horse kissThat’s what Winston Churchill had to say at some stage in the Second World War. And that’s how we felt as we returned home last evening to find an overturned horse truck on its way to Durban, carrying eleven graduates of the Ready To Run sale. It was a miracle that only two of them died, yet one of them was from here, and he was as decent a horse as we’ve consigned to a sale. Our sympathies to Richard Fitzgerald and Denis Bosch who’d gone to such trouble to “hatch” their plan.

Mercifully, most escaped relatively lightly, including a lovely Malhub belonging to these fellow. Perhaps they’ll be rewarded in next year’s big race.

Most miraculous of all, was the escape of 5 horses out of the roof of the trailer, which burst open. Three of these ran up the verge of the freeway , and when we couldn’t account for them, we found them about a kilometer up the road, grazing peacefully! Just shows how good the grass is in KZN!

One of them was Sheikh Mohammad’s R525k colt, who hardly showed a scratch. Speaking to his right hand man, Mohammed Khaleel, a few moments ago, I expressed my relief that he was still in one piece, because His Highness does not insure. To which Mohammed replied “God is our insurer” How philosophically sensible!

As a horseman, you’d never want to see such carnage. It was like a war zone in that float, with horses trapped under collapsed partitions and dead animals on top of them. It’s a great tribute to the way they’ve been brought up, that they lay there sensibly. When the acetylene torches came to burn open the doors and the roof, they took it manfully. They knew what was up, and they knew what it demanded.

I’ve often been moved with pride at the way our team goes to work, but there’s another dimension to them. I saw it last night on that roadside. When people love animals, they love them. Nothing gets in their way, not even the size and volatility of a racehorse. These people piled into that trailer, to the last, and they went to work. Some were injecting tranquilizers, others were lying alongside pacifying the fallen, others were forcing open sheet metal. These are the unsung heroes of the world, that throw in their lot, no matter the odds.

And to see those horses, standing like soldiers on the roadside once they were out, obedient trusting, and ready to climb on the next float, almost dutifully. That told us the job at home had been properly done.

Next year, one of these fellows, at least, will stand up at the business end of the R1 million race, and be counted. That’s the way it works. They didn’t get out of there for nothing.

Posted by Mick Goss