On Thursday afternoon there was a bit of a feeling in the air and the punters flocked to Seymour in droves to witness something truly extraordinary – Robert the Puss’ maiden win.
The veteran of 18 starts prior to Thursday, Robert found himself jumping from the outside barrier with a seemingly mammoth task ahead of him. In-form jockey Liam Riordan was the 9th jockey to sit on him after 8 others had been unable to find the key to him in his in previous starts and wasn’t the slightest bit deterred with the barrier draw, jumping midfield and sitting three wide with cover. Robert travelled sweetly throughout and made a strong move around the field, looming into the race on the corner. Now, we have seen this many times before and we were extremely lucky Terry Bailey wasn’t calling the race or he’d have called him the winner at the 200m mark and he’d have been mowed down in tragic circumstances. All of a sudden a silence fell over the crowd and all that could be heard was the unmistakeable scream of “GO ROBERT” from strapper and part-owner Sally Burke. Robert and Liam collectively responded, gritted their teeth and hung on for dear life as he ran out a winner by a neck.
It’s been a journey with this horse who has promised so much over his 19 starts and whilst many of the owners have moved on, an incredible few people never gave up. Loretta, Robert’s regular track rider and long time stable employee and her partner Neville purchased the horse back and got Sally involved and have now been duly rewarded with a very satisfying win.
*Simon yesterday briefly considered retirement after this remarkable training performance that ranked right up there with his greatest achievements, however he’s too excited about the next crop of young horses coming through and has decided to remain in charge.