There is a good card tonight at Sandown ...

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A start of a new week

Monday, 14 May 2018

"Nothing but heaven is better than a friend who is really a friend."



Tacking up Quanah

It’s a sunny day with a good breeze and it is very pleasant for the lads to work in this sort of atmosphere.  We have got plenty of staff in this morning which makes it easier for everybody and we can get on with a few extra jobs which need doing.


Melo Pearl and Bob

Gee Sixty Six was disappointing at Market Rasen on Friday. He did have a slight bleed afterwards and I think a month in the paddock will be the answer for him. Sometimes these big horses who have been on the go for a while need a break and I think one would certainly benefit Gee Sixty Six. He has plenty of ability but we have never seen it fully on the track as yet.

                                      Bayeau      bayeau_1

Belle Bayeux before and after a roll

There have been plenty of comments in the papers, on the radio and I am sure on TV about the violence that has marred our racetracks in recent weeks. Violent brawls at Goodwood and then Ascot has really focused everybody’s minds as to what is happening.

This, in my opinion, has been an incident waiting to happen as the racecourses have promoted drinking and have attracted the wrong type of crowd. If this continues as it is, it will very quickly alienate the normal racegoers and certainly no families will attend. They say it is down to drugs combined with drink, which is a blight on our city centres most weekends, but we do not want it on our racetracks. The powers that be will have to take this situation very seriously. The problem and why there is very little security - especially normal policemen and women - is because it costs money and quite a lot of it and the racecourses don’t want to pay this added expense. Those of us who constantly go racing have seen it coming for a long time and until the racecourses start to spend some money on security and quickly kick out the rogue elements, it will only get worse.

Singing Hinnie at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

Our farrier Becky had a great winner recently at Royal Windsor horseshow when Singing Hinnie won the Retraining of Racehorses class beating 20 other ex-racehorses. A lovely big, attractive filly, she was disappointing as a racehorse, but has certainly found her niche now and I am delighted for Mr and Mrs Reed who have followed her second career with great interest. She was out of their lovely mare Tawny Way.


Sadly Sky Dome, who was retired to my sister-in-law’s care, has recently had to be put down at the grand old age of 27. A big thank you to Jean who gave him a fantastic home and a very happy life after his racing career. He won eight races and was placed 20 times. What a wonderful horse he was.


We have one runner today at Market Rasen

Friday, 11 May 2018

"In summer, the song sings itself."

William Carlos Williams.


Velvet Vision and Velvet Voice

It is the most beautiful morning. We galloped a few on the Cambridge Road Polytrack. Richard Marriott came out to watch his Velvet Vision work nicely with her lead horse in preparation for her next run. Everything went according to plan and all the horses went well.


Above and below, Astrojewel, Astroblaze, and True Calling


We have one runner today. Gee Sixty Six runs in the 1.30 at Market Rasen and Jack Quinlan takes the ride. He has schooled well but, as normal like all ours, will need this first run over hurdles for experience. He preferred to go right handed on the flat so that is why I'm introducing him here at Market Rasen.


Walking back after galloping

The BHA board crisis  deepens with more industry figures coming out demanding information. I'm glad they agree with me that the industry needs clarity about what is going on. We shall follow this with great interest but, whatever the outcome, I'm sure some heads will roll.


Cooling off under the trees


It's the last day of Chester today with the Chester Cup the highlight at 3.35. It doesn't look the strongest field that there has ever been and as always luck will play a big part. It's a bit like the chariot race in Ben Hur. They go round the Coliseum two and a half times and, as I said, you do need a tremendous amount of luck. It would be great to see My Reward win it for Tim Easterby.

Phil on Friday


Congratulations to Sean Levey on riding his first Classic winner. For the young man to achieve such success is enough of a story in itself but, of course, the fact that he was the first black jockey to win a British Classic has inevitably been highlighted.

To think that, in 2018, such a detail appears so remarkable is surprising in itself. Racing here is multi-racial (we have a Brazilian champion jockey for instance).

In all the commotion about Sean’s achievement I was reminded about an incident many years ago which gave me sleepless nights. No. 2 son came home from school one day to announce that the age-old nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep had been all but banned. It could be construed as racist apparently, and certainly was not politically correct.

I told him to ask if we could no longer sing I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas in December but have still not received an answer.

Anyway, I worried for ages about having filled in the forms to name some of the Guvnor’s horses in training. Had we broken racial discrimination laws? Mercifully it didn’t seem so – Black Sam Bellamy was the sire of one youngster but that was hardly our fault, was it? White Moss seemed innocent enough, and we obviously got away with Don’tcallmeginger which could have been seen as offensive to one particular minority group, but Jenko and his fellow owners are still at large.

A trawl through various web-sites shows 400 or more horses called Black something are currently registered and I must say some of the names look decidedly dodgy, but I can’t discuss them here for fear of a 5 a.m. knock on the door by the P.C. police.

On a personal note, my father was a blacksmith but I’ve just about managed to live with that after all these years, and having Green as a surname must be worth a few points. There are horses called Fiddlers Green, though, which is worrying.

Joking apart, I can’t help but think that the Baa Baa Black Sheep ruling and other silliness did nothing to help the cause of Sean and others. Such stupidity might even have contributed in a perverse sort of way to this long wait for a black jockey to succeed at the highest level here. They must have felt isolated. So good luck to Sean after his brilliant win, and to others who might follow him.


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