Clearance runs in the 3.40 at Yarmouth today ....

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We have one runner today at Yarmouth

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

"He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him."


Newmarket stands in the mist

It’s a damp, misty morning, but the temperature is not too bad and there is no wind. There is water lying about though in big puddles everywhere, which is very unusual for Newmarket as it is such a well-drained area. It is just that we have had so much rain and at present there is nowhere for it to go. It makes me laugh when we get hosepipe bans in dry conditions, as all this rain should be collecting in the water table. Because the ground is so wet I used the Cambridge Road Polytrack for fast work this morning and everything moved very well on that surface.

Dixon and Indian Red working first lot

We have one runner today at Yarmouth on the first day of their festival. The ground will be on the very soft side and it will be interesting to see how the course stands up to the three days of racing. Clearance runs in the one mile, three and a half furlong handicap at 3.40. He got very much bogged down last time on terrible ground at Nottingham and it will be interesting to see how he copes today. He is still learning and has had a few problems in his life, but he is a horse I have always liked and I am sure we will get it right in the not too distant future.

Lost The Moon and Topalova on the Cambridge Road Polytrack

I see the headlines in the Racing Post this morning were about the appalling scenes at Lingfield at the weekend when the course could not cope with the amount of people who went, just for the concert. Evidently owners and trainers couldn’t park in the carpark, or get into their bar and it is just beyond a joke what is happening with these music nights. There are so many of these nights now, that the entry book ought to let owners and trainers know when music is on as we can then try and avoid it if possible. I know racetracks have to be commercial, but why not just have music nights that stand alone. Some of the tracks, like Lingfield, just cannot cope and the staff they use are certainly out of their depth on these occasions. 

Walking home

Another appalling mess that seems to be getting worse and worse and it is purely because of the fixture list bonanza, is that the volunteer race day stewards are getting less and less. Since 2015, 27 fixtures have been run with no stewards and this year alone there have been 77 with only one steward. Today at Yarmouth there are no stewards and it is being run by the professional stipendiaries. Mind you there are plenty of people that they could ask, but I think the underlying trend, and the BHA’s thinking, is that professional stewards are the way forward. I am certainly not sure about this as you can get vendettas with certain trainers and jockeys by professional stewards, and there is no even mindedness. I informed you that the staff situation was caused by the expansion of the fixture list, and now I am telling you the steward situation is caused by the same. When will they ever learn? It is pure greed on behalf of the racecourses and our industry in Britain is being run purely for the benefit of the bookies.

Sitting on the fence watching the world go by

I now know the entries for my commentary race at Newmarket on Saturday. I have got the 2.05, the British Stallions EBF Novice. Maximum field is 20 and there are 25 entries. I can’t see too many tongue twisting names, although the favourite Sheikha Reika could be called a few times. I may run our own Astrofire in it, so at least I should know one set of colours. The Newmarket team has done marvellously well fundraising, but we are a bit behind at present individually and any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Please go on the link below


What a wet weekend

Monday, 18 September 2017

"The rose has thorns only for those who would gather it."

Chinese proverb.

Pulling out for second lot...

It’s been an unbelievably wet weekend. It’s just never stopped raining and we must have had well over two inches of rain. In fact I am sure it was a lot more. Perhaps we have just been unlucky with the weather and other parts of the country may not have had it, but hopefully it will start to dry up for the rest of the week. We have had a good morning cantering, with the horses all looking and moving well. They are still eating well and are hanging onto their coats, which is always a problem at this time of year. The old adage was ‘Ayr Gold Cup week, start to put two rugs back on them and make sure that the clippers are in working order’. We have seen several horses that are clipped already and I am sure it won’t be long before we are hearing the whirl of clipper blades.

Legging up...

It was a great race for the St Leger on Saturday, with the marvellous finish fought out by very talented and game horses. It was watched by a really big crowd as well, which really gives this oldest classic a boost. You will have some people complaining about the pacemaker tactics, but I think it made for a good race and whether you should link the same owner’s runners together for betting purposes, is something for future thought. It is done in France, but with all the different partnerships, it would be a bit trickier to do over here. 

... and on the gallop

There was some very sad news over the weekend of the death of Geoff Wragg. He was one of the very best trainers Newmarket has ever produced. Geoff was a gentleman through and through, quiet, unassuming, very loyal to his staff and owners and a very very good trainer. He loved all sorts of gadgets and was a great innovator in that he brought in timing and weighing horses before most people had thought of it. It really is an end of an era and our thoughts are with his wife, Trish, at this time.


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