Welcome to British Racing, Mrs. Farish

By Rachel Pagones
Lord Joshua, a 4-year-old son of King's Theatre with two wins from 12 starts on the Flat to his credit, was the talk of the paddock when he made his hurdling debut at Kempton on Friday, Feb. 8.

The first jumper to campaign in the name of Mrs. William S. Farish, the wife of the Lane's End Farm owner who is also United States ambassador to Britain, had been purchased from Gerard Butler's stable for 130,000 guineas in last year's Tattersalls October horses in training sales. Despite the presence of French trainer Guillaume Macaire's promising chaser Domirome, Lord Joshua was sent off the 11-10 favorite in the two-mile Rasher Frith Memorial Juvenile Novices' Hurdle.

But it was the Racing Post's depiction of Mrs. Farish's silks that drew the bulk of the pre-race commentary. British silks must fall into fairly rigidly restricted patterns, with checks, chevrons, diamonds or stars on a solid background the usual trend. So when Lord Joshua's name appeared in the program next to a picture of a white shirt decorated with four navy blue frogs, racegoers took note.

"I can't see the colors too well from here, but it looks like Mick Fitzgerald (on Lord Joshua) has four little frogs on his colors," said The Racing Channel's Emma Ramsden as the field of 11 galloped to the post.

Meanwhile, back in the Racing Post's London offices, a small chuckle became a loud roar of laughter as the staff realized the technician (who shall remain nameless) responsible for printing up the silks in the programs had given a literal interpretation to the description from Wetherby's of "white with four frogs across the front". The British racing press now knows that "frogs", in American English, can signify either an amphibian or a type of braid.

The frog did not quite become a prince, as Lord Joshua raced prominently and contested the lead until the final quarter mile, when he tired visibly to finish third, beaten 11 lengths by Domirome.

Lord Joshua is among the favored horses in the ante-post betting for Cheltenham's JCB Triumph Hurdle, with William Hill having him 14-1before he ever ran over hurdles; after finishing third he's now 16-1.