I am definitely on my soapbox today ....

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It is a warm but damp morning

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

"Memory is always faulty. Emotions are always true."


A gentle canter on Hamilton Hill


It’s a dampish morning although no real heavy rain and the temperature has gone up quite a few degrees from yesterday. Everybody is in, in fact we had another waif and stray turn up who can ride well and he got several lots out for us, which is always a good help. Our exercise this week is just going to be one canter, as we have been doing every day and so far so good with no snotty noses, or coughing, but there is time yet!

     17_Fire      28_Breeze
(L) Astrofire and (R) Astrobreeze

I see now that Southwell has got permission for its floodlights, which means they can have evening meetings at the track, there is talk of the surface changing. I hope this happens as the tapeta or polytrack surface would make it the best all-weather track in the country, other than the prize money. There will be some who want to keep the old fibresand as it is an alternative and certainly helps some horses, but the kick back is horrendous and a new modern surface would be a big bonus. It would also be an advantage that evening meetings were held there as it would save us all trudging off to Wolverhampton and having the long trek back. Being in the same ownership group it wouldn’t surprise me if fixtures weren’t moved from Wolverhampton to Southwell so they could have more evening fixtures, in fact nothing would surprise me as the track at Wolverhampton is very valuable as building land and you never know what the future holds.

True Calling

It was the start of the award season last night with the Cartier awards where Enable was voted horse of the year. All the awards went to top trainers and owners and it is very rare nowadays that any normal owner gets a look in at any of these big award nights, both on the flat and jumping.

It is very sad to read of the death of Alan Potts so soon after his wife died. They were great supporters of the jumping world and invested huge amounts of money into horses. I am sure their string will be snapped up by the elite owners if they have nobody else to carry the colours on.


The weather can't decide what to do

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"You start making progress in life when you realize you don’t always have to resume where you left off."

Robert Brault.

Walking on the Hamilton Hill

In the clipping box

It’s a mixed morning. It is certainly a bit warmer and we have already had rain and sunshine before 9 o’clock. It was lashing it down when I got here at half past five, but it had stopped before the horses pulled out at first lot. Although the sky looks black at times, we have not had any more. As you know, we are having an easy week exercise wise after the flu jabs at the weekend, and we had a good long walk and trot, followed by a very steady canter and a quiet walk back home. That has been the exercise for the vast majority of the horses, and will continue to be so for the rest of the week. My theory is that if you don’t stress them, they should absorb the injections, rather than it manifest into an outbreak. That’s my theory anyway.

Everybody is in this morning, so the flag is flying high and despite the weather, there is lots of cheerful banter.

Taking the hay to the steamer

It is hard to justify what happened yesterday at Kempton where the prize money was very good, but only three turned up for the Novice Hurdle and two turned up for the Novice Chase, as well as only two for the Graduation Chase. Both these chases had great prize money but nobody wanted to run and take on top horses, finish close to them and get killed in the handicap. The whole sport, whether it be flat or jumping, is becoming so top heavy that if something is not done to it, and quickly, I don’t know what will happen.

The jump boys are the only ones who want to keep Kempton as a racecourse and there is only one meeting that ever makes any money there, which could easily be moved to Sandown or Newbury. The sooner the planning permission is given and we get an all-weather track here at Newmarket, plus upgrades to Sandown and other Jockey Club holdings jumping courses, the better.

On the stud

You can see what the BHA seems to concentrate on, and they always get it wrong, in that there is more publicity about a set of silks that look like a dartboard than anything else. The estimate for it was £5,000 and it made £8,500. The other two lots failed to make the estimate and in fact one was knocked down to £1,000, so all in all it was another waste of time, although a small amount found its way to Racing Welfare.

The thing the BHA should have been doing yesterday, and failed once again, is holding the racecourses to account. They constantly tell us miss-information about ground conditions and although we have a new supposedly high powered website, the updates and communications on it are very slow. Ayr racecourse was completely caught out with their big Western Ayr Gold Cup meeting, but they have only got a warning from the BHA, rather than a massive fine or withdrawal of fixtures. It costs owners and trainers a fortune to get up there, in flights, hotel bills, transport for horses etc., but they got no recompense whatsoever. I don’t know what the three groups, The Owners Association, our National Trainers Association and the Jockeys Association are doing in this instance, but they should be going absolutely flat out to gain compensation from the racecourse. If these courses continue to get away with it, fiascos such as this one will continue.


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