THE INSIDE RAIL | by Sean Clancy

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Hard week. 

My phone vibrated at 5:51 Wednesday evening. I was in the kitchen, stacking dill chips on water crackers for Miles. I looked down and saw “Rog,” on my screen. Roger Horgan, my old friend who rode races with me back in the 90’s. He never calls, but I didn’t pick up on anything when I saw his name. I slid a plate to Miles and walked into the living room, answered with ease, “Hey, Rog, what’s happening?” Then I heard his voice, it quavered, “We lost a legend today...” I slumped onto the living room couch. “I just knew how close you were to him. He liked you…”

It has been said many times. A statement that turned into a cliché, it’s usually uttered by a jockey trying to balance doubt in his horse and confidence in himself. “He’ll either win or he’ll fall.”

Rarely is this sentiment actually the truth.

And then it was. At the very top of the game.

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Off to England. Sandown in the morning, easy day Sunday, Stratford or Taunton Monday, Cheltenham for four roiling days, then a day's hunting and home for Sunday dinner. Daunting but delicious. I found this in my archives, from a few years back, I don't think I can do better.

Most of it's still pertinent, although we did have a runner last year when Valdez finished fifth in the Arkle. No runners this year. Plotting and planning for next year. I'll send daily reports once I get there and hopefully continue with my Cheltenham Top 14, which was completely derailed by a trip to Florida and the numbing news about our hero Allen Jerkens, who is still in our thoughts and prayers. 

Here goes. 

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I typed the words.

“Where the hell is everybody?”

Then I paused, walked around in circles and stared into the abyss of standing water below Allen Jerkens’ barn at Gulfstream Park. It didn’t feel right.

“Did you read this?”


“In the Racing Post. It says an unidentified American owner has purchased a German horse. Sait. En. Sohn. It says the three-time hurdle winner will be transferred to Jonjo O’Neill and be pointed at the SunAlliance at Cheltenham…”