With the disappointment of Inferno’s scratching from the HKJC International Sprint subsiding, the Singapore Superstar arrived back in Singapore on Tuesday 15th to commence his 14 day stint in the quarantine stables at kranji. Assistant trainer Tony Lane has reported the big boy traveled very well, and has settled in.
The trip got off to a disastrous start when the air conditioning on the Singapore Turf Club truck which took him to the airport broke down. Without air conditioning, Inferno was left to swelter waiting to be loaded onto his horse stall for his trip to Hong Kong. Fortunately, Tony and club veterinarian Dan Shaw were on hand and were at least able to hose him down. Dan also gave him sedation as he had become extremely agitated. We have asked the club for an investigation into this calamitous incident, and as to why airport protocols were not followed when the air conditioning broke down.
Arriving the worse for ware and very dehydrated in Hong Kong it took a number of days for him to “bounce back” and get on his feed and drinking to our satisfaction. Trotting and cantering beautifully in the quarantine sand arena and on the dirt track at Sha Tin, all observers would not have detected any issues with the imposing son of Holy Roman Emperor. However, with veterinary trot ups conducted on the bitumen in the quarantine stabling area, and the knowledge he had a slight hoof problem, the decision was made in consultation with the HKJC vets, owner Glenn Whittenbury and Cliff not to risk him and scratch him on Tuesday morning.
On race day, with Inferno having his afternoon walk, he spotting other International runners returning from their races. To say he was annoyed was an understatement, as being the intelligent animal he is obviously had worked out that he should of been out there racing and was particularly annoyed at his humans for not allowing him to do so. On the whole he adapted incredibly well, was professional on the tracks, handled being on his own, and will be a far more mature and adaptable horse if he has the opportunity to travel again.
Unable to get Inferno out of HK on an earlier flight, we were able to observe and talk to other International participants over the following week. Pat from Ballydoyle who has traveled with Aiden O’Brien runners all around the globe for the past 22 years was only happy to impart his knowledge and the procedures they follow. Observing the Japanese and chatting to their interpreter, and watching the different work the horses did each morning, also gleaned many other useful facts in traveling horses abroad.
We cannot praise the HKJC club enough for the incredible professionalism and hospitality they showed on this trip. No request was to much trouble, and in particular our thanks to Evelyn Chan (who organised everything for us), Quarantine Vet Dr John O’Shea and Quarantine Manager Charlie Henson.
Stable track rider Sabri Embee, and long suffering Inferno syce Zamri Bin Maat enjoyed the trip. Naturally disappointed we didn’t race, both gained valuable experience and worked hard on the trip. For Zamri, it was his first trip on a plane and first experience abroad. Finally, our thanks to Glenn Whittenbury who was part of the decision making process well before Inferno left for HK, and throughout the entire trip.