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We have one runner today at Kempton

Friday, 26 January 2018

"Some people dream of success…while others wake up and work hard at it."

Anon.

01_Walking
Second lot in the mist and fog

It started off mild this morning, that was at 5.30, but as the day progressed and the light started to come up the fog and mist came down and the temperature plummeted. The first two lots went out in what can only be described as freezing fog and it was quite dangerous crossing the Cambridge Road with the first lot of gallopers. They came down the Cambridge Road polytrack and all went well. Second lot and the rest of the morning’s strings have stayed closer to home. With everybody in again we have had a very good week. Long may it continue.

03_Isaac
Isaac Murphy

One runner tonight at Kempton and two tomorrow afternoon at Lingfield are this weekend’s runners. Astrojewel is our evening runner at 8.15. She has had one run so far but has been off since with a pulled muscle. She has been back in full work for a while now but will need this education tonight. Just looking at the race, there is quite a lot of competition, with one horse that cost €1,400,000 and several others that were also very expensive. The people who sold the €1 million plus horse had a real touch as it only cost $15,000 as a yearling and they very quickly won the lottery. It will be interesting to see how it runs with Ryan Moore booked.

Our two tomorrow starts with Rum Ration in the 1.25 at Lingfield. He has had a couple of runs without troubling the judge and will be handicapped after this next outing. He has been gelded since his last run and I think once we get him over a distance of ground, he will be fine. Our other runner, Astroblaze, has run some good sound races, for a change has a sensible draw and should be competitive in this type of race. Let’s hope so.

07_Blaze__Ness
Astroblaze and Ness Of Brodgar

I see there has been another mistaken identity case where two horses under the care of a trainer ran in the wrong races at Southwell this month. Let me just tell you what was put in place after a similar situation happened at Yarmouth during last year. Every horse on arrival has its microchip scanned by the BHA staff, so they know that number corresponds with the name of the horse. Then when the horse goes from the stables to the paddock, it is scanned again by the BHA staff. This means there are two checks of the microchip against the name of the individual horse. You would have thought this was a fool proof method, but in this case it certainly was not. The trainer and staff had no idea which horse it was either. To my mind it is once again down to staff shortages as the trainer has to send an inexperienced staff member with the horses. Also the BHA staff are not doing their job properly. This sort of situation must have happened many times before, and once again in this case it was not picked up until the next day when other checks were made. We are becoming a laughing stock and it will be interesting to see what happens now.

05_Tim
Tim out with the string.

It is amazing this spring on the stud. We have got the flowers and bulbs coming out very early once again. The aconites are always the first to appear around the bottom of the trees and the snowdrops are now bursting out as well. We have got a lot of daffodils and narcissi in the park but I cannot remember the daffodils coming out as early as this. We have one clump which is in bloom already. I just hope we don’t get any more snow which will not do them any good, but it is lovely to see.

     14_Aconites     13_Snowdrops     12_Daffodil
Aconites, snowdrops and daffodils on the stud

Congratulations to Arthur Winn for winning the Christmas competition. His bottle of champagne is waiting for him on his next visit and the runner up, Tom Morton, will receive a bottle of wine. Tom actually filled the same place last year. I hope everybody enjoyed it and thank you to Richard for setting the questions. We had more entries this year than ever before.

Phil on Friday
phil

Phil said last week that he might take a little break from the Friday site. After talking to him I told him that wasn't allowed as we all enjoy his anecdotes so much. Here is his instalment for this week.

Racing has been cleaned up considerably over the years. We are yet to shake off the misguided perception that the sport remains the preserve of vagabonds and thieves, and it  is undeniable that a bit of innocent roguery, if there is such a thing, is our heritage, but in years gone by it all added to the fun.

Take jockeys who liked a bet. I remember a famous TV interview with the wife of a recently retired rider – he was a top jockey but he was very shy, hence the appearance of his dearly beloved.

“I suppose now that he has retired as a jockey he can sit back and enjoy a bet or two”, said the interviewer. “Oh, no”, replied the wife in all innocence. “He hasn’t had a bet at all, not since he stopped riding”.

Another Australian jockey based in England a good few years ago was happy to tell the story of what was known as a “Jockeys’ Race” back in his homeland. Occasionally riders would get together and, there’s no other word for it, “fix” a race.

Our man was an apprentice at the time. In the weighing room before one particular race the champion of the day, who they called The Boss, went round all the other riders saying such a “Bruce, you’re on a hundred”, and “Ned, you’re on fifty”. He saw everyone except the lad in the corner.

In the race itself our apprentice and The Boss were racing alongside about two furlongs out. The innocent boy plucked up the courage to ask the champion what had been going on. “I heard you before the race, Boss”, he said. “What am I on?”

“You’re on the ------- winner”, he was told. “Now go like ----“