does tell an owner that a horse one thought was capable of running a cracker in fact ran a stinker? Not an easy feat and one in which one has to tread rather carefully. Thankfully, I have understanding owners who were probably less upset than I was!

    The third was the first horse again! This three-year-old filly was out for the second time in three days, once again over the minimum trip of five furlongs with her now-customary go-faster goggles, this time at Kempton Park. She once again ran a cracker but was beaten into fourth, just less than a head behind the horse which came second. This filly really has deserved to make her unlucky losing line a winning one.

    Like the soldiers of the Great War, we will once again rise out of the trenches and fight again, and maybe Lady Luck will shine kindly on us.

    We had a new addition to the roster in the form of a two-year-old filly by Red Clubs, the hottest sire of the moment who has unfortunately been lost to the breeding ranks. She has settled in well and, like most hearty Irish girls, has not left a scrap of food!

    This week also saw the heart-breaking defeat of Camelot, Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old flying machine, in the St Leger – the third part of what would have been a memorable Triple Crown – by Encke.

    There are many theories as to why Camelot was defeated, ranging from “not good enough”, “average ride”, “something wrong” etc. As usual, I have my own view! The race was won, in my opinion, by a superlative ride from a flamboyant French boy barely out of nappies, Mickael Barzalona.

    This is the very reason Sheikh Mohammed has employed him, along with Frankie Dettori and Silvestre de Sousa – moments of brilliance in high-profile races under immense pressure.

    My heart goes out to Camelot and the Ballydoyle team as, for whatever the reason, he did not deserve to be beaten, but well done to the Boys in Blue.

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