Break Cover runs tomorrow ...


It's got to be fair on everybody

Monday, 20 May 2019

"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude."

Ralph Marston.

Garrel Glen

It’s an overcast morning with a very funny sort of temperature. It is quite muggy and looks like it is going to rain, but I don’t think we will be seeing any of the wet stuff anytime soon. We just had a few showers over the weekend which has only dampened the dust and the ground on most courses is on the fast side of good. I hope racecourses don’t overwater as I have always said it must be fair for everybody and the trainers with fast ground horses should be able to make hay while the weather is like this. We have been using the Farm / Rubbing House canter all morning and everything has gone smoothly. We will be having runners on quite a few days this week, especially if the ground comes our way. Let’s hope it does.

Walking back to the yard

The big news of the weekend is that the Levy Board announced they were £17m down on income and it looks like it will affect prize money if nothing is sorted out. We have always had a problem with our funding and the bookmakers have always got away with as little as possible. In my opinion the only way to make it fair is to put a figure on every transaction, i.e. every bet, whether it is in the shops or on the phone / computers. That would bring in far more than we are getting now and be fair to everybody. We wouldn’t keep getting told it’s because all the favourites won at Cheltenham or that there were six blank days. This financial decision needs people with brains and determination, plus our MP’s need to understand the seriousness of the situation. If not, the ownership numbers will continue to reduce and get very concentrated with a small group of participants which would then be very off putting for the general public.

At the stud

There’s an interesting article by Lee Mottershead today where he talks about the racing at Newbury at the weekend and how the commercial requirements of a racecourse need a pop groups to attract the paying crowd. The number of racecourses which are now staging music nights has grown unbelievably over the last 10 or so years and the courses rely on this income to keep them going, or make them even more profit. They cannot fail to make money with the media rights deal and when they run music nights, it is even more. The big problem, and Newbury is one of the worse for this, is that prize money doesn’t go up and it is all done for the shareholders, not for the good of the sport. I can’t see this changing in the near future and everybody who loves horses will have to put up with it.

The geece at Dullingham with their young


There is another good card of racing at York today

Friday, 17 May 2019

"Every great genius has an admixture of madness."


Working Across The Flat

It’s an overcast morning with hopefully rain on its way. I am not too sure we are going to get any today though and it may be tomorrow at the earliest. Certainly the ground on the course at Newmarket last night was good to firm and it will be even firmer today. We have been working on absolutely fantastic ground on the peat moss Across The Flat. I had two lots of workers and all has gone as planned. We have no runners over the weekend but a few next week.

Walking back to the yard

I see that the Ladbrokes / Coral holdings company have said that the cut in the stakes for the machines in the betting shops has not caused them as much of impact as they first thought. Oh what a surprise. I have been telling you that for a while now as people will win or lose the same amount however they want to. If it takes an hour longer to win or lose 50 quid that’s what will happen. I don’t know how many shops will shut but I will predict not as many as we were told.

I also see that Arc have bought a 45% stake in the Tote technology. Last year they also bought a majority share in a Greek based firm which provides data and pictures of horses and greyhound to 32 countries worldwide. Where all this is going is beyond me, but the internet and gambling online is obviously the future and with so many different people and businesses involved they will all be fighting their own corner. Our racing leaders have certainly missed the boat in controlling their own destiny. It is in the hands of people who care nothing about the sport but just the bottom line of their balance sheet.

Across the heath

York continues today with great racing once again. It is the Yorkshire Cup this afternoon with some young pretenders trying to knock Stradivarius off his perch. I can’t really see that happening if the favourite is fit and well. A very competitive two-year-old fillies’ listed race starts the card and there will be plenty of bubbles burst once again. The ground is pretty fast there still and I am sure the times will be on the quick side.

Roof Garden

We are coming to the end of the year on the stud with only one left to cover, which hopefully will be early next week. We have had more colts than fillies for a change, which is always handy, and as yet, because of having no rain, the paddocks have not had the usual hard time that they normally get. In fact everything looks remarkably green and well, thanks to the good work of Ashley, our maintenance man.

Isaac Murphy leading Astromerry


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