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Southfields Round has been the gallop of choice

Friday, 18 January 2019

"Fate loves the fearless."

James Russell Lowell.

01_Ness
Ness of Brodgar

It’s the first real hard frost of the winter this morning and thank goodness there is no wind, which is a major blessing. The all weathers haven’t frozen though and the walking grounds have been well salted by the Jockey Club, who are out very early to get on top of it. Most of the walking grounds have also been covered with old polytrack, from when they have renewed the tracks, and that certainly helps at this time of year. The forecast is for it to remain like this until well into next week and we may even get some snow. We have not been held up at all and with everybody in, the horses are getting a good exercise. I have been mainly using Southfields Round polytrack and although it has been very busy, there have been no major incidents so far.

01_Sparkle
Astrosparkle

We have one runner today at Kempton. True Calling runs in the 5.15 and Toby Eley takes off 7lbs. She has not run many times and has been slightly disappointing after her encouraging debut third. She is drawn well today though and this trip, I think, will suit. Let’s hope she can put her best foot forward.

01_Vision
Velvet Vision

There are interesting statistics in the Racing Post today about the number of jumpers trained in the north, the midlands and the south, with the ones in the north seemingly going the wrong way. I also note that Charlie Mann, after his winner yesterday at Wincanton, was bemoaning the fact he only has 20 horses. He said he can’t do anything else, which most trainers would say. The powers that be can come up with all sorts of schemes and suggestions on how to increase numbers, but the only way is prize money and for some unknown reason, they will not get to grips with it. They always like to think of something else, rather than admit that it is the problem. Until prize money is increased to the level it should be and could be, we will have a reduction in horses and owners.

01_True
True Calling yesterday

I see the BHA has taken a couple of races off a trainer for a bizarre reason, after two of her horses failed a dope test. The samples evidently showed an ingredient that is in a hair growth shampoo, which the trainer’s assistant had been using for quite a while. How and why it had got into the horses system is anybody’s guess, but the BHA accepted the reason and only a fine was imposed.

39_Seagull
A seagull flying overhead

I see the sharp punters are now flying drones near to racecourses so they can get an edge when betting in running. I heard the racing journalist from The Guardian talking about it on the radio yesterday and was interested in what he had to say. He said, and what I said years ago, is that the racecourses already encourage punters to bet in running by offering them hospitality boxes with all the necessary plug-ins they require. For those of you that don’t understand, both the racing channels that you watch at home have an actual race delay on them of 2 – 3 seconds. This can mean an awful lot when betting in running and if you are at the racecourse in a box watching it live you have a clear advantage. Now with the drones you can get an even better view of what is going on. I would love to see the racecourses come out and stop these punters, both in the boxes and with the drones, but fear that won’t happen. When you can bet to lose, like Betfair brought in nearly 20 years ago, it was the start of the slippery slope and devious minds got to work.

 

The horses are really shaping up well

Thursday, 17 January 2019

"Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while."

Kin Hubbard.

1_Cantering
Cantering on Southfields Round

It started off very overcast and dark for first lot but it has progressively got much lighter and, apart from one short sharp snow shower, it looks like being a cold but dry day. As yet we have very little wind, which once again is helpful. We have a good lot of riders in again so there is no hold up with the horses and we have been using Southfields Round canter as our main exercise of the day. All has gone well so far. I know it is only January but the horses are certainly starting to shape up and everybody is pulling together as a team.

01_Roof
Roof Garden walking round the yard

There was a terrible accident on Tuesday in Scotland which resulted in the very sad death of a work rider and her horse when it suffered a ruptured artery and the tragic incident happened. It is very hard to understand how anybody can come to terms with the dreadful event and our condolences go out to all concerned. We have had similar incidents like this once or twice in Newmarket over the years but when you are dealing with animals unfortunately these things do happen. All measures are taken to avoid them but sometimes they are out of anybody’s control, but it is a stark warning to us all, and the whole industry, to keep up the good work of horse and human welfare.

01_Missouri
Equiano ex Missouri pulling out for third lot

I see in Bill Barber’s piece today he thinks the Levy Board will remain and the new racing authority, which was supposed to come in, seems to be floundering. I don’t know if it is only me but I can never quite understand, or nobody has explained it in English, what the difference was going to be. The one thing I do know is that the Levy Board was a cumbersome government run quango, usually headed by a wet, easily manipulated old politician who knew very little about our sport. I still don’t understand the ins and outs of what is happening, which is a shame really, but I am sure I am not alone in this matter as there is so much cloak and dagger going on behind the scenes. The one thing I do know is that racing needs to increase its prize money quickly or else we will be in an owner’s crisis, never mind a staff one.

01_Alan_Lury
Alan Lury, the winner of the Christmas Quiz

Congratulations go to Alan Lury who won our Christmas quiz and called in to collect his prize yesterday. He said he thoroughly enjoyed doing it and his wife was delighted as it kept him quiet over the Christmas period.

 
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