The Newmarket trainer's Phantom House base has been more an infirmary than a racing establishment for much of 1993, as Jarvis and his team have struggled to shake off the virus. Yesterday, though, the painful memory of what had gone before was erased in less than 100 seconds.
'We've had a very disappointing year up to now, but the hard work from all the lads at home has paid off,' Jarvis said. 'It's been difficult because some of the owners have not stuck by us, but Lord Howard (de Walden, Grand Lodge's owner) has.'
De Walden, who sported an apricot rose to match his colours, now has dreams of a 2,000 Guineas win to sustain him throughout his 81st year. Jarvis will be similarly gripped by anticipation. 'You ought to start buying shares in cotton wool because that's what this horse is going to be wrapped in all winter. It's very exciting to have a horse like him.'
Two furlongs out yesterday, however, the prospect of victory seemed remote. Grand Lodge looked to be running into obscurity as he went into the Dip, Pat Eddery a flailing and forlorn figure on his back. 'The main thing was to keep him relaxed but he got switched off a little bit too much,' the jockey reported. 'But when I got hold of him he really ran on. He's a brave horse and the mile will really suit him next year.'
But with the field crammed like lemmings at the line, there were plenty suggesting an ugly fate for the horses involved yesterday. The first six home were covered by less than three lengths and the time for the race was slower than the fillies took to complete the Rockfel Stakes earlier in the afternoon.
Grand Lodge is nevertheless a 14-1 chance for the Guineas, in which he will bid to continue the compelling recent record of the Dewhurst. The last three winners, Zafonic, Dr Devious and Generous, have each gone on to win a Classic.
Peter Chapple-Hyam, the trainer of the Dewhurst runner-up, Stonehatch, appeared to have his Guineas hopes dented earlier in the day when the talking horse of the season, Kalkabrino, finished fourth on his racecourse debut. The Manton trainer, though, was far from despondent.
'He's run great, considering that was the fourth piece of work he's had,' he said. 'Two weeks ago he was still walking and you know that I don't rush mine. I think he'll be a nice horse.' Kalkabrino is generally a 33-1 shot for the first colts' Classic.
The emphatic Rockfel winner, Luca Cumani's Relatively Special, is another whose promise will carry connections hopefully through the darker months. 'It's something to keep us warm during the winter, thinking about how good she might be,' the Newmarket trainer said. 'She's a smashing filly who is bred to be a mile horse and she looks as though she'll get a bit further. .'
The Italian was unusually buoyant about the filly's prospects in the Classic and urged those around him to have an ante-post wager. '20-1 is a nice price for her,' he said. But not an enduring one and by the end of the day William Hill had reduced Relatively Special's odds to 14-1.Reuse content