Onwards and upwards ...

It has been blowing a gale all night...

Friday, 04 February 2011


"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err."

 - Mahatma Ghandi



Astroleo walks home with the trees bending in the strong winds

It has been blowing a gale all night and the forecast is for it to get even windier and to pour with rain for the next few days. First lot has ventured out but the remaining lots will stay around the indoor school, which will be much safer. Still no foals but one of the mares is very unsettled this morning and I am sure it won't be long before we have the first one on the ground.


Leading the horses back into Flint Cottage on Rayes Lane 

Our runner yesterday at Southwell, Koraleva Tectona, ran a sound race to finish third. She has not shown any form for well over a year, so I was delighted with this run. She had a really good blow again and Tom Queally was very positive about her. I am sure that she will be able to add to her list of victories both on the fibresand and also once we are back on the grass.


The Observatory ex Seasonal Blossom colt, led by Nikki 

I have not yet read the two page article on Betfair in the Racing Post but it is quite pertinent after my paragraph about them yesterday. They constantly try to justify their existence within the racing industry but there are several questions still to be answered and it will be a long time before this is sorted out to everyone's satisfaction. There are so many ways that racing can benefit if a proper agreement is arrived at, that is fair for both parties. Betfair was a fantastic idea and has snowballed in the short time it has been going but all racing is asking for is a level playing field.


Arriving back at Flint Cottage after exercise

I know Mark Johnston in his magazine has campaigned against the hidden charges that the BHA, through Weatherbys, continues to levy. For example, when an entry is advertised at £11 in the Racing Calendar and the Programme Book, that is not the full cost of the entry. There is a handling charge of £18.33 (up 22% on last year) if we make the entry online, which we do, or £23.88 (also up 22% on last year) if we enter on the phone. In addition, there is £1.20 that goes to the Levy Board for research into infectious diseases and £1 that goes to retired racehorses. I am not sure how this money is actually used because, as everybody knows, we always find good homes ourselves for our ex-racehorses. So, for that advertised £11, the actual cost is either £31.53 or £37.08.
Hidden charges don't stop there, there is the re-registration of everything you can think of, from an appointed agent (£56.20) to VAT re-registration (£41.40). An example of the costs to trainers is the stable passes that every employee has to have to get into the stables, which is a plastic covered photograph of themselves with a slip of paper re-issued yearly (the piece of paper I mean not the photograph). This costs us £12.17 every year for each employee: it is a complete con and we must have total transparency about all these hidden charges, as it is no good to anybody in the long term hiding them. 


Mystery Star relaxing in his box