Yorkhill must be one of the most talented horses in training but he is also the craziest! If only he could be kept on the straight and narrow…
BAD boys. We’re the best, sorry, I mean they are the best aren’t they?
Actually, bad might not be the right word.
In the world of horse racing, you see, everything has to be nice, that most horrific of descriptive nothings.
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There are simply no bad horses, rather characters, thinkers and dodgers.
I remember calling a horse iffy once and connections were most upset, to the point of a not totally complimentary conversation via mobile phone.
I’m hosting the Opening Show from Ayr on ITV4 at 10am this morning. It’s a big deal for me to get the chance, so watch if you can please. Yeeehaaa!
They simply didn’t understand that their dodgepot, who simply refused to win and insisted on running worse the easier the opportunity, was one of my favourite horses.
You see character horses are actually often our favourites. It’s the sense of the unknown, the knowledge that an animal is probably capable of far better than it usually shows.
When it does consent to run it’s magnificent, and when it doesn’t one can enjoy the moment of frustration with a wry smile.
Yorkhill is typical of an equine bad boy.
I mean, there are probably only a handful of horses in training over jumps more talented than Yorkhill, but he’s an absolute fruitloop.
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His latest attempt to get on a couch with Jeremy Kyle came at Fairyhouse last Sunday, when he ran in the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup.
The in-running comment could just read: “Crazy talented horse finished second, only he knows how.”
However, it actually tells us that the brilliant JLT hero was held up and free, tugged his way to front after four out, extended lead after two out, jinked left and mistake last, ridden and headed run-in, rallied close home and just failed.
BOOM OR BUST!
Vicente did this column a right favour when winning last year’s Scottish National – he’s hard to keep out the frame again off a decent mark. Yeeehaaa!
Watching the Irish Ryanair it’s almost impossible to comprehend how Yorkhill didn’t win. It was certainly a lot harder to lose than score.
There’s an argument that it’s the clever horses who have the quirks.
On that basis, Yorkhill has shown Mensa qualities before last weekend’s effort.
At Cheltenham in the JLT he was super cool, but did he really put it all in halfway up the run in? And then he jumped badly left the time before at Leopardstown and before that at Fairyhouse again.
Good news this week on the jockey front. George Baker is off home after a horror fall in St Moritz. People who have seen George say that other than being a bit wobbly from time to time he’s doing well and chatting away as normal. And while in Newmarket I popped in to see Freddy Tylicki. He was in tremendous form and will shortly build a lift in his house. What a tough bloke.
So what future is in front of Yorkhill, other than therapy?
Well Graham Wylie’s hero is still a relatively young horse, and next year he’ll only be an eight-year-old at the Cheltenham Festival.
Over hurdles he didn’t show the frailties he does over fences, and his 2016 Neptune success took the breath away.
Classic trials were back on terrestrial telly this week thanks to ITV, and there’s no doubt the Craven Stakes was a decent renewal with Group 1 winner Rivet and War Decree in the line-up.
Both were beaten by the imposing Eminent, who became pre-eminent in betting for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at about 10-1.
However, I can’t help feel that if the Dewhurst winner Churchill has just stood still in terms of ability – or even improved a fraction – he will lose little sleep over this result.
It was the same in the Nell Gwyn with Daban, who battled on well for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori on just her second start.
She’s going to get better with time, and it’s usually a classy juvenile that wins the Guineas, rather than a late-developing three-year-old like Daban.
With Annie Power and Faugheen now very unlikely to be at their incredible peak at the 2018 Festival, current champion hurdler Buveur d’Air stands above the rest. But he’s anything but unbeatable, and I’m rather hoping Willie Mullins will turn Yorkhill into the top two-mile hurdler around.
The 14-1 for the Champion Hurdle with Betfair looks very reasonable to me! Yeeehaaa!