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« AND NOW FOR THE BIG ONE | Main | ODE TO A FINE LADY »
Friday
Jun142013

THE WORLD SPRINTING CHAMPIONSHIP

Shea Shea wins Al Quoz SprintWatch Shea Shea winning the Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1)
(Photo : Virendra Saklani - Footage : Dubai Racing Meydan)

“Big deals get big men excited,
but racehorses can turn big men into little boys.”

Anyone who witnessed Brian Joffe’s embrace of Mike de Kock after the Shea Shea massacre in the Al Quoz Sprint (Gr.1) on World Cup night, will know what we mean when we say that racehorses do strange things to us. Big deals get big men excited, but racehorses can turn big men into little boys.

The news from England is that Shea Shea is the ruling favourite for both the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr.1) and the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Gr.1) for international racing’s smartest get together, Royal Ascot. If you want to make a statement on the world stage, Royal Ascot is your chance, and it’s a compliment to the son of National Emblem that he should be at the top of the boards against some of the finest sprinters in the world. There’ll be no excuses this time, as the Aussies and the Yanks both have entries, so if you’ve never taken time off to see The Queen, make a date now. The horse is reportedly in great shape, and should be raring to go.

The news though, on Highlands-bred Soft Falling Rain is not that encouraging, though we’ve not heard it from the “great within”, so treat it as such. It seems he has battled to adapt to the uphill gallops at Newmarket, having grown up on a diet of the flat ever since a saddle was thrown across his back. He was educated by a subtle team at Summerhill, and found his way to Randjiesfontein, where Mike de Kock and his team introduced him to the “gentle art” for the first time. Forays to Durban and Dubai changed nothing from a training perspective, but Newmarket is famous for its hills and climbs, and it seems he may not yet be ready for this assignment. Let’s not jump the gun though: he’s in the hands of the best professionals in the world, and with them, anything is possible.

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