Highs and lows
Gary McKenzie on the emotional highs and lows of racing
There were worrying scenes at Ascot last week after the top-rated chaser, Cyrname, fell at the last fence. It was a horrible fall (as was the fall of Traffic Fluide).
He stayed down and the screens were put up. That is usually a bad sign and we feared the worst. Thankfully he was only winded and he was able to walk back to the racecourse stables.
The reception he got from the crowd was fantastic. It gladdens the heart to see people, some who surely lost money on the race, showing genuine love for this horse, and more generally for the sport as a whole.
In a previous life I was a betting shop manager and there were a few times I heard punters shouting “fall” at the horse in front as their selection was in second place at the last.
But the reaction of those watching at Ascot was brilliant. It was a mixture of relief and joy. And the emotion on the face of Rodrigo, the lad who looks after Cyrname, when leading him back spoke volumes for the love those working with these horses have.
We have our critics but we know how much these magnificent animals get to us.
Less fortunate was star sprinter Kachy. He suffered a fatal injury at Lingfield a place he treated as his personal fiefdom. He had run at the track five times before Saturday, winning four and coming second .
He was second in the Commonwealth Cup in 2016 and third in last season’s Diamond Jubilee. But it was the all-weather where he excelled. He was a standard bearer for Tom Dascombe’s stable. He will be sorely missed.