What’s in a name? We’ve had the bizarrely named Horsey McHorseface, Maythehorsebewithu and Ha Ha Ha, all of which can be particularly troublesome for commentators to call come race day, while the general racing public will be supplied with brief humorous moments upon casting scrutinising eyes at their racecards. But what drives someone to invest so much money on a thoroughbred only to label it with an embarrassingly poor name is beyond me. Thankfully, there seem to be more good names than bad in the world of thoroughbred horse racing.
But what of Blonde Me, good or bad? Who cares, right? She’s a very special mare either way.
The six-year-old has been the star performer for the Andrew Balding stable this season. Her impressive campaign started in May, a full-of-running victory in the Group Two Middleton Stakes at York, beating John Gosden’s The Black Princess by 1 & 1/4 lengths on the Knavesmire. Next came a trip to Glorious Goodwood and the Group One Nassau Stakes. The daughter of Tamayuz was the unfancied 16/1 outsider of the field, and despite this, she still managed to finish a valiant second behind Aiden O’Brien’s star filly Winter—who had racked-up three Group Ones before that Nassau run.
Disappointment (and relief) in France
Andrew Balding then set Blonde Me the task of tackling the Group One Prix Vermeille in Chantilly. However, things didn’t go to plan in France, five furlongs out she stumbled badly, dropping to the rear before being significantly eased by Oisin Murphy, eventually trailing the field home in last place some 90 lengths off the winner, Bateel. Clearly, this was not a true reading of her abilities, but merely a race to forget. And more importantly she was unscathed, making the trip back across the channel returning safely home to Park House Stables in Berkshire.
Next up, Woodbine, Canada—the Grade One Fillies & Mares Turf was the target.
As the bell rang the seven runners burst from their gates, jockey Oisin Murphy quickly switching Blonde Me off settling her nicely towards the rear. She galloped majestically down the back-straight, perspiring an ever-willing attitude, enthused in her own enjoyment. Only on the entrance to the home bend did Murphy ask the Andrew Balding favourite for a little more effort and she seemed to grab at the turf more ferociously which propelled her onward—weaving her way through the field. Once in the home-straight Murphy tried to angle the six-year-old out, however, for the briefest of moments she wanted to duck back in behind the USA mare Kitten’s Roar; Murphy had to reassert her focus, and in the blink of an eye she responded. Now, with the winning post in sight, the final phase of her task could commence. Blonde Me was brave, drawing level and dusting shoulders with Kitten’s Roar, looking the competition directly in the eye before asserting inside the final furlong crossing the line one length ahead of her American rival. And by doing so securing the biggest win of her career.
Blonde Me may face one finally assignment before her well-earned retirement, a trip to Hong Kong has been rumoured.