The horses are looking brilliant ...


We must all stick together

Thursday, 28 February 2019

"He takes men out of time and makes them feel eternity."

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

First lot and it is a bit misty

It’s a bright morning but cooler and breezier than of late. It is set to get much colder now with bands of welcome rain across the whole country starting later today. It is still winter though and I am sure we will get some more snow in the next couple of month, which will greatly upset the daffodils that have started to think it is spring at the stud. We are having a good morning with everybody in. The horses have been cantering on the Rubbing House polytrack doing a good seven and a half furlong swinging canter. All has gone well and no loose ones so far!

Archie Bear

The prize money debate continues apace this morning with headlines on the front of the Racing Post and Bill Barber writing his industry insight in his column. Bill’s explanation that the loss of media right income when the predicted closure of betting shops comes into play in April, because of the crackdown of the machines, is the reason given by the racecourses for their reduction in prize money. He thinks across the board the sport will loss between £40 and 60 million which is a big hit for the industry to take. Without doubt he is right when he says ‘the economic climate for British racing is changing for the worse and the sooner the sport realises that and comes up with a way forward the better’. The big problem, and it is a big problem, is that we are a very fragmented industry, most of it commercially run and everybody has their own agendas. We have nobody with any vision or passion to pull it all together and to lead from the front. The big are getting bigger and the small will disappear is what seems to me to be happening.

Daffodils on the stud

I am in full agreement with the French in reducing their whip strokes once again from six to five. We still in England have got it as seven on the flat and eight over the jumps and the Irish don’t even have a numerical limit. It is completely crackers and is another thing that needs sorting out universally. Four or five must be the maximum and disqualification should be automatic if going over. It is simple and would work very quickly.


The weather is set to change

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

"The ornaments of your home are the people who smile upon entering time and time again."

Maralee McKee.


As we write this it is already 15 degrees and looks like being another glorious day. These last few days have re-written the weather records and I am sure that meteorologists are very excited. It is the lull before the storm though as tomorrow it starts to get much colder and rain is due across the whole country by the weekend. It is a good morning with everybody in and we have been doing normal canters with the older horses, but gave the two-year-olds a good spin up the Rubbing House polytrack. All has gone well except for one that got loose after cantering. It proceeded to gallop home rider less and head towards the Exning Road which caused us some concern as it is very busy at that time of day. Thankfully an HEH lorry, our muck removers, pulled in at a convenient time and turned the said runaway back towards home. Apart from a few minor scratches, it is ok. It just caused a bit of excitement!

First lot

Exercise over

The prize money debate goes on and I see Newmarket have reversed their decision to make the Cesarewitch a £1m race this year. In fact it has decreased in value from last year’s £500,000 to this year being worth £350,000. At least the entry system has been sorted out but with the field size as it is there is very little chance of any smaller trainer winning any of these big staying handicaps. There is a real ground swell going on though and I think we are in for a very bumpy next couple of years with how the whole industry is run and financed. With the racecourses and the picture providers having contracts, plus the bookmakers leaching the sport dry, there is very little room for manoeuvre for the majority of the racing professionals. It is fine for the top boys, but they are few and far between and if we want to keep the industry interesting and vibrant we need to have everybody being able to make a living. For so long now the finances have only been going one way.

Cantering in pairs

The yard that started the flu debacle, Donald McCain’s, are having their first runners today. It has only taken three weeks for him to get the all clear which shows how pathetic and stupid the BHA were to panic over what is a very common infection in every yard. One phone call by the BHA vet to any practice dealing with racehorses would have confirmed what I have just told you and there would have been none of this absolute rubbish that has gone on. We have now been forced to do more and more paperwork every time we have a runner, plus vaccinations twice a year. All this does is add cost to the owners bill once again.


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