Couple of days ago, I was chuckling about 1974, when Rodney Jenkins alarmed the international teams in London by sweeping a couple of the big-money, big-prestige classes – with his second and third string. They were, shall we say, a little concerned about Idle Dice. And well they should have been.
Idle Dice was bought off the track by someone with a marvellous eye (but who made one major mistake here) for a paltry sum. He was to be a hunter. Yeah right, said Idle Dice. He was, therefore, sold to someone with an eye for talent, and presented to Rodney Jenkins as a mount, and the rest is history.
After a few days of rest from the trans-Atlantic trip, Rodney brought Idle Dice out for the final class, the one everyone and his great-aunt Louise wanted to win. I watched them warm up. They flatted for a while, doing very, very respectable third-level dressage. Then trotted a couple of crossrails. Then cantered a couple of low (and I mean the kind I could have jumped) verticals. Then the groundsman set up a vertical at 5 feet (top of the standards). No filler. Just a ground rail and the white pole. Rodney looped the reins, put Idle Dice into a nice working TROT, and hopped over this one and went into the ring, to win the class. I lost my heart to that horse right then and there.