If you managed to read the tweets of Steve Ayres without choking, you’re a stronger man than me gunga din.
Steve is the second head lad at the stables of trainer Alan King. I like King and the trainer expressed how sad he was when his Balder Succes had to be put down on Sunday morning. The horse fell in the Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday. Once it became clear that the shoulder could not be repaired, King was left with no realistic choice but to agree that the vet in Liverpool had to end the life of a horse that all punters liked. But his connections loved.
And nobody loved Balder Succes more than Steve Ayres. He movingly expressed that love via his Twitter feed.
Steve posted photographs of him with the horse he looked after so well. Steve tweeted: “This is what you are to me ‘bald’. Goodnight my brother, I will love you forever. I will never ever forget you, my best friend. I’m so sorry. Thanks for the memories. Life will never be the same RIP BALDER my beautiful.”
The racing fraternity responded accordingly and, in their thousands, contacted Steve and Alan King to express their condolences. For which both men were duly grateful. Steve tweeted: “I would just like to thank everyone for your tweets today, cried all day and going to cry a bit more, you are all amazing.“
We see the stable lads and lassies walking back to the winners’ enclosure smiling when the horse they look after triumphs. But, of course, only one gets to do that each time. The majority of horses never win a race. But to those who care for them that makes not a jot of difference.
You should see the work these people do. I have and it’s amazing. Up with the lark each day. Paid peanuts compared to the shifts they put in, stable lads and girls are the backbone of racing. They work tirelessly. They love and look after horses as though they were their own and I have no idea how they cope when a horse they cherish dies.
I hope to film interviews with some of these wonderful people later this year. Until you’ve seen a day in the life of those who work at stables, you cannot fully appreciate how devoted they are to their job.
On Monday morning Steve Ayres went back to work. He had to look in on an empty stable. One in which he’d spent so much time and, judging from the short videos he had posted in the past, the venue where he and Balder Succes shared some fun moments.
Balder Succes won prize money for connections totalling £353.045. They’d hand back every penny to have him back in his box.