By Jon Lees
USA: Godolphin filly Micheline is set to line up in Saturday’s G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland as an outsider – quite literally.
The three-year-old suffers so badly from claustrophobia that she spends her life outdoors in a specially constructed stall.
Her special accommodation has travelled with her from trainer Mike Stidham’s Maryland base along with companion horse Colonel. “Whenever she ships to another track, that stall goes with her,” said Stidham.
Micheline has rewarded the attention to detail with four wins, the latest in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs.
The stall, consisting of four wood-lined farm gates with fitted grey tarpaulin for a ceiling, has been assembled outside the Stidham barn, with Colonel inside the main barn.
While being trained in Florida early in her career, Micheline was so claustrophobic that she was turned out in a paddock before an outdoor stall was built when she relocated to Fair Hill, Maryland.
“She lived there for the summer and then last winter when we went to Tampa Bay Downs, Godolphin bought her a portable stall so she could live just outside the barn,” Stidham explained.
“She has been at Fair Hill since her last race and has been training well. We are happy that we were invited to the Queen Elizabeth II.”
Florent Geroux will ride Micheline at Keeneland. Stidham and Geroux won the 2015 QE II Cup with Her Emmynency.