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Another devastating morning

Friday, 27 April 2018

"We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there."

Charles F. Kettering.

42_Quanah
Quanah legged up and ready to go

81_Quanah
... and cantering on Hamilton Hill

It’s wet and miserable this morning and with the breeze out on the heath, it feels really quite cold. We are forecast a very wet weekend, but next week we are looking like having another mini heatwave. Let’s hope that the forecasters are correct as a bit of sun does everybody the power good. We are quite quiet with runners at the moment with nothing over the weekend. Our next entries are for Tuesday.

35_Wash_down_box
Washed down after exercise

We have had one of those mornings that you don’t want very often. Doing fast work Across The Flat one of the horses pulled up lame and on x-raying at the vets, we were unable to save him. Unfortunately these things happen, but it never happens to a bad one and it doesn’t get any easier to take after all the years I have been training. This affects everybody involved, and makes for a very sombre yard.

06_Hay
Steaming the hay is part of the daily routine

With the Punchestown Festival nearly at a close, our thoughts will turning to the Guineas meeting here in Newmarket next weekend. Before we get there though we have a good card at Sandown today, with a couple of Group races and a Classic trial. The turf season is really beginning to get into full swing now and before we know it we will be having four meetings a day, stretched around the country.

Phil on Friday
phil

It’s tough being a steward. Officials at Punchestown this week certainly faced a difficult task after the extraordinary incident when a split second error of judgment on the part of jockey Paul Townend radically changed not only the outcome of the race but perhaps the Irish trainers’ championship as well.

The stewards banned him for 21 days. Too harsh? Too soft? Everyone has their opinion and the stewards are on  a hiding either way.

They have been in the firing line of punters and professionals since racing began. Clive Graham, who as The Scout partnered Peter O’Sullevan on the Daily Express and TV for many years, once said: “The form book should be written in Braille for the benefit of the stewards.” Steve Smith-Eccles, when he was riding, wasn’t above questioning the faculties of officials either, as we have reported before.

The Ecc’s old mate John Francome wrote in Born Lucky of the day the Worcester stewards viewed the film of a race at least half a dozen times after he lodged an objection. After being asked if he had any further comment to make he replied: “Yes, sir. I’ve got two actually. The first is that I’m bored with this film and could you please put something different on and, secondly, when will the usherette be bringing in the ice creams and popcorn?” He lost the objection.

My favourite stewards’ room incident occurred at Hamilton after a young rider appeared to come too late in a race and was beaten. The conversation reportedly went like this:

Steward: ‘Now then boy, what were your orders?’

Rider: ‘Sit and wait, sir.’

The stewards could not make a decision so sent for the trainer, Mr. Cartwright, and continued questioning the boy.

‘You were told to sit and wait. How long did Mr. Cartwright tell you to wait?’

‘Till Ayr next week, sir.’

The final outcome went unreported.