Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thomas the (Race) Track Engine

8 October 2010. I had just arrived in New Zealand for the summer in time to see our mare Sally Holmes delivered of bouncing baby boy. And bouncing was the word: in a matter of days he was leaping around the paddock, playing the clown …

or ‘protecting mother from the paparazzi’ with his imitation of a stallion.

We called him Thomas, after Messrs Hermanns and Zaufke of Berlin and, once he was weaned, we chummed him up with Rocky, another wee P Forty Seven chap, with whom to take his lessons and his tucker. Stocky Thomas and tiny skinny Rocky went through their first couple of years without any major accidents, and Wendy was pleased with them when they started training seriously. So we kept on.

Rocky’s physique needed a bit of time to develop, but Thomas reached the stage, a few weeks ago, of being ready to make a tentative first appearance in public, to discover what running a race – with OTHER horses! – was like. Episode one was a farce: one smart driver ignored the rules and went far too fast, so Thomas raced all alone in a gap midfield, got no experience of company, and finished third … so we tried again .. and again … better! … but mostly, he obviously had the talent and the speed to achieve the qualifying time (to go to the real races), so why worry with more workouts?

Yesterday, on a cold, below zero morn, Wendy, Yoshie and Chris headed for Motukarara with Thomas (and brother Mikie for company). He was drawn to do his ‘time trial’ with two two-year-olds, one owned by Shaun up the road, who brings us hay and called Supermoshi (where does he get his names?).
Well, Supermoshi did a grand job. It went straight to the front, set a strong pace, with the other two cruising along in its wake, through the blinding fog. Into the straight, Chris pulled Thomas out and he finished relaxedly on, the three horses crossing the line together … six seconds faster than the required time. Object well and truly achieved.

So, we have another new racehorse. Thomas will have a congratulatory rest (with Agnes) for a few weeks, over the dead period in Canterbury racing, while Mikey, Rocky and hopefully Fritzl get on with training and then ... I can see a busy horsey summer coming up!

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