Onwards and upwards ...

We have three runners today at Yarmouth

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."

J.R.R. Tolkien.

Warming up before exercise

It’s much colder today but still dry. There is a slight wind which has been increasing most of the morning and making it feel even colder. The forecast is for cold air to come down from the arctic at the weekend so warmer jumpers and over trousers will be coming out for the first time this year. We have had a busy morning with two horse boxes going off to Yarmouth and four staff away. Everybody has been pulling together well and the horses are getting a good exercise on the Racecourse Side polytracks. The Jockey Club are going to do a major improvement on the Rubbing House polytrack starting on 1st November. This will involve taking the dip out and making the bend much more horse friendly. It will be a big improvement but will mean eight weeks of inaction for a very popular track. Also a piece of grass we call New Winter ground will be closed for the duration.

Cantering on Hamilton Hill


We have three runners today all at Yarmouth. We start off with Velvet Vista in the 2.30. She has taken time to develop but is now ready for her first run and I am sure this race will bring her on. It is so hard to find any race that would be a gentler introduction as once again this novice race looks very hot with horses that cost fortunes running. Our next runner is another newcomer Belle Bayeux. She is a great big scopy filly who I am sure will need further in time. My comments about the first runner are exactly the same here with the horses that have run showing plenty of good form and a lot of highly thought of animals making their debuts as well. Our last runner is Ness Of Brodgar who makes her handicap debut in the 4 o’clock. She has shown quite a lot of promise in her races to date with the saddle slipping on the latest, but that was 260 days ago and she has had a few niggling problems since. The ground is drying up which won’t particularly suit but I am sure that she will run with encouragement today.

Walking round the yard with the roller on

I must comment on a couple of trainers who have announced their retirement in the last few days, both stalwarts of the Newmarket training ranks. Luca Cumani, who incidentally has the same birthday as me, although he is older, has decided to concentrate on Fittocks Stud which he runs very successfully with his wife. He is a top class trainer who has had great success over the years and will be a big loss to our profession. I hope the rulers of our sport will ask him to become involved in some way as his advice and intellect on the industry would be invaluable and should not be lost. Chris Dwyer is the other trainer. Chris has been operating at a slightly lower level than Luca but has been very successful and gives great value for money. He was a very good jockey himself and understands the game inside out. He and his wife Shelley are tremendous workers and although Shelley will continue to be Sylvestre De Souza’s agent, Chris hopefully can remain involved advising owners as to their horse’s careers. He deserves his long break in Spain, but these two trainers will be a big loss to our Newmarket Federation.