With no time to watch anyone before he left Tom warmed up Toledo de Kerser and headed out on the course. We saw them on the live stream in the collecting ring tent simply flying through the quarry with Toledo seemingly airborne for what seemed forever over the steep uphill fence out. As fence followed fence and Toledo’s boundless scope kept us all on the edge of our seats you could only admire the way that Tom rode him. On the way home he did get pretty strong and for a super careful horse he did get a bit lairy through the final brushes with Tom doing a good job of staying in the plate! Just 8 time was good enough to elevate him from 26th up into 13th which was good going for a horse who doesn’t have allot of blood on a day when the going was stamina sapping. Tacky, drying ground is actually much tougher on the horses than simply wet ground and it was without doubt a day for the tough horses to prove their worth.
Literally hours later, right at the end of the day Tom was the last person to exit the arena on Strike Smartly ( Paddy). Sometimes as the last to go it is a disappointing feature that the crowds are leaving as you start but in a year when the sun shines such as this one everyone was staying put. Paddy may be of a sturdier build than Toledo but he is all business and he shot off with a determined look on his face. It really couldn’t have been a more different ride for Tom! Where Toledo gave the fences inches if not feet Paddy scrapped across them with an air of slight caution! Without doubt he is entitled to, this being his first four star compared to Toledo’s 4th but he did give it his all and he battled right to the end adding 25 time which turned out to be the average time score for the day. There was nothing average about his performance though and Tom was quietly pleased with him and said he was one for the future.
It was a great day for the sport, sunny and warm, if not hot in the afternoon. It must have been a near record attendance as the queues were building on the way in from 7.30 am as the public finally shook off the throes of winter and had the prospect of a fantastic bank holiday weekend ahead of them. Both the boys looked happy out grazing in the evening sun and Lucy had done her usual sterling job along with the rest of the team.