With great build up and excitement, the Arolos Cup runner race was
preparing to start with each of the runners being paraded in front of
the seating area that over looked the start and finish line of the
gruelling circuit. All along the course people lined up in crowds ,
craning their necks eagerly to see their chosen runner strive to do
their best and earn them a fortune.
Last minute bets escalated as time drew close for the off, people
chancing their luck in the vain hope that the lack of marks would
miraculously be turned around.
Everyone was considering the form right up to the last seconds where
the runners milled around jostling for position, even as Lord Prental stood
and the with a dramatic motion, waved the flag to start the race!
They were off!
Queen’s Glory took no hesitation in taking the lead with blurs of grey, red, and black clustering behind him. The pack of runners charged towards the first fence. Some Arolos Cups started out slow and some started out with a bang. This was the latter. Queen’s Glory cleared the first fence, followed by the shining white of Silverstrike and Silversquared. Wher’s Kiss was right on their heels, and then Fearless Perfection, and then it was hard to distinguish anyone else from the pack until you got to Thread’s Folly trailing in dead last and fighting with his jockey. The stallion balked at the jump and threw his jockey before running off toward the crowd.
Onward and unaware of the loose runner behind, the forerunner surged toward the next jump. The sound of their hooves thundered over the ground as they headed as a tight pack toward the log jump. Queen’s Glory and Silverstrike ran neck-and-neck with Silversquared and Wher’s Kiss watching for their chance. Fearless Perfection lead the pack behind them with small Silverbell putting in a great show against the much larger runners. Always Lucky and Flits-a-Flamin’ pressed close with Tastes-Like-Chocolate and Starlight Guardian and Perennial Bloom at the back.
They took the next jump and then the next and then another without any problems, but with each jump, the packs loosened and strung out until the distance between the front and the back widened. Then came the water jump. Queen’s Glory and Silverstrike took it almost together, coming over the top and landing to continue on. Wher’s Kiss’ jockey, trying to save time, mis-timed the jump and the runner slammed hard into the jump itself. He went flying over it and skidded, landing in a heap of broken runner and jockey as riders attempted to avoid him.
Silversquared was too close. He managed not to collide with the downed runner and rider, but he threw his jockey.
There was chaos for a moment as the rest of the jockeys navigated around the runners, but no one else went down and as soon as they were clear healers and beastcrafters ran in to help.
In the chaos, the order had changed entirely. Queen’s Glory and Silverstrike ran on unhindered and in their own private race toward the next jump while somehow the runner everyone had counted out, Hard Luck, had navigated through to lead just behind Starlight Guardian, Flits-a-Flamin’, and Watch Dragon were just behind and all running hard with only three jumps left. Always Lucky ran further back with Fearless Perfection and Perennial Bloom
The next jump was a water jump and at the last minute Flits-A-Flamin ran out to the side, ditching the track entirely rather than to take the jump. Always Lucky moved up to take her spot instead.
At the next jump, Perennial Bloom continued to fall further behind and never recovered, unable to keep up with the competition. She came in last. Fearless Perfection was just in front of her, being a speed horse and using all his energy in the initial burst trying to keep up with Queen’s Glory and Silver Strike.
Silverbell and Starlight Guardian fought to stay in the game as they neared the end, racing against each other even though they’d already lost the over all race. In the end Starlight pulled ahead of Silverbell by a head.
The last jump loomed and Queen’s Glory and Silverstrike were still head-to-head. Hard Luck had made his move and was pressing on them hard as they came over the jump and then made the turn to the finish line. Watch Dragon came out of seeming nowhere to lead the second group of runners with Always Lucky, Flits-a-Flamin’ and Tastes-Like-Chocolate coming in behind him.
Down the stretch they came. Any concerns that Sarati could jockey Queen’s Glory were erased as she bent low on his neck and urged him to give just a little more. The crop came down once, twice as she urged him to find one last gear and the golden stallion accelerated and pulled away. The crowd roared as the finishline loomed and then they were under it.
Queen’s Glory won by half a length.
Winners: 2nd - Silverstrike
3rd - Hard Luck
4th- Watch Dragon