Three interesting and thought provoking pieces ....

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What a perfect day

Friday, 26 May 2017

"Any man who followed the advice of his jockey is sure to be ruined."

Admiral Rous.

Lost The Moon and Velvet Voice at first lot

Today is probably the nicest day of the week as we have a slight breeze, which is keeping the temperatures perfect. I have galloped the first two lots of horses on the Watered Gallop, which was riding absolutely spot on this morning. I had a meeting with all the riders in the tack room before first lot, explaining where we were going, what we were going to do, i.e. how far, at what speed, and what we were trying to achieve with each horse. I think it sunk in and if we can maintain the improvement, it will benefit everybody. We have one more rider joining us next week and then we will have a very balanced team. It has taken me a while this year to find the right personnel, and let’s hope we can all stick together as the results will surely come if we do. The ground staff keep the beds clean and disinfected and the yard in pristine condition. It is much better to work in a clean, organised environment in every business.

Ginger Lady and Sandwood Bay on the Watered Gallop

Hold Firm didn’t get the best of luck last night only being beaten just over three lengths. Not having Gabriele claiming 7lb certainly made a big difference between being in the first three and finishing fifth.

Gee Sixty Six behaved impeccably and the bit and cross noseband got him relaxed and not pulling. He made up considerable ground in the straight to finish really well and over much more distance of ground, he will be more competitive and improve considerably in the not too distant future.

We won’t be having any runners this weekend but we will be starting in earnest from Monday.

Indian Red leading Bracken Brae and Stellekaya at second lot

It makes interesting reading when you see that the bookmakers have increased their revenue enormously in the betting shops to £1.8 billion. It just goes to show how much these machines make and they wouldn’t have them without the betting shops being open. We then get the Racecourse Association chairman saying she is worried about the drop that could happen in media right payments and how it could affect prize money in the future. Why do we pamper to the bookmarkers when they are making these huge profits. There needs to be a stand somewhere just to get us on a level playing field. She also states that they want to improve the image of racing and make it more popular with the public and as a betting medium. I don’t know how she thinks she will make it more popular as it is the second most watched sport after football, and as for betting, whatever the bookmakers tell you, horseracing is by far and away the biggest earner for them.

Time for a cooling wash down

Tom Kerr has three interesting articles in his piece this week, one about the Too Many Diamonds affair, one about how the disciplinary system for the professionals in racing should be decided in the disciplinary meeting, rather than on public opinion, and the most interesting on the problem of the growing of inequality of racehorse owners. All three interesting pieces and thought provoking.

Phil on Friday

There’s just eight days to go to the Derby and, after last week’s romantic story of Signorinetta, we’re now plumbing the depths of dishonour. The greatest Derby scandal of all was probably that of 1844. The race was won by ‘Running Rein’, who was actually a four-year-old called Maccabeus.

The brain behind the plot was the owner of the horse, inappropriately named Mr. Goodman.

When the colt won a race at Newmarket the previous year there was considerable suspicion about his age, and in the approach to the Derby itself the Epsom stewards were made well aware of these misgivings, but it was decided any inquiry would be more appropriate after the race had been run. Surprisingly, although ‘Running Rein’ was openly suspected of being over-age, he was allowed to start at 10-1. He won easily.

Colonel Peel, who owned the second, Orlando, immediately lodged an objection, but all the ‘Running Rein’ connections were reported to have “gone home.”

There was chaos in the betting ring and eventually the matter came to court. It is thought the unfortunate Maccabeus was beheaded to prevent his age being determined by his teeth, and was buried on a Northamptonshire farm which his ghost is said to haunt to this day. Certainly the owner could not produce ‘Running Rein’, so the stakes were awarded to Colonel Peel.

That was not the end of the scandal, however. Running in the same race was a five-year-old, known as Leander. Incredibly he fell on Tattenham Hill and broke a leg.

There was even more infamy in this most remarkable Derby. Lord George Bentinck, hugely influential on the Turf at that time, backed a horse called Ratan for a considerable sum, but subsequently noticed there was a marked tendency in the ring to lay against his fancy. The horse ran appallingly. It later transpired that Sam Rogers, who rode Ratan, had laid £10,000 to £1,000 against his own mount and had been backing The Ugly Buck, which was favourite. He lost those bets, and his licence – he was banned for three years.


We have two runners today at Chelmsford

Thursday, 25 May 2017

"I have no method. Method is imitation. I invent.

Frederico Tesio.

True Calling on the Hamilton Hill

It sounds like it is going to be the warmest day of the year so far and with bright sunshine and no wind, the forecasters could be right. We have been cracking on with the horses this morning, keeping close to home with a good canter and then a quarter of an hour pick of grass. All the horses have been very relaxed and happy. Let’s hope it continues in the same vein.

Koin having a pick of grass

We have two runners today, both at Chelmsford City this evening. Old favourite Hold Firm runs in the 6.20, but is minus Gabriele Malune tonight as he had a bad fall yesterday and dislocated his shoulder and collarbone. It must have been very painful, although he did phone me last night to say he was so sorry and he would be back next week. I think that is very wishful thinking as I know when I dislocated my hip many years ago in a fall it took three or four months to come right. Stevie Donohoe takes over tonight and, in a reasonably competitive race, he would certainly have an each way chance, but it is not a good thing.

 Our other runner is Gee Sixty Six in the mile and a quarter handicap. I have dropped him back in trip after he pulled too hard last time over a lot further, and we will be fitting him with some headgear, which should help the jockey. He has always shown plenty of ability at home but he needs to learn to settle if he is to fulfil his full potential. I hope things go to plan tonight and he should run a very respectable race.


Tegan filling the water buckets and Ahmed emptying the wheelbarrow

I couldn’t agree more with Steve Dennis in the Racing Post today.  He said entry to the parade ring needs restricting. It is one of the big perks of an owner, to be able to come into the paddock with the trainer and jockey to discuss tactics beforehand. But nowadays it seems every Tom, Dick or Harry is allowed in and there have been one or two accidents, which may have been avoided. If more people are given unrestricted access, it is only a matter of time before a bad accident happens. Large syndicates ought to be able to have 10 or 12 members each time, but no more and the syndicate managers should work this out beforehand. It would work well on a rotation basis and the members would all understand the reason why. Personally, I think the TV coverage in the paddock is overdone, and cameras can be very off putting to horses, if they are of that disposition. This whole parade ring entry is something the BHA should discuss and sort out to everybody’s agreement.


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