ANOTHER BATT TRIUMPHS IN THE TRAKYA TROPHY
‘They came, they saw, they conquered’ was the opening line in the Racing Post Report of Another Batt’s victory in the Trakya Trophy last weekend in Istanbul.
Another Batt has danced every dance this season, beating and being beaten by some of the best 2-year olds both at home and in Ireland. In his 9 races, he has not let one person down, his heart is bigger than any other horse that I have ever been around, which goes hand in hand with his will to win. As a result of this, he has been highly tried over the past few months, and although acquitting himself incredibly tenaciously, he has come up just a little short of winning a big pot. I realised that we would have to start to think outside of the box for a winning opportunity, and the races in Istanbul had always caught my imagination.
The meeting at Veliefendi has epic prize money and often uncompetitive small fields, so we took the chance and entered him in the Trakya Trophy. When the first set of entries came out it seemed that it was going to be a case of more of the same for Another Batt as there was a brigade of exciting two-year olds pencilled in to make the trip across Europe. However, as the weeks passed, and every competitive entrant fell by the wayside, it looked a fantastic opportunity for our little horse.
He hopped on the plane from Luton and made the trip across the Bosphorus sea. Initially my traveling head lad Chris, and rider Tom were happy with him, however he appeared to take a steep turn for the worst once arriving at the track.
Owners, Charlie Austin, Paul Fisher and their friends and family had already made the trip to Istanbul and were enjoying a holiday. I was left with the uneasy decision to air my concerns or to keep it to myself. We decided to keep it under out hat, and fortunately it was a case of severe dehydration which was handled excellently by the local vets. With fluids on board, it took Another Batt a couple of days to get back to normal, that being said he is not a horse that needs a huge amount of training and he burst back to life the day before the race.
A friend and regular rider for us at Saffron house Oisin Murphy already had a couple of rides on the card and fortunately was available to take the reins.
The only concern I had was that the 6 furlongs may be a little sharp, but after walking the course it was clear that they had put a lot of water onto the turf to compensate for the warm climate, and the ground was considerably better in the centre of the straight. Oisin was able to take up the perfect tactical position as the other English horses had to settle for the trailing last places around the bend on a track which is very speed favouring. Around the final bend, Oisin pressed the button and let him fly up the centre of the track to win unchallenged.
It was a special moment for everyone involved, not only because it was our first group success, but also because this little horse has meant so much to my career so far, as well as to his owners Excel Racing. It was extra special that Charlie Austin and Paul Fisher were there to enjoy such a memorable day.
I would like to thank to Turkish Jockey Club for looking after us so incredibly well and providing us the opportunity with such fantastic prize money. Another Batt has now earned himself a 6-week break before beginning a winter campaign - potentially in Qatar but certainly in Dubai if all goes to plan.