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It is absolutely freezing today

Thursday, 10 January 2019

"The man who forgives is far stronger than the man who fights."

Nathan Croall.

02_Walking
First lot and it is still quite dark this morning

Although the wind has dropped overnight, it is still very cold this morning and it was absolutely brass monkey weather out on Southfields at second lot. A mug of tea in the hut while doing this report has started to warm me up, but I suspect we are in for very similar weather for the next couple of months. They are even forecasting another Beast from the East later in the month. We have been lucky that we have not had any snow so far as the rest of Europe have had enormous amounts of the white stuff, more than they have had for many a year. We have one non-runner today due to illness, which is disappointing, but the horses have all been out and had a good exercise cantering on the newly refurbished Rubbing House polytrack and Southfield Round polytrack. All has gone well and as long as they keep dry, which they have this morning, it is only the cold to contend with but plenty of good food and hay and warm rugs when they get back in their clean boxes soon puts them right.

13_Walking
Exercise over and making their way back to the yard

I see the investors in the Alizeti Group, who are looking to take control of the Tote, have been revealed and the China Horse Club, along with many other people, have made big investments. These people aren’t investing for the good of racing, they are investing to make money and why we couldn’t just run the Tote for the sport I don’t know. If all the profits went back into prize money it would revolutionise the sport, but as normal there will be very little that goes back in and most of it will reach other pockets. How very disappointing after what we thought the Jockey Club were going to do with their Britbet idea.

18_Cantering
Second lot cantering

I see Bill Barber is commenting on Tony McCoy’s suggestions and says there is no chance of a supremo taking over, which is what I told you. There are so many different factions, especially when it comes to commercial matters, and the racecourses have got a firm grip and won’t be letting anything go to anybody. With all the things that are going on at present, it will be fascinating to see how it all evolves over the next few years.

01_Tractor
Keeping the gallops up to a high standard

We are going to look at stallions from 11.30 onwards today visiting several studs in the nearby vicinity. Darley, Cheveley Park, Lanwades and the National Stud are all open today so there should be plenty of people having a look and trying to get the right stallions for their mares. It always pays to look every year at the stallions as a few of them do two seasons, i.e. they shuttle to other countries and can lose condition and interest. It is amazing how they do change from year to year and a wise old stock man always told me to have a look every year as a healthy stallion is what you want.

 

Plenty of layers are needed today

Wednesday, 09 January 2019

"He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass."

George Herbert.

06_Cantering
Two-year-olds cantering single file

12_Cantering
... and all moving well

It’s much colder today due mainly to the north wind, which is twice as strong as yesterday. You need as many layers on as possible when going out on the heath. It is forecast to get slightly warmer as the week goes on and let’s hope the wind drops as well. We have plenty of staff in this morning and have been getting on well once again with everything. I have got the odd two-year-old coughing and a bit snotty but if they are going to get coughs and colds, now is the time to get it. If you use plenty of Vircon, keep dipping your bridles and disinfect their doors and stables, it will soon clear up.

22_2YO
Together now

Julian Muscatt makes three very good points in his column today in the Racing Post, all of which are common sense and don’t need much explanation. Firstly he states the owners that don’t want to run at Cheltenham have done it in the right way and have not castigated Cheltenham or anybody connected to it. They have just had a bad experience with their horses there and because they love them and want to do the right thing by them, they would rather not go there at present.

The main bit of his column to me though is the one that talks about coverage of racing in today’s newspapers. He says, quite rightly, that the moving of good races from midweek to cram them all in on a Saturday has been to the detriment of coverage, i.e. the completely barmy decision to move the Derby from a Wednesday to the weekend and the July meeting from midweek to finish on a Saturday. There are so many other things happening on a Saturday that the Derby and the July Cup get completely lost amongst other sports and if the sports editor has no interest in racing, even more so. These decisions have been taken by marketing men, certainly not racing men, although the Jockey Club are responsible for both the races I mention. Commercially they may have an argument, but it’s not what the Jockey Club are supposed to do, it is damaging our sport rather than bettering it.

Finally his piece on the Dubai Carnival is an interesting one where he comments that it is more of a supremacy competition between the Godolphin trainers, rather than an international meeting. It is certainly becoming harder to send horses out there with the costs going up and the difficulty of winning any prize money.

23_Stalls
Walking through open stalls

29_Stalls
... and standing nice and still

I see trainer Paul Coles’ son Oliver is stating the obvious when he calls for less red tape and cheaper visas for overseas staff, which he thinks will help the staffing crisis. They have a lot of Brazilians in their yard who can most certainly ride and are very good workers. The big problem is the immigration rules and although you can make a very good reason why work riders from overseas, i.e. South American and the Asian continent, should be allowed here, the criteria, which will be set shortly, or maybe not if the Brexit negotiations go on much longer, will be quite high. All this takes so much time and so much legislation has to go through Parliament. With so many industries’ clammering for the same thing, I think we are pretty much down the pecking order, unfortunately. All we can do is keep lobbying.

 
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