Originally posted on John W Hills:

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So, we landed in Washington DC, on Concorde, on time. To be greeted by a new phenomenon. The mobile Jetway. You think your on the ground, technically you are, you think your in America, yes, but in fact you actually have yet to arrive. Instead you are now driving around an Airport in what amounts to a mobile waiting lounge, cool.

It takes you to America and those incredibly welcoming immigration staff. Recent films like Three Days Of The Condor, The Marathon Man and half a dozen other sinister ones like Get Carter run through your teenage mind. Apart from School authority and childish rivalry this is the first experience of real unfriendliness and interrogation you have ever encountered. The default setting is you must be a settler, an alien until proven otherwise. The United States is a wonderful country and I admire it greatly but, and I didn’t know…

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  1. Enjoyable snapshot, and it triggered one of mine. I was visiting a racehorse owner friend in the UK around the Royal Ascot meeting in 1986. This was the year of, among others, Dancing Brave. There were three Irish trainers who also stayed with my (generous) friend for the Royal meeting, including the (amusingly) above-mentioned Mick O’Toole. What a character, and what a fierce punter!

    We were all at the races, and there was a two-year-old filly from Nureyev’s first crop (if memory serves), owned by Sheikh Mohammed, which was sent off as the hot favorite to land the Listed Blue Seal Stakes. She made a fine appearance, and to my mind was likely to prove unbeatable. But at something like two-to-one-on (1/2), she did not strike me as an attractive betting proposition. O’ Toole, however, had a different view. He asked me what I thought, I told him that I considered her to be a near-certainty, and he stunned me by striking a wager that could have bought a decent country house in Ireland at the time.

    He won that one, much to my relief, but apparently wasn’t always as lucky.

    Another amusing note from the same trip: One of the other Irish trainers, who shall remain nameless, made a big bet on a talented, highly touted, though erratic Irish four-year-old colt that had shipped in for the Gr. II Hardwicke Stakes (12f.). The horse progressed until there was about a quarter-mile left, then drifted out badly and began to retreat, at which point the trainer exclaimed “What a c*nt of a horse!”.

    That horse was Theatrical, subsequent winner of five Gr. I races in the U.S. under the care of Bill Mott, including the1987 Breeders’ Cup.

    1. Theatrical, my favourite. I trained Broadway Flyer by him, he was a September yearling, $50,000 bred by the great golfer Gary Player. He was a multiple Group winner who finished 2nd in the St Leger. Interestingly we sold him and Bill Mott won a G1 with him at 5.
      We need more stallions like Theatrical to give us an excuse to come come back to Lexington.

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