Dalgety in isolation in Auckland
By Michael Guerin
Trainer Cran Dalgety’s Bathurst Gold Crown celebration party isn’t going exactly as planned.
But it is going to be a long one. Two weeks long.
That is how long Dalgety will be trapped in the Novotel Hotel at Auckland Airport after being forced into quarantine when returning from overseeing Dr Susan’s group one A$100,000 win at Bathurst on Saturday night.
Dalgety, who trains the filly in partnership with Nathan Purdon, flew back from the successful Sydney campaign expecting to continue through to Christchurch and then into isolation at home in Canterbury.
But the jovial horseman got a shock when he was informed of the new Covid-19 protocols at Auckland airport that meant if he didn’t have somewhere to self-isolate within a five hour drive he had to go into forced quarantine at the Novotel, which is 50m from the Auckland Airport International Terminal.
“I think I missed the cut off by a day or two,” laments Dalgety.
“So basically I am in lock down in the Novotel, which could be worse, at least I got a nice hotel.
“But the rooms are quite small and has no opening windows and I am only allowed outside for 20 minutes a day.
“I was hoping to be able to use the gym but we aren’t so I am going to try to get the running shoes on and make the most of the 20 minutes.
“My daughter has sent me an exercise app so I can work out in the room, but there isn’t much room to do that either.”
Dalgety gets food brought to the room three times a day but it is left at the door and he isn’t allowed to collect it until the staff members who drops it off is gone.
For a country boy and one who loves his fitness so much he has completed the fame Coast to Coast this is a less than ideal situation.
“It is not great but I understand the situation and I just have to make the most of it.
“I have my phone and my laptop so I can work a bit but I have watched Dr Susan’s win on Saturday night plenty of times already.”
Dr Susan has travel problems of her own; Dalgety was keen to get her to Perth for the West Australian Oaks but those plans have been shelved.
“We could fly her but no groom cause it also would have meant whoever flew with her had to self isolate 14 days both there and on the way back which is not practical.
“So she has gone for a spell at Benstud, which is hardly ideal because she is fit and ready to race on.
“Technically we could have kept racing her in NSW but she would have been rated a free-for-all grade horse and that is not fair on her.
“The real shame is she is racing so well and could have gone there and then the Queensland Oaks but that carnival has been canned.
“So will have a break and we will have to look at next season.”
Dalgety laughs when he thinks of how Dr Susan nearly threw away both her group one wins this season, in the Victoria Oaks and on Saturday.
Both time she galloped in the score up and caused a false start before recovering to lead throughout at the second attempt.
“She does that when she is really well, she clenches her tail between her legs and gallops,” says Dalgety.
“And you wouldn’t believe it, it is hereditary.
“Her grand dam Sparks A Flyin (who won a NSW Oaks) did it and so did her dam Safedra.
“I sent her (Safedra) to Luke McCarthy to be trained a few years ago and she was hot favourite for a A$50,00 race in Queensland and she did the same thing and blew the start.
“It is funny because Dr Susan is a lovely quiet filly most of the time but she gets too well for her own good some race nights.”
Dalgety might be feeling the same for much of the next two weeks.
So if you are a mate of the man in the colourful shirts don’t be scared to reach out over the next 13 days. Dalgety will have plenty of time on his hands.