Horse racing has always been an emotional rollercoaster, dear reader, and rarely more so than this past weekend, when both ends of the sport of kings' continuum have been so poignantly squeezed.
Triumph and tragedy are commonplace bedfellows in our sport and, whilst their relationship is akin to that couple we all know who can't live with each other but can't live without each other, their respective stories this weekend were - for once - separate and distinct.
The deaths of Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson, being treated as murder, provided the starkest possible counterpoint to the brilliance of Sea The Stars' imperiously sauntering victory in the Irish Champion Stakes in a polarising fifteen hours for the sport. Within that half a day, racing saluted a true champion of the now, and lost an almost certain champion of the future.
At around 2am on Saturday morning, as Kyne and Wilson slept, a most unnatural of disasters was about to unfurl. Full details are not yet known, but the current perception is that their flat was torched and the event is being treated as arson.
Kyne rode his first winner aboard Birkside on 6th December 2007, aged just 16. Last year, he added another eight victories, and was already on the 29 winner mark this season. His talent in the saddle was recognised by most in the North, and many in the South, including Jamie Spencer, who noted, "I tipped him up long ago to be a future star. As apprentices go, he wasÂ in a different league; you only had to watch him ride to know he had something special."
Spencer is rarely given to soundbites of any description, let alone such effusive rhetoric, so this truly was high praise from someone who knows a good jockey when he sees one.
Jan Wilson, a year older than Kyne, but herself not yet 20, was a lesser known pilot, but no less of a loss of life. She'd only had a handful of rides and, as apprentice to David Barron, had enjoyed a hat-trick of wins aboard Imperial Sword, a horse owned by her parents.
Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, the sport did its best to compose itself as the details of the full horrific episode emerged. Kyne was a Galway boy, and many of those in the crowd at Leopardstown would have been reeling from the news.
Racing's show is an unstoppable juggernaut, however, and it could do nothing but go on. Saturday saw what has become the centrepiece of the Irish flat racing calendar, the Champion Stakes, act out its own - more traditional - drama.
After a week when the likelihood of Sea The Stars' participation seemed to hang precariously in the balance (the overture to the actual race was played on Betfair all week, as John Oxx's beastie almost drifted to double digits), a contrivance of meteorological contrition and connections' collective competitive nature ensured that Fame And Glory would have a rematch against his Epsom Derby conqueror. And we spectators would have a race to savour.
As predicted here on 8th June, Sea The Stars swerved the Irish Derby in favour of a 10f race (the Eclipse at Sandown). This is his best trip and probably shy of Fame And Glory's optimum (2nd in the Epsom Derby was bettered by victory in the Irish version).
Here, he also took on Mastercraftsman, whom he'd previously vanquished at York. Michael Tabor, a pretty sporting chap, had submitted that day on the Knavesmire that Ballydoyle's best chance of gunning down The Stars was with F&G. Judging by the winning margin, he was incorrect in that assessment (though he normally is not).
The form of this race (and indeed pretty much each of the quintet of Group 1's Sea The Stars has won this season) is bombproof. 2 1/2 lengths back to the Irish Derby winner / Epsom Derby second, and a further 2 1/2 lengths back to the Irish Guineas / St James Palace Stakes winner.
If there is one teeny weeny bone to pick with Sea The Stars, it might be that he's yet to face a true 1m 2f specialist this year, with the Mastercraftsman probably optimally effective over 1m and F&G a twelve furlong horse. That said, STS won over both of those trips as well (and both in Classics to boot), so as picked bones go, it's kind of a hairline fracture of the stapes (smallest bone in the body, apparently), if such a thing is possible.
I would love to see STS finish with wins in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe / Breeders Cup Classic, but surely that is too much to ask, even of a true champion such as him. Victories at Longchamp and Santa Anita would give STS a very real claim to be the best racehorse ever. It is for certain that we'll wait many a long year before we see his ilk again.
It says a lot about racing's whirligig that the massive news story of Friday, the return to the saddle of Kieren Fallon, had become only the third biggest consumer of column inches by Sunday. And this in spite of his first winner since his comeback, Our Kes at Wolverhampton.
Fallon is still a week or so short of full match fitness, and I'd be wary of going 'all in' with him at the moment, but soon enough he'll be bludgeoning the winners home again, and the scurge of many a layer.
On a truly extraordinary weekend for racing, for numerous reasons and from various points on the spectrum, it's time to pause and reflect.