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A devastating day

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors."

African Proverb.

Pageant Master

It’s a damp rainy morning and although there is no real wind, it is feeling much colder once again. It is disappointing after the couple of warmer days we have just had. One of the head lads on the heath has just informed me that it is going to stay like this for over a week, just what I need. Everybody is in and we have been getting on well with the horses who are coping with the weather. Two good heathy canters has been the exercise of the day.

Melo Pearl walking round the yard before going out on the heath

Melo Pearl

I had a devastating day yesterday and one of the worst days I have had in racing. I had to make the decision to put a horse down who, potentially, was one of the most talented I have ever had. He got an infection which spiralled out of control and in the end there was no way of saving him. We have the world’s best vets here in Newmarket, he was quickly in the hospital with four vets and nurses constantly on duty, but complications set in and the most humane methods had to be used. When you have trained three generations of the family, helped bring the horse into the world, seen it progress then have to do what I did yesterday, it’s not easy, but it happens, Not a good day to say the least.

Saint Anthony

and out on Hamilton Hill

I see the BHA has blocked Chelmsford having a turf track and it is one of the best decisions they have ever made. I hope they don’t go back on it under pressure as it would be one of the most stupid outcomes in the history of racing. Chelmsford is a great track, but it is much too tight to have a grass track on the inside. If they want to use it for pony racing only, then that would be fair enough, but it is not fit to be a proper turf track. Everybody loves Chelmsford and all they need to do is upgrade the surface - and when I say this, the whole surface wants pulling up and renewing - and build a proper stand. They already have a casino licence granted as well, which would prove very popular. They could quickly upgrade their race programme if the surface was right and it would be the best all-weather track in the country. Their prize money is very good, they look after everybody, from the owners to the lads, it is only an hour from Newmarket and not far from London. I just cannot understand the obsession that they have with having a turf track. It won’t work, so let’s hope the BHA has the strength and the determination to stand firm.


The viewing figures for ITV’s Cheltenham performance don’t make great reading once again, although they were slightly up on last years. The morning programme is dramatically down on what Channel 4 used to produce so I am not too sure what has gone wrong there, although I have never watched it. Racing coverage is in for a change shortly when At The Races ceases to show certain tracks and it will be interesting to see which presenters go where and how the figures stack up then. There is just so much racing that it is hard for everybody to keep up with what is going on, but I note the takeover of Ladbrokes / Coral for a massive amount so people are still betting on our industry in great numbers. I only wish a lot of the profits could be clawed back to encourage new owners into the game as we are still finding it hard as an industry to encourage new entrants to own horses. This is purely down to the returns they receive for their investments.

Farne Odyssey