Thank you one and all ...


A very busy morning

Wednesday, 03 July 2019

"One may miss the mark by aiming too high as too low."

Thomas Fuller.

Mereside out and cantering

Today is very similar to yesterday. The temperature is starting to rise as the day goes on and with no wind, it is getting quite oppressive. We have been getting horses out as early as possible - cantering, walking, lunging and turning out - a wide variety of activities this morning. All has gone well so far and let’s hope they start to run well in the near future. It has been a frustrating time but I think we are now starting to turn the corner.

Back in after exercise

It was the AGM of the Racehorse Owners Association yesterday and the president, in his speech, suggested that we should have a different way of collecting the levy. It has been 16 years since we went to the profit based system which has been a disaster with the levy going down most years. It must be on turnover or point of consumption tax now and as they say, 1% of the bookmaker’s turnover would be way and above what we are getting now. The media rights was another topic and that the racecourses should be putting at least 50% of their media rights, which are around £150m a year, into prize money rather than the paltry bit we get now. It is the only way forward and if it is not sorted now it will come to a head at some stage.


The new chair of the BHA made her first speech at the owners AGM and concentrated on welfare, both equine and human. I am sure this is why she was selected as we seem to be paranoid nowadays in this direction. Mind you the headline on the front of the Racing Post is how the clerk of the course at Doncaster has nearly had a breakdown with all the criticism he receives. You can never please everybody and clerks have to be very thick skinned but honest with their ground assessments. Doncaster is one of those tracks which is soft one minute but firms up very quickly. With the 48 hour declarations we have to do nowadays there are always going to be problems and we all know which tracks are the worst and who are the most untruthful clerks. They want runners as they get more media rights with full fields and a little cover up can mean more money for the racecourses. There is far too much racing with so many meetings this week and next. There needs to be somebody with some authority to sort the whole mess out.

Velvet Vision having a nice pick of grass after her cooling shower


The new Curragh has its problems

Tuesday, 02 July 2019

"The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."

Samuel Johnson.

Roof Garden pulled out ready for exercise

It’s a different kind of morning in that there is no wind and the temperature is quickly rising in the sunshine. It looks like staying this way for the rest of the week so the ground will certainly be getting on the fast side and, with July week looming, the clerks of the courses will be splashing water everywhere. We have had a mixture of cantering, turnouts and walkers today and everything has gone as well as expected. Another rider would certainly come in handy though.

... and cantering up Hamilton Hill

It sounds like the new Curragh had plenty of problems with their three day meeting and very few people turned up. There were fewer than 3,000 on the first day, just over 3,000 on the second day and then 11,000 for the Derby itself. By all accounts the bars were undermanned with very long queues, as were the ones for the loos as well, which evidently there were not enough of. For the life of me I cannot understand why the architects who designed these building don’t understand how it all works. The public go racing to watch the competition, have a bet, something to drink, a bite to eat and all with good facilities. It sounds to me like none of these were available. I hope they can sort it out quickly or they will be in trouble.

     04_Isaac     08_Garrel
(L-R) Isaac Murphy and Garrel Glen turned out in the paddocks

It was very sad to read of the death of John Corcoran who was the founder of Paddy Power Racing. He amalgamated his betting shops with two others and Paddy Power was formed. I met him a few times and he was the most charming of men, always interested in what you were doing and great fun. He was a very successful business man in other ways but he loved the horses and had many successes with his great friend Jim Bolger. Our condolences go to all his family and friends

Velvet Voice

There was another jockey banned last night at Windsor, this time for 13 days. The number of strokes over the limit was not announced but watching the film back it looks to me like 15, which is way above the mark. The only way, and I have said it so many times, is to ban these jockeys for at least a month, if not more, and disqualify the horse. It would soon sort this matter out and we wouldn’t have any more problems. The BHA has got to grip it by the horns, take no notice of anybody- be it bookmakers, punters or jockey squealing that it is not right. Just bring in some proper deterrent and we will do away with this whip debate forever.


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