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The end of the Tote monopoly ...

We have one runner tomorrow at Chelmsford

Friday, 30 March 2018

"I lied on my Weight Watchers list. I put down that I had 3 eggs... but they were Cadbury chocolate eggs."

Caroline Rhea.

hill_better

Pageant Master leads St. Anthony and Astrofire

Once the light has come up we have got a bright morning, but I don’t think this will last very long as we are forecast bands of rain over the next few days. There is no wind and it is a pleasant temperature, so very good to work in. We have one non-runner again this morning on the riding front which is very disappointing as we have had a good week and things have been moving along well. We have opportunities at present for a couple of riders and a more responsible position, but is it proving pretty hard to find the right applicants. It is often the case though in the spring when people start to move about and let’s hope we can get sorted out shortly. All the horses have been in good form doing two good canters all without a problem.

Astrofire

Astrofire

We have one runner this weekend. Indian Red seems ok this morning after his schooling cut and has responded to treatment overnight. He runs in the 6.45 at Chelmsford, the two mile handicap. Once again we are drawn at Stansted Airport which seems to be normal nowadays for most of our runners. Lewis Edmunds takes the ride and it will be interesting to see what tune this young man can get out of Red. This will be his first ride for us but I am told on good authority he is a genuine, very accomplished jockey who has been brought up the right way. I am looking forward to meeting him and seeing how he gets on. Certainly the horse will have a chance if things fall into place.

walking_in

Walking back to talk to the Guv'nor

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What a debacle last night at Wolverhampton when a horse came out of the stalls and proceeded to get loose and couldn’t be caught. What the starters were doing I don’t know as the majority of the field stood in the gates for the next 20 minutes for reasons only known to them. If I had been the trainers of the ones in the stalls I would have been going mad and complaining bitterly. Why there is no plan in place to catch loose horses is beyond me. I am afraid a lot of people nowadays are not horse people and do not understand how a horse thinks or what it is going to do when it is loose. I don’t think the situation will change though and it is up to the racecourses themselves to put a plan in place for when this sort of situation happens. Also no blame or consequence should occur to the other horses that had to wait for so long.

nath

Diverting's Nathaniel filly foal

It is a good weekends racing with the all-weather finals at Lingfield. It is sure to produce some exciting finishes and unlucky situations as the tight track at Lingfield will feel even tighter when they turn into the straight in competitive racing. It is also the Dubai World Cup climax with a cluster of Group 1 races on the dirt track over there. The normal group of American horses have gone over and a few from Europe. It will be interesting to see how many of them take home any money as it is very hard to beat the home side on their home dirt, but if you are out there on holiday it is a great spectacle to watch, both beforehand and afterwards.

Phil On Friday

phil

When MP, chef, broadcaster and racing enthusiast Sir Clement Freud was set to ride in a match race at Haydock he trained for three months, lost five stones and still, according to Peter O’Sullevan, ‘put up the equivalent overweight of 22 one-pound tins of dog food.’ *

Our own amateur, Michael Jenkins, weighed out with exactly the same amount of overweight in one of his races and, challenged by the Clerk of the Scales, blamed his mum’s pies.

For many professional jockeys the almost daily battle with weight is no laughing matter, however. Thankfully for some flat race riders the minimum weight has risen steadily over the years. Gone, just about, are the days when potential employers would look at an eager lad in his early teens and reckon that if he weighed more than four-and-a-half stone at that stage of his life he had no future as a jockey. At least that was trainer Sam Armstrong’s yardstick.

It’s still a very tough business though, as it always has been. Even the top men have suffered. The great Fred Archer endured incredible hardship and Lester Piggott limited himself to ‘a cigar and a cough’ for breakfast.

In the Guvnor’s days at Flint Cottage jockeys would often stay for breakfast after riding work. There was one rider of international renown who, after a hearty breakfast, self-induced vomiting before the food could be digested. He was far from alone in his habit of ‘flipping’.

Another leading rider, one of the lucky ones, was able to avoid all that but still refused the tempting bacon and sausages as he tried to show just how conscientious he was. He limited himself to one slice of dry toast and a cup of weak unsweetened tea.

After one successful work session and his sparse breakfast he set off back down the motorway, followed soon afterwards by an amateur jockey who had also been at the yard that morning. The amateur pulled off at the first service station for a coffee and there, in the café, was our top pro, tucking into a full English with a plate of chips on the side!

I can’t think the Guvnor was fooled for a minute. Nice try, though.

*Sir Clement, who looked not unlike a bloodhound himself, famously appeared in a series of TV ads for dog food.