Flesh And Blood

May 22nd, 2022 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there!

It’s the conventional practice to boast about successes in this business, but after over 50 years I have learnt that you are never in charge where racehorses are concerned and, in the oft-quoted words, it is a ‘great leveller.’

I was once within earshot of Sheikh Mohammed when he said that horses were ‘flesh and blood’, and there is seldom a day when I am not reminded of it.

Now the reason I am saying this is because of a performance yesterday that shook me to the core.

It is a long time since I fancied a horse in a top-class race as much a Buckaroo.

I had liked the son of Fastnet Rock from the moment he appeared on the track as a two-year-old last July, where he stayed on steadily after a slow start to finish third to Piz Badile.

He then beat Stone Age at Galway before running respectably in a Group 2 at Leopardstown and again when fourth in a 1m 2f Group 1 at Saint-Cloud.

However it was his displays this season that really excited me.

Just beaten on the nod by Piz Badile on his return in the Group 3 Ballysax he then ran out a hugely impressive winner of a 1m Listed race at the Curragh, travelling smoothly throughout before quickening away to beat Wexford Native by four lengths, with New Energy a short-head behind in third.

Although that was only Listed form the manner of his success was breathtaking, especially given he is bred to stay much further than a mile.

I had so many reasons why I thought he would beat Native Trail yesterday – the easy ground, the possibly strong pace, his physical scope, his turn of foot and his ability to travel through a race. I even had a little collateral form between the two colts to support my case.

Now as you know Buckaroo did not run well, moving smoothly on the outside of the field before emptying out two furlongs from home.

He stopped in the manner of a horse that had a problem – perhaps of a respiratory nature – but this was nothing like the horse that we had seen here earlier in the month.

A post-race report found the colt had a ‘small wound to its left-hind coronet’ – I’m not sure to what extent that could have affected him.

Yet taking a line through runner-up New Energy and fourth-home Wexford Native, beaten one and three-quarter lengths and three lengths respectively, Buckaroo should have been at least upsides the favourite and possibly in front of him.

Obviously I know that collateral form lines can be misleading, but it was more the manner of Buckaroo’s performance that both disappointed and unsettled me.

Time will, of course, reveal all but I suggest we give Buckaroo another chance, especially when he is stepped up in trip.

This cannot have been right.