Delusionofgrandeur began his 2017 / 2018 NH season off a mark of 136, and, after his final race of the season at Cheltenham on Wednesday April 18th ended on 141.
Sandwiched in between were performances which reflected the step up into much better company, including….let me pinch myself first before I say it….a run in the greatest horse race in the world…the Aintree Grand National.
There was also Wetherbys biggest race of the season on Boxing Day, namely the Rowland Meyrick Chase, which proved to be a damned sight tougher task than ALL of his three wins in the previous season at Catterick (twice) and Wetherby, and indeed his first, and only win of the current season, again at Catterick in Nov`17.
In the Rowland Meyrick carrying 11st 2lbs he looked all over the winner when taking the lead over the last fence, but was just touched off a head and a neck by Get on the Yager and Sues other horse in the race Wakanda.
So near yet so far from a big race win, the result of which was deemed good enough to crank his mark up to a personal best of 144.
Opinions varied afterwards as to just what our fellas ideal trip would be.
There was a school of thought that he would get four miles, which is when the words “Grand National maybe” were first mooted, and one way to find out was to give it a bash.
Fast forward to Musselburgh on Saturday 3rd Feb in a Class 2 4ml 1f handicap race and a performance that provided more questions than answers as he came home a tired and distant 5th of 12.
Nevertheless it was agreed by all afterwards to put our toes in the water, and at least make an entry in the Grand National.
When the entries were published, it was pretty obvious….or so we thought at the time, we hadn`t a snowball in hells chance of qualifying.
Consequently it was decided to give him a break and head straight for Haydock on Sat 31st March for the £50k Challenge final for which Delusion qualified through his successes at Catterick.
Racing off a mark of 142 in this 0-150 hcp, this should have been an excellent opportunity for our fella to shine, even on the predicted soft going.
What happened ? More frustration !! things did not go to plan, as the entries showed NO horses rated above our 142 had been entered, thus, in this £50k race, instead of carrying an anticipated weight of 11st 4lb, we got lumbered again with top weight of 11st 12lb
Result ? another honourable performance in defeat finishing 3rd, beaten 12 lengths by Potters Legend carrying 11st …(12 lbs less than us) and Horatio Hornblower off 10st 5lb, who probably didn`t even realise he had a jockey on his back !
On to to the saga of the Grand National.
To summarise. For many weeks, we all thought there was very little chance of us getting a run, and, as most know, whilst the going change at Aintree prompted us to be on standby, it wasn`t until 24 hours before the actual race that we somehow made it into the final 40.
Surely in arguably the greatest horse race in the world, connections should have more than 24 hours notice to prepare for their thrill of a lifetime involvement in such a monumental event.
Grand National day at Aintree was a wonderful experience for all members present, but the race itself, from a selfish perspective, turned out to be a bit of an anti climax, and I will leave it to members and everyone else to form their own opinions as to whether this was the right race in which Delusionofgrandeur should have been competing.
Happy to receive any constructive comments from my 1200 plus followers.
Four days later, with Delusion in good order after his Aintree experience, Sue was happy to go to Cheltenham, which was the route we were expecting to go down if Aintree had been a non starter for us, and, in the circumstances, Delusion ran a very pleasing race….jumping with enthusiasm, and whilst no prize money was forthcoming, it was a good confidence boosting performance on which to conclude his 2017 2018 season, ready to be turned out for a summer break.
In summary, lets take stock of the story so far.
We finish the season with an 8yo gelding who is rated 142, and has raced 21 times for McGoldrick Racing.
He has won 6 races for us, been placed 12 times, and, to date. has earned gross prize money of £58,943.76.
PLUS …. excluding his last two outings at Aintree and Cheltenham, there has been only ONE other of his twenty one races for members of McGoldrick Racing, in which he has failed to earn win / place prize money for us.
Is it any wonder then that the member from Easingwold and others keep telling me how delighted they are to be involved with a class act such as Delusionofgrandeur….a wonderful example of the enjoyment and benefits of shared ownership.
So enjoy your summer break Delboy, you`ve done your best for us guys, so Sue and I will do our best to ensure we find the right opportunities next season, for you to be seen to excel.
Getting emotional now, so time to sign off.