National’s day at Ballarat on Sunday was full of drama. The races were run on the heaviest track imaginable, but in the end, most of the best horses won the major jumps races. But alas for Camp Musgrove, we were relegated to 2nd in three of the majors. Winning is great, however people in the jumps community, more than any other facet of the racing industry, are the first to congratulate the winners despite their disappointment at being defeated. At Ballarat, in three races we were forced to congratulate the winners after our horses finished 2nd. But three 2nds is better than three 3rds and so on. So it was an enjoyable day, albeit a day that with just a tiny but more luck would have been a day for the ages.
Shearer finished a brave 2nd in the 4000m Marathon Hurdle beaten by the short priced favourite Glorious Sinndar. Shearer has finished in the top three at six of his last eight starts and he again raced really well on Saturday. He is a consistent gelding and as this has been just his first season of jumping. He certainly looks to have a big future ahead. He is still young in jumping terms.
Tremec may well be one of the stars of the 2017 season. In four hurdle runs this season, the multiple Group winner has not finished further back than 2nd. On Sunday against another star on the rise in Zanteco, Tremec got through the bottomless track and finished 2nd. He proved he can mix it at the top level and as this was the JJ Houlahan hurdle and races don’t get much more prestigious than this. Tremec is the horse to watch out of the Musgrove stable moving forward. He is a gelding on the rise.
The third of the 2nd places came courtesy of the stable favourite About The Journey who lugged 70kg to be beaten about three inches in the Hygain Steeplechase. The horses that beat About The Journey, Mannertone had 2kg less, and on a track that couldn’t be any wetter, these 2kg certainly told when the whips were cracking. About The Journey has now won or placed on 24 occasions and he has pocketed well over a quarter of a million dollars in prize money for his connections. He is showing no signs of slowing down.
So that was that. Three runners for three 2nds. It could have been a day the stable could hang its hat on for years, but that is racing. But we must stress that running 2nd in feature jumps races is certainly not the end of the world. Congratulations to all the connections of our horses and you can rest assured; we will be back bigger and better next season. In the meantime we still have the Irish series in Adelaide which Eric dominated last year. Don’t be surprised if one or two of the above horses turn up in the nominations for this iconic race series in the coming weeks.