Horse racing is a game of contrasting fortunes and no matter where a race is held by less than six degrees of separation and no Kevin Bacon in sight.
In Hong Kong at Shatin, Irish jockey Colm O’Donoghue who is in the city on one of those whirlwind three-month licenses where once you understand and gain support, it’s time to leave, rode his first winner of his stint.
What’s unfortunate is that there are no photographs of the jockey winning yesterday on the HKJC website or via our friends at Apple Daily.
After sudden letters from the Legal people of the SCMP last week saying “it had been brought to their notice” that we had infringed Copyright by using their photographs despite these being taken off Google Search and used by others for years, we have no option but to use old library photographs from the HKJC site.
We know: Dumb and Dumber and petty Steptoe politics.
As for Colm O’Donoghue, this winner was when the Irishman took the David Hall-trained Tres Magnifique to the front and dictated the pace from there, leading all the way at 27 to 1.
It might have been a lowly class class 4 race, but who’s counting?
A winner is a winner, O’Donoghue has a winner on the board, he has got the evil leprechaun off his back and which will, hopefully, lead to not just more rides- but rides with winning chances.
When fellow Irishmen Michael Kinane and Kieren Fallon, two of the best jockeys we have seen with incredible- and contrasting- personalities, they were world famous names and had fawning owners and trainers begging for their services.
O’Donoghue comes without the CV of those two legends of the turf and is working damn hard to be recognized and not just ride trackwork so others can jump aboard his work.
So, while it was Tres Magnifique in Hong Kong, it was tres formidable all the way over at Longchamps where the three-year-old filly Treve made a mockery of an extremely good field of Group 1 horses to win the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe by five yawning lengths.
Ridden by Thierry Jarnet, one of the most experienced jockeys in the world, it was a magnificent ride full of guile and superb timing.
Jarnet, who had won the Arc in 1992 on Subotica and in 1994 aboard Carnegie, Treve settled at the back of the 17-horse field.
Then when he clicked her up, the filly found another gear, or as the very popular trainer Christiane Head-Maark put it, “We knew she had six gears, but didn’t know about the seventh”.
This “seventh gear” made Treve quickly make his way to the front before one could blink and then easily spaced its world class rivals with the great Japanese galloper Orfevre coming in second again, Intello third, and Kizuna, fourth.
Again, in a sport of contrasting fortunes, the original rider for Treve was to have been the legendary Frankie Dettori.
This was not to be when the great Italian injured his ankle in a fall on Friday.
And so, one man’s dark cloud became someone else’s silver lining and pot of gold.
That’s racing and, when he looks back, Sunday, October 6, 2013, will be a day an Irish jockey in Hong Kong named Colm O’Donoghue will have a darn fine story to tell his mates and family- a Tres Magnifique story.