SMART Call, trainer Alec Laird’s 2016 J&B Met winner, has arrived in the United Kingdom from Mauritius where she’d spent the last few months in quarantine.
Awaiting Jessica Slack’s filly at Abington Place, Newmarket, was travelling handler Steven Jell, Smart Call’s groom Moffat, as well as Eric and Abram, employees of Mauritzfontein Stud.
Also on the photo below is Jell’s dog Ace, a renowned world traveller, who flew in on a separate flight to be with his boss, who will be spending the next six months abroad looking after Smart Call (until she departs for the US) and a group of Mike de Kock’s runners destined for Dubai.
Jell detailed the gruelling trip endured by Smart Call and her travelling companions. “The horses flew from Mauritius to Nairobi in Kenya yesterday, where they spent three hours at the airport; then flew on to Liege in Belgium. The trip took about 13 hours, followed by a further 3-hour road trip from Liege to the so-called “Horse Hotel” in Amsterdam, where they got a deserved 12-hour rest.
“Today there was a further nine-hour trip from Amsterdam to Newmarket which included a Ferry Trip across the English Channel. After having to endure all that, they’ve arrived, they’re fine. Smart Call travelled well, she went for a walk this afternoon.”
Smart Call is likely to have a run in the UK before flying out to the US. Jessica Slack commented last week: “Alec has a prep run planned for her (in the UK) in October and after that we hope to go to the Breeders’ Cup in the US in November. We’re holding thumbs, Alec’s a genius and if all goes well we will have a runner in the Turf Race at Santa Anita Park. We know how hard it is for fillies to travel, so we’re taking things step by step. What must happen, will happen.”