The luckiest racehorses live long and healthy lives, even after their racing careers are over. There is a continuous stream of heartening stories from the Retraining of Racehorses charity about top flight horses that have successfully switched to eventing, dressage or hunting. All of us who share a love of racing love to hear of second careers.
One such career drew to a close this week, when Batsford Stud announced the death of Erhaab at the grand old age of 30. A winner of four of his 11 races on the Flat, including the Group I Dante at York and an Ever Ready Derby (remember them?), he was retired to Shadwell Stud after his three year old season was abruptly curtailed by injury on the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in mid-summer.
Initial results on the Flat didn't show him off as a stand out performer, which is how he arrived at Batsford but his progeny have been rather more successful over Jumps. Twenty-four individual winners of 67 races from 795 races include the likes of Regal Flow, winner of 7 races worth over £170,000 for Bob Buckler, and Carlton Jack, a winner 4 times for Jonjo O'Neill and owner J P McManus.
Batsford Stud is a classic piece of mid Victorian Cotswold architecture. The stud is housed in the former coach houses and stables to the main house, presided over by Alan Varey and son Tim.
Erhaab, who died in his sleep, hadn't been servicing mares for a while, but then again, I don't know many 90 year olds that show much interest in that sort of thing.
Meanwhile, this week, two humans at rather younger stages of the age spectrum have been performing well on the racecourse.
Siddington Clerk of the Course Pete Mason runs a breaking and training yard at Ablington, where his wife holds a professional trainer's licence, whilst Pete rides under Rules and between the flags. Wick Green, winner of 5 Point-to-Points and a Hunter chase at Exeter earlier this year, gave Pete a welcome and debut win against professional riders in a handicap chase at Hereford on Wednesday.
Meanwhile today, Charlie Longsdon opted for the long road to Doncaster to collect his winner, a hard-won short head victory for novice hurdler Lyrical Genius in his first Jumps race under Rules. The winner was a 3l winner of a nine runner maiden at Dingley in April, further evidence were it needed, that British Pointers are improving in quality and in quantity as thery filter through to the professional ranks.