2) See The World – Wincanton (29 January 2015)
A slightly controversial choice, this, for my second in the series as you could argue that this horse should have won for the class he showed through 90% of the race, despite putting himself in an almost impossible position in the other 10% around the home bend.
The background to this story is that I’d interviewed Barry Fenton on Lambourn gallops during my Around The Races In Eighty Days odyssey in 2015. As assistant trainer at Emma Lavelle’s yard he had brought up two young horses to the all-weather schooling area and was keeping a keen eye on them learning their trade.
As they popped away, rhythmic and nimble over the fences, Barry revealed that the big one ridden by Aiden Coleman was Bit Of Bob, an unraced brother to See The World – the horse that had infamously won his bumper a few months earlier after hanging so badly left off the home bend that he virtually ran off the course.
It’s unclear exactly what was going that day at Wincanton. It’s very hard for See The World to tell us as horses have adapted remarkably well to the modern world but have (so far) failed to evolve the power of speech (human speech anyway – perhaps we should be evolving to talk horsey?) Racecourse debutants often run “a bit green” but this was as violently green as you’ll ever see, verging on the insane.
He ended up running straight towards a cameraman, suggesting a precocious desire for fame, before dawdling around and realising that there was still a race going on with two furlongs left. 15 lengths adrift in fifth, and still arsing around like a wobbly uncle at a wedding disco, he then consented to move something approximating a forward direction with increasing haste.
When the horse ran wide the commentator speculated that something had gone wrong with the steering equipment. When See The World then rallied and sluiced home (hard held in the end to win by a cosy four and a half lengths) past none other than AP McCoy aboard Lincoln County, the commentator said simply “I can’t believe what we’re seeing!”. Me too.
After his stunning victory the now seven year old has run a further five times over hurdles and fences without winning, but without the histrionics either. His last race was in June when he was pulled up. Perhaps on his first outing to a racecourse he decided he wanted to see a bit of the real world (geddit?) before realising that it’s much better being a racehorse.
However, that day at a wintry Wincanton See The World was special, in more than one meaning of the word. He demonstrated a sublime ability partnered with a destructive streak, not unlike an equine version of Gazza. I hope both will be remembered for their brilliance rather than their barmyness.