Generally, the most exciting thing that tends to happen to me on a Tuesday night is matching socks and possibly unloading the dishwasher if I’m feeling really frisky. After a quick scan of the entries for the next few day’s racing, it’s normally lights out by 11pm.
But last Tuesday was different. You see, I’ve fallen into the intense emotional examination that is racehorse ownership.
Now, under normal circumstances I’d be fairly easy going. Laid back. I’ve even been accused of being blasé in the past, but we won’t get into my Tinder date feedback here. But this. This has awoken nerves I didn’t even know existed.
I’ve had the fortune/misfortune, depending on which way you look at it, of falling in to the company of a crowd of racing reprobates operating under the collective moniker of ‘The Paupers’. This raggle-taggle bunch has, by some ridiculous stroke of luck, fallen into the ownership of a decent tool racing under the name of On His Own.
Yes, the same horse that was second in the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup and is a former dual Thyestes Chase hero! This group includes yours truly. Somehow.
The same beast is now declared to take part in the Artic Tack Stud Hunters Chase at Thurles on Thursday under the famous arse of Patrick Mullins.
I’ve never been good at hiding my nerves on a day we’ve had a runner, but I excel when in the company of other syndicate members in case I spook them.
On His Own ran in a Point-To-Point in Tinahely earlier this month to qualify for Hunter Chases on the track, but to also give some of the more sheltered members of Team Pauper an education in the grassroots of the game and extract them from the champagne filled boxes from which they’ve become accustomed.
To say I was anything short of waspish on the day would be a gross miscarriage. Nothing was right. I even declared that I ‘absolutely hate racing’, which of course was a lie, but in the stress of it all you do tend to over-egg things.
Our race rolled around and our jockey Sonny Carey strode out like a film star across the Tinahely parade ring. He was given some fast and loose instructions and proceeded to steer On His Own home in front by a neck. Smiles all round, nerves gone. Great stuff.
We take our chance tomorrow in possibly one of the highest quality five-runner Hunter Chases run anywhere, ever!
These horses have been dining at the top tables all their careers. The race features Foxrock: a recent Down Royal winner and third in the Lexus Chase 12 months ago, Salsify: dual Cheltenham Festival winner and a recurring theme in the nightmares of Jane Mangan, First Lieutenant: winner of a Neptune Hurdle, second in an RSA Chase behind Bob’s Worth and second in a Ryanair Chase behind Cue Card.
And, of course, our lad. Not a shabby field for a Hunters Chase. Our chance is plain to see, especially getting a few pounds from Foxrock. But my nerves don’t care about the facts.
I’m looking forward to a good day’s racing down in the Premier County featuring the Kinloch Brae Chase, but given our fella doesn’t run until 4pm, I’m not sure I’ll be able to enjoy it!