For trainer Gary Moore it’s been one hell of a week, but thankfully it ended on something of an upward curve.
Released from hospital after the kicking he received from one of his horses, his spirits would have been further lifted by an outstanding treble at Sandown.
Ar Mad caused an upset in the beginners chase, defeating his more fancied rivals Golden Doyen and Sirabad. It was a fine front-running performance, though the race was most memorable for the erratic jumping from the runner-up and even more so from Paul Nicholls’ charge who persisted in taking off a mile from his fences.
The trainer’s son Josh, who partnered Ar Mad, said of his old man: “He's feeling much better and is coming out of hospital now. He's rough and sore but has no major injury. We'll be keeping him in the house so he doesn't do any more damage to himself!”
Jamie Moore, who was on-board the yard’s other winners Darebin and Vino Griego, added: “He broke five ribs - which will have been very painful - had a punctured lung and bruised his spleen. He is back at home surrounded by the family and the grandchildren will be keeping his spirits up.”
Nothing would do more to cheer-up the West Sussex trainer than a return to form for his stable star Sire De Grugy. After trailing home last on his return at Exeter, Moore had said: “It was very, very disappointing. I can't understand it. I expected him to run a big race but he looked flat and disinterested. He made one clumsy mistake but got back into the race okay. He'd undergone plenty of tests before he went to Exeter and trotted up fairly sound this morning. It's one bad run. We'll see where we are in a few days' time with him.”
The Tingle Creek is still on the agenda, though a run over hurdles beforehand is a real possibility, and may be just what the old warrior needs to restore his confidence.
The team can also look forward to an exciting campaign with novice chaser Violet Dancer. A little erratic at times on his debut outing at Towcester, he nevertheless won with plenty in hand, and with more experience and allowed to bowl along in front, he is sure to win his fair share of races. His front running demolition job in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury back in February will live long in the memory.
Baron Alco is another with the potential to reach greater heights. A little too keen at times, he has to learn to settle better in his races. However, a truly gutsy win at Stratford last time over hurdles gave cause for optimism, and he’ll surely make a better chaser; he’s certainly bred to be.
Pleasure and pain often ride side by side in the sport of horse racing. With a current strike rate of around 20%, Gary Moore will be hoping for continued pleasure on the track, and far less pain off it.