Rodrigo Gonzales at Bangor

Rodrigo Gonzales wins on Imprint Sport at Bangor

Rodrigo Gonzales at Bangor

What a week! After an awful season last season Rodrigo Gonzales bounced back to the horse we hoped he would be over fences to win at Bangor last night under an inspired ride by Warren and the whole team deserve the congratulations as it was a huge team effort to get him back.

… We couldn’t really see him beating the Paul Nicholl’s trained favourite, Font, unless Warren tried to outstay him but with a doubt about Gonzo’s fitness that was also a worry. We’ve taken him regularly to Jon Trice-Rolph’s for gymnastic jumping so it is thanks to Jon too as he put in some awesome leaps and was even quick when wrong at the last. In a battle from 2 out with Font we were worried that match fitness would go in Font’s favour but you don’t take Gonzo on in a fight and get the upper hand as we all saw last night! Both jockeys had their heads down driving to the line after the last and both nearly collided with a section of white running rail but luckily Gonzo saw it and avoided it and, although Font came off worse, Gonzo won pulling away again so the result would never have been any different.

… A huge thank you to my farrier, Phil Brush, too as Gonzo’s feet have got quite brittle and he was sore after Phil shod him last week so Phil, (knowing I was stressed as I was keen to run him last night, Gonzo felt awesome and I knew the forecast meant that we would probably get our ground), sourced some ‘stick on shoes’ (Imprint Sport) for his front feet and they have done the trick. Without them he certainly wouldn’t have run last night as he was too sore with nails in and as the old saying goes ‘no foot, no horse’!

Every win is special but this was really special as Gonzo has done so much for our yard with his wins in 2007/2008 which really put us on the map and also with a few people doubting him after last season’s disasters it was great to get him back and confirm to all how good he is. … So a massive team effort to get him there and to get him into the number one spot makes it all so very worthwhile. A huge party is planned as by the time Belinda, myself, Gonzo and his trusty travelling companion, Belinda’s 30 year old pony Onny (Gonzo is a very bad traveller) got home it wasn’t far off midnight and most of the team were probably tucked up in bed! We’d stopped to buy carrots and champagne on the way home – Onny and Gonzo were very grateful for the carrots and Belinda & myself drank champagne watching the re-run – several times!!

Happy people make happy horses and we are all certainly very happy this morning especially our Stable Star himself who was strutting around his Paddock when we turned him out first thing this morning!

This is an extract from Martin Keighley’s blog, Wednesday 22nd July 2009, just click on the website link for more about Martin keighley Racing .