The View From The Office
This week’s long overdue View from the Office is inspired by the extraordinary story of Too Many Diamonds, who was a gallant second in Saturday’s Listed Summer Plate at Market Rasen. His is a journey of quite epic proportions and serves as a humbling reminder to us all that when they’re fighting your corner there is nothing quite as courageous as the thoroughbred.
Firstly, let’s get things straight; on a day-to-day basis I don’t have a great deal to do with Diamonds. I see him out on exercise the odd day and I’ll give him a pat over the door when I’m out and about on the yard, so I have no reason, other than Team Skelton bias, to feel quite so invested in the horse. However there is something about what he has achieved in the last fourteen months that gets me in the feels every time.
Diamonds arrived in the yard as a 72-rated maiden along with a reputation as a bit of a grouch. The grumpiness is still evident from time to time, but in just over a year this rough diamond has been transformed in to a sparkling polished performer who has improved a whopping 50-odd pounds according to his official BHA rating. Within six weeks of his arrival he was bursting out of his skin and it was a Sunday at Plumpton last May where he began to write his story. Tanking round the Sussex track with some serious swagger, he got off the mark on his 41st career start when winning by 13 lengths without coming off the bridle. Two days later he headed to Sedgefield for more of the same, and after three days in the paddock his biggest test was yet to come. Declared at Bangor on Saturday & Market Rasen on Sunday, he was to make headlines on Monday morning after achieving the notable feat of winning four races in eight days.
I remember on his return from Bangor that Saturday evening a few of us led him out for a pick of grass and he was charging around like a complete hooligan, and despite having to dig deep for his fourth win the following day, his exploits during that week pay testament to the horse’s remarkable temperament and newfound will to win. He ran some good races during the rest of that Summer but was unable to quite match the feats of that week in May, however a winter break saw him come back fighting in 2018. After a spin on the all-weather in March, Diamonds was not long in getting back to winning ways winning three on the bounce, this time over fences, at Southwell in the Spring. From lowly beginnings he was now scaling the heady heights of the mid-120s, and from 11 starts had won an incredible seven of them.
Saturday’s Listed Summer Plate at Market Rasen was next on the agenda, and was to be a big step up in class for him, albeit well-deserved following his chasing hat-trick. Travelling like a dream through the race, he turned for home with Harry motionless and ran a superb and brave race to finish half a length second to Peter Bowen’s More Buck’s. It was a bittersweet feeling, as whilst we were all extremely proud of Diamonds we all would have loved to have seen him get his day in the sun (and on ITV!) in such a prestigious race.
For me the word legend can be bandied around in a fairly willy-nilly way, but from a personal point of view I don’t think Diamonds deserves to be described as anything less. What Dan, Harry and the team have achieved with this horse is little short of genius, but without a willing partner none of this would ever have come to fruition. I think I speak for pretty much all of Team Skelton when I say he is high on the list of favourites and has become a bit of a celebrity around the yard. Horses with the tenacity, constitution and love for the game to match his are few and far between, and I find the journey of this remarkable horse extremely humbling.
One thing is for sure, in this life there aren’t too many diamonds like this one.