Into every debut a little rain must fall
Like most horse trainers, Tony O’Sullivan is making good progress on the ark he is constructing to deal with the unprecedented rainfall the area is dealing with.
Qualifying races at Mohawk Racetrack were cancelled, throwing another monkey wrench into his scheduling in so far as threeyear-old pacer Beyond Delight is concerned.
The winner of last year’s Metro Pace was slated to debut but now will be looking at Monday if conditions improve. In the big scheme of things it is not a disaster, but it has O’Sullivan wondering about his plans for the colt.
“I was hoping to qualify yesterday and then in a week’s time with the idea of sending him to Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania to race in a sires stake event there. Now that may change, but I’m just not sure,” said the Cambridge horseman.
“Obviously, the schedule is geared to the North America Cup at Mohawk in June. One wants him to peak at the right time but it might end up that he stays in his own stall at Classy Lane Training Centre until then. He’ll tell me.”
Beyond Delight is one of the most interesting horses to watch this spring. Last season he made 11 starts earning $423,000 before the decision was made to stop him with an eye to this season.
“An error was made in giving him too much time off after winning the Champlain Stake in September. I have learned that he is a better horse while he is racing. He needs to get behind that starting gate to get his focus,” says O’Sullivan.
“Instead, he was off four weeks and I knew he was behind in his training, so rather than scramble, we just stopped.”
With the benefit of hindsight, how does O’Sullivan feel about that decision now?
“Nothing has changed. He has trained OK over the winter but I feel he’s got to get racing. I’ve schooled him a couple times, and even there he was better the second time,” he said.
“I’d heard that his great grandsire Cam Fella was a horse that did not race well when trainer Pat Crowe gave him time off. But when raced hard and trained hard he responded. I think Beyond Delight is like that, too. And like Cam Fella and his own sire Bettors Delight, he is not a big horse although he thickened up nicely over the winter. And he likes money — that can mean a lot.”
O’Sullivan may well be correct, but few in the industry seem to have accorded Beyond Delight little recognition. But it’s not the first time observers have been wrong.
Almost all of the offseason attention has been focused on rivals Huntsville and Down by the seaside, both sons of Some beach somewhere, and O’ Sullivan understands why.
“Those two are by the leading sire, and physically they have a lot of presence. Ideally, I would like to see our colt taller but he isn’t, and being a bigger horse can be a twoedged sword, too. Being larger can take a physical toll.”
Last year was last year and everyone is starting with a clean slate. Beyond Delight was a gifted juvenile and now has to show that he can make the transition to the next level.
“He was a $50,000 yearling purchase by his owner Jeff Snyder, so he has a licence to be a good horse, which he is. I cannot say for sure he will be this year but I like what I see, and if I’m right that he will keep raising the bar with each start, they will know he’s a horse they’ll have to beat.”