Everything's peachy as Glamour Puss settles in


The speedy mare has been quick to make a new friend as she prepares for Ascot, writes Stephen Howell in London

GLAMOUR Puss has made herself at home in the plush Park House stables of English trainer Andrew Balding at Kingsclere, near Newbury. So much so that she has a new best mate, a four-year-old bay mare called Peach Galette.

The Australian and the English mare paired up from day one, and now Glamour Puss does not like to be separated from her friend, as The Age discovered when it called last week. Strapper Julie Guerrisi has travelled from Melbourne with her, and when she took Glamour Puss for her afternoon swim and pick of grass the mare whinnied to return to her box, and Peach Galette's answering call had Glamour Puss drag Guerrisi back to the barn.

But not before the mare had done three laps of the stable pool and left her "calling card" floating in the water, much to the annoyance of the dozen stablehands stripped off to enjoy the afternoon sun and the high-20s temperature with a dip in the horse pool.

Guerrisi, laughing, said Glamour Puss had made herself at home and, in racing parlance, had pulled up a treat.

She lost only three kilograms from her 450-kilogram frame on the 30-hour trip that began in Melbourne late on Friday, May 24, and had stops at Singapore and Dubai before touching down at Heathrow, about an hour from Kingsclere.

The mare still had on her airline bridle with her name engraved, but at about $20,000 a one-way flight, that is definitely not a steal.

Guerrisi, 25, on her first overseas trip, travelled in comfort on a separate part of the jumbo. Glamour Puss and Takeover Target (a gelding) were together in the care of a trained groom. The stallion Falkirk, Australia's other sprint invader, was in a separate compartment.

While Takeover Target is the English racing writers' focus because of the story of cab-driver/trainer Joe Janiak racing his $1300 purchase in front of the Queen at Royal Ascot this month, Glamour Puss also will be one of the favourites. On Thursday a television crew filmed Guerrisi riding her work.

Glamour Puss and Guerrisi are great mates, too, the strapper and track rider proud of the mare's two group 1 wins (the Goodwood and the Salinger) and her group 2 victory in The Age Classic during the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Trainer Danny O'Brien told Guerrisi at the stable Christmas party that he hoped she had her passport so she could travel with Glamour Puss, but the strapper said because he had had a couple of drinks she waited for confirmation later.


She is enjoying the experience, and hopes to catch up with relatives in Italy when Glamour Puss goes into quarantine for her return.

Scheduled races are the group 2 King's Stand (1000 metres, Ascot, June 20), the group 1 Golden Jubilee (1200 metres, Ascot, June 24) and the July Cup (1200 metres, Newmarket, July 14).

Last Thursday, after Glamour Puss' exercise, Guerrisi changed the straw (shredded paper, not the real thing) in stall 83 of Park House's Selkirk Yard, did her feet and fed her, Peach Galette stretching her neck to share some hay.

"She generally favours chestnuts," Guerrisi said of Glamour Puss. "Usually she kicks other bays, but this one she loves."

The stables are in serene, silent and verdant country with in-house training tracks and "downs" tracks nearby. Glamour Puss had her first fast work on Tuesday, and that was only over 800 metres, with the final 400 in 26 seconds.

Guerrisi has been in daily contact with O'Brien and said she was keeping Glamour Puss' program as close to normal as possible until the trainer arrives next weekend, and he would decide the final schedule.

It has been so close to normal, in fact, that although the pool is built to allow continuous laps, Guerrisi leads Glamour Puss from the water after each one because that is what has to be done in the Flemington pool.

And before each lap the mare has her usual play and splash, testing the water with her front legs.

The key is to keep her fresh, because that is when she races best, but to have her fit enough to handle the hills on the English tracks.

Guerrisi said Balding and his staff had been good to the visitors.

"They basically pulled out the red carpet for me," she said. "Andrew said, 'do whatever you want'."

Guerrisi brought food from Melbourne for Glamour Puss and Balding has ordered more to suit.

Glamour Puss is relaxed and she rolls and lies down in her stall.

All she needs to run well, it seems, is to hurry home in her big races so she can get back to her stall alongside Peach Galette.


She is enjoying the experience, and hopes to catch up with relatives in Italy when Glamour Puss goes into quarantine for her return.

Scheduled races are the group 2 King's Stand (1000 metres, Ascot, June 20), the group 1 Golden Jubilee (1200 metres, Ascot, June 24) and the July Cup (1200 metres, Newmarket, July 14).

Last Thursday, after Glamour Puss' exercise, Guerrisi changed the straw (shredded paper, not the real thing) in stall 83 of Park House's Selkirk Yard, did her feet and fed her, Peach Galette stretching her neck to share some hay.

"She generally favours chestnuts," Guerrisi said of Glamour Puss. "Usually she kicks other bays, but this one she loves."

The stables are in serene, silent and verdant country with in-house training tracks and "downs" tracks nearby. Glamour Puss had her first fast work on Tuesday, and that was only over 800 metres, with the final 400 in 26 seconds.

Guerrisi has been in daily contact with O'Brien and said she was keeping Glamour Puss' program as close to normal as possible until the trainer arrives next weekend, and he would decide the final schedule.

It has been so close to normal, in fact, that although the pool is built to allow continuous laps, Guerrisi leads Glamour Puss from the water after each one because that is what has to be done in the Flemington pool.

And before each lap the mare has her usual play and splash, testing the water with her front legs.

The key is to keep her fresh, because that is when she races best, but to have her fit enough to handle the hills on the English tracks.

Guerrisi said Balding and his staff had been good to the visitors.

"They basically pulled out the red carpet for me," she said. "Andrew said, 'do whatever you want'."

Guerrisi brought food from Melbourne for Glamour Puss and Balding has ordered more to suit.

Glamour Puss is relaxed and she rolls and lies down in her stall.

All she needs to run well, it seems, is to hurry home in her big races so she can get back to her stall alongside Peach Galette.

by Stephen Howell - The Age

Read the full article at The Age.

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