Thursday, July 17, 2008


On my last year’s visit to Les Baux de Breteuil, you may remember, I met a splendid little fellow by the name of ‘Quitus du Seuil’. He was about to make his race debut, and he was looking for an owner. My hand went halfway to my pocket, and then the thought of my New Zealand paddocks, overflowing with horseflesh, intervened, and I pulled back. And so, some days later, I watched Quitus run a splendid second place at Evreux in the ownership of someone else. ‘Soonish…’ I mumbled into that week’s blog.
Well, I’m here to tell you that ‘soonish’ has happened.

The day that I arrived here, I went, of course, for a stroll round the paddocks and the barn, making friends and meeting horses, and patting the odd nose and neck. At the last box in the row, a pretty bay head put itself forth willingly to be rubbed and I duly obliged. But then, as I went to move on, a damp nose landed gently somewhere between my nape and my right ear. ‘Oy! More, please’. Given that most horses are more inclined to back away from the touch of an unfamiliar human, I was rather surprised, but I looked back into a pair of pretty dark eyes and I did as asked. I’m sure she smiled.

A few hours later, I dropped the fatal words: ‘That’s a sweet one in the last box, who is she….?’

Rosy des Baux, a homebred three year-old filly by Fier des Baux out of Milady des Baux. Already qualified and ready to race imminently. And, you guessed it, looking for an owner.
Where had I heard this scenario before?

And ‘Rosy’ … it would have to be ‘Rosy’. What is it about me and horses named ‘Rosy’?

I didn’t ask any of the questions you are supposed to ask when buying a horse. I didn’t ask to see her in action. I didn’t look at any of the crucial points of her physiognomy. After all, you may remember, I don’t even know a cow hock when I see one. What I do know is that Marion, Bernard, David and Laura Hue know one million times more about horses than I do, and if they think Rosy is a prospective racehorse, and worth their time and attention, that’s good enough for me.

And so Rosy became mine.

The fourteenth of July may mean the Storming of the Bastille to some people, for me it will, henceforth, always be the day I got my first French horse.

And now faxes fly between France and New Zealand as my credentials are exported/imported, and a tailor sits with needle poised over a roll of soft-boiled-egg yellow silk, ready to manufacture a fresh set of Ganzl of Gerolstein racing colours in readiness for 28 July when Rosy is scheduled to step out for the first time at the racetrack at Bréhal (Manche) …

No, I don’t know where it is either…

And now there’s time to look at her in action as she struts her stuff around the training track. What do you think? She looks pretty good to me…

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