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The fog is taking a long time to clear

Friday, 19 October 2018

"There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls."

Aeschylus.

01_Tenpence
Tim giving Half Past Eight a nice calming pat

02_Tenpence
... before altering his bridle

It’s another foggy start to the day and is taking even longer to clear this morning. As we write this, just after 9.30, there are a few rays of sunshine trying to penetrate the fog. We have plenty of people in today including a new full time rider and it has been a good morning so far. We put five horses through the stalls at second lot which went off without a hitch. A couple were first timers and they walked straight in which is always very good news and just show how trusting these horses are of us. These big white metal things on a foggy morning can look quite scary, but with the team of good lads on the ground, we soon had them in and out. They then proceeded to have a strong canter around the bend Across The Flat. We all stood on the flat bit and waited, we could hear them coming before we saw them. These are the mornings you cannot buy, they just happen.

04_Mega
Garswood ex Mega yearling in the lunge pit

     05_Mega     07_Mega
L - on the single lunge rein and R - on the double reins

It’s Champions weekend once again and how quickly it comes round, but the ground at Ascot is going to be the big deciding factor. On the straight it is soft, heavy in places and the round is heavy, soft in places. This is a pity for its great end of season finale, but when you race in October you are always going to get this type of weather. It will certainly suit Cracksman though who has avoided the meeting with Roaring Lion and could go out with a bang if putting his best foot forward. The highlight of the day though will be Sylvestre de Souza being crowned champion jockey once again, although the irony is as we have said before is that he is banned at present.

IMG_0632
Casamento ex Lady Bellatrix yearling is at the next stage

The breaking process is continuing apace and it is amazing really as the ones that are in are all homebred. Apart from being well handled every day, having their feet picked out and being led in and out they have not had anything done to them. That is unlike the ones that come from the sales who have been lunged, been on the walker, had rugs, manes and tails pulled and know what a brush is. Ours have all come to hand very quickly and seem to love the new things they are learning every day. Tim starts in the lunging pit and gets them moving both ways before the roller and pad are fitted. We then move onto the saddle, long reins and side reins. We then drive them around for a day or two before the pilot is put on top. They would then be ridden round the school and yard. Once we have a few going like that we venture out onto the heath and start to show them the new surroundings. It never ceases to amaze me how they take to it all.

 

It's a very misty day

Thursday, 18 October 2018

"Life without faith in something is too narrow a space to live."

George Lancaster Spalding.

26_Rosie
Rosie Scot in the yard

42_Rosie
... and out on the heath

It’s another misty damp start, in fact I had fog lamps on coming in this morning and you could only see about 10 yards for most of the journey. I am not sure when the clocks go back but it can’t be too long now and it will certainly help as first lot, at quarter to seven, were pulling out in the dark. We have had a normal Thursday cantering morning which has all gone well and Tim has been getting on great with the yearling colts. They are all starting to settle in and taking to everything new he introduces them to. Horses are individuals, just like people. Their characteristics are not all the same so they need different handling and Tim is a master at it.

31_Legging_Up
Legging up on Melo Pearl

33_Melo
... before walking off to exercise

I see Down Royal racecourse in Northern Ireland has its future in doubt as the company that bought it in 2015 has moved to take over the running of it from the encumbrance who have been doing a tremendous job, even winning racecourse of the year last year. Whether it will continue as a racecourse will be interesting to see as I am sure there is no smoke without fire in this case. In England we have just had the closure of Towcester and the news today is that there are four interested purchasers of that track, but there is a lot more to these things than meets the eye and when the details are gone into it can often be off-putting. It costs a lot of money to run a racecourse, especially a turf one and that is why I predict that within 20 years we will have at least another six all-weather tracks which don’t need the maintenance and are much easier to run. They tracks take the character away but if the investment is not there, they won’t survive and more courses will go by the board.

10_Tractor
Even in the mist the maintenance must continue

We talked about the whip rules this week in George Baker’s comments, and I see today the Irish comments on their regulators who most people think were very soft when enforcing the interference rules. Horseracing is a dangerous sport and it is all about having the dash to go for the gap and to be in the right place at the right time, but dangerous riding and being unaware of what is happening in the race can cause accidents, some even fatal for both human and horse. The jockeys need to understand that the rules will be strictly enforced if they are broken. It will make for much safer racing and fairer to everybody.

 
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