Friday, 30 August 2013

Cheering The Soul

The cheer that went up from the crowd when Soul Magic surged to the front on the finishing straight, at approximately 3.35pm on Bank Holiday Monday, was the loudest that I have heard at Cartmel and the subsequent celebrations were joyous. 

By scoring at the track for the seventh time, Soul Magic was equalling the record for the most career wins by a horse at Cartmel. Returned by the bookmakers at 5/2, it is surprising that Harriet Graham’s steeplechaser didn’t start favourite – especially as everyone in the crowd claimed to have backed him afterwards. Graham, who is based near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, was scoring a notable double on the day, having picked up the prize for the best dressed dog just before racing commenced. The dog, named Rame, was dressed in a miniature version of Soul Magic’s blue racing silks.

While the race wasn’t the Gold Cup or the Grand National, this was a significant training feat. Getting any horse to the track in peak condition is difficult enough, but to get the same horse to the same track on seven separate occasions takes some skill. Afterwards Graham stated “We were all really nervous in the build up to the race; this was our Cheltenham!” 

However, Soul Magic is not just any horse. I can now divulge that in June of this year the gelding sent me an e-mail explaining his training regime, “… this will mean a fitness programme, a diet and extra work – this is not for me. I am a Sunday morning type of horse; I like the papers, a gentle stroll in the hills, a large lunch and lots of sleep.” I am not sure whether Soul Magic had help with the typing, perhaps Graham has given him a giant key-board with buttons in the shape of a horseshoe. 

No doubt Soul Magic will be back again next year; although it’s a source of great sadness that we’ll have to wait the best part of nine months until our next fixture towards the end of May 2014. In the meantime, we’ve got to find something in the racing world to perk us up – so I’ll be keeping an eye on the jump racing at Newton Abbot on Saturday, where Billie Magern is an eye-catching entry in the Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Steeplechase. 

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