Potential catastrophe became surely the ride of the season

At Doncaster this afternoon, SADEEK got home by a head to record a win for Allan Bloodlines’ management client Mrs Patricia Brown. After the horse had a difficult year in 2007 leading to a loss of confidence, his new trainer Bryan Smart has done an excellent job in getting SADEEK back to form within a plan embarked upon last Autumn.

Sounds simple? Not so. With the tack slipping back and around to the left and down, there would have been no doubt in anyone’s mind that the jockey was about to fall off 40 yards from the line. The circumstances were life-threatening to the jockey who would hit the ground at maximum speed and be run over by most of the field, closely bunched behind. One or probably more of those runners would be brought down with potentially catastrophic consequences for horses and riders.

With both legs on the same side of the horse, and SADEEK having come to win the race, jockey Royston ffrench clung on for dear life to neck and mane, being bashed in the ribs with grip-loosening jolts at each stride. Somehow, he swung a leg back over the horse and sat upright, bouncing uncomfortably as SADEEK crossed the line.

Miraculously, although saddle and number cloth were hanging loosely, the weight cloth did not fall off. Consequently, the winning result was not threatened. Clutching bruised ribs, Royston got his breath back, got the tack off and went back to weigh in via a brief interview with the utterly astonished Jason Weaver.

SADEEK in the meantime looked as though he thought the whole thing was a great laugh. Ears pricked and jogging excitedly, he was brought back belatedly to the Winner’s Enclosure to confirm what he clearly thought. “I won!!!”.

For now, congratulations on a brilliant piece of horsemanship to Royston ffrench and for the future, more wins and less drama.