One of the marks of a Cumani runner is in the simple gear – a kind snaffle bit, a cavesson noseband as much for “dress” as to keep the horse’s jaw softly closed, and the safety of an Irish martingale. So when CHALCIDIAN stepped out at Stawell to run and win over 1100m under jockey Teodore Nugent, it was out of the ordinary to see the 4YO mare fitted with a tongue-tie and blinkers.

With only one start as a late 2YO, her 3YO preparation included a win over 1200m at home track Ballarat and several starts that showed tantalising promise. CHALCIDIAN has always been keen and able to run, but frustratingly unable to hang on until the finish line. Her head carriage is too high but the application of a shadow roll, designed so that a horse must lower its head in order to see over it and so free the shoulder and lengthen the stride, was to no avail. Although no jockey reported that she made a sound indicating her breathing was affected, Matt applied the tongue-tie just to ensure her airway would be unobstructed. Success today.

Here’s hoping now she can build on her record of 11 starts: 2-1-2 and be worthy of her sire Helmet’s name, the bronze one worn in battle in the Hellenic world two-and-half thousand years ago.



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