Wednesday, 04 January 2017
"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It’s a dark, damp morning. There has been no frost but some sharp rain showers have kept me dodging under trees to keep out of the downpour whilst watching horses. There is no real wind though, which is always a good thing. The forecast is so mixed, with a hard frost tomorrow and then wet and warming up at the weekend. The horses are doing a very similar exercise to yesterday with canters on the Rubbing House and Hamilton Hill polytracks. We have got another rider this morning which helps and once we are up to the full complement, it will run like clockwork.
The headlines on the front of the post are about the sharp practice which took place at Cheltenham at the weekend when a non-runner was shortened up by the bookmakers to make sure that rule 4 came into practice. Rule 4 for those who don’t know is that a deduction can be made from winning bets if there is a withdrawn horse at a certain price. This sort of thing should not be happening as it is completely unfair on the betting public and the BHA need to get themselves organised so it can’t happen again. I know that we are always grumbling about the BHA, but they have had a disastrous 2016 and they want to sort themselves out so they can be beyond reproach. A move out of London would help, it might make their wage bill cheaper, and they can employ people who work on bank holidays, like everybody else in the industry.
It is disappointing to me to see that Newbury have done a deal with William Hill to sponsor races when they have not signed up to the Approved Betting Partnership. This time they are hiding behind a connection with Greatwood which re homes racehorses and uses them to educate disadvantaged children. Greatwood is a worthy charity but Newbury’s angle is open to much criticism and the year has not got off to a great start with divisions already.
This week has seen the start of a good series in the Racing Post on Queens of the Turf, a list of 50 fillies and mares which has been brilliant either on the track or at stud. The two today, Urban Sea and Marling, are 45 and 46, so I can’t wait to see who the better ones are. Urban Sea won the Arc and is the dam to Galileo and Sea The Stars. It is compulsory reading for anybody interested in the turf.