Plenty of people turned out for the Open Day ...

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We had some well needed rain

Monday, 24 September 2018

"It’s not how many friends you can count, it’s how many of those you can count on."

Anthony Liccione.

Astrofire and Velvet Vision working on Saturday

Ness of Brodgar and Astrojewel

We had plenty of rain over the weekend, which was a shame especially on Sunday as it was the Newmarket Open Day. I am sure this would have put a few people off turning up, but it was much needed for the ground and will have done the power of good. We have had a good morning so far with the horses that are, for the first time in a long time, going out in sheets. In fact I said to Tim this morning we will be getting the striped rugs out soon if the temperature stays like it is. Two good canters on the polytracks has been the Monday morning exercise and all has gone well so far.

On Hamilton Hill this morning

We will be having a few runners this week and hopefully they will all perform with credit. A few two-year-olds are now handicapped and will be a lot more competitive in nursery’s rather than the very competitive novice races they have to start off in. In these races you have to take on everything and you can be running your homebreds against plenty of million pound horses, but once they are handicapped, the playing field starts to get a bit more level. I think a bit of imaginative race planning would certainly help and the distribution and availability of certain races for certain horses should be looked into. You can go a week, or even two, when there is not a race for your horse which can get very frustrating for all concerned.

Pageant Master

As I mentioned above it was the Newmarket Open Day at the weekend and although it rained there was a good turnout of people to see the horses. I think around 20 yards opened of the 80 in town and by all accounts they were reasonably busy. However, you can understand people not opening as the danger of infection spreading at this time of year is quite high. Even with hand washes and feet dip there is always the risk. With all year round racing now, there is not a good time of year to have an open day, although Lambourn have theirs after the big finish of the festivals in the spring, which suits them. The highlight of the day once again, and the one that raises the most money, is the commentary competition held at the racecourse. This is usually between Newmarket trainers but they had a few outsiders this time which I’m not sure is what it is all about. But let’s hope the day raised plenty of money which goes towards Racing Welfare and a few other good causes. We certainly need the stable staff accommodation to be built as soon as possible. The planning is in and it is very urgently needed.


We worked on the Peat Moss turf gallop

Friday, 21 September 2018

"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

C.S. Lewis.

Working on the Peat Moss turf

After a very windy night and also quite wet, it is now bright sunshine and the temperature has kept up well. I think it is doing what I said it was going to do yesterday, sunshine and showers with plenty of wind. It has certainly caused a bit of havoc at the stud. With a few branches down one of the weanlings managed to jump out of her paddock into another one. She just had a few minor cuts and bruises, but was quite worried about the whole situation and you can’t blame her.

Everybody is in and we have been working some two-year-olds on the Peat Moss turf, which was riding absolutely perfectly once again. All has gone well and with Louis Steward in there was plenty of chat amongst the lads.

(L-R) Astroblaze, Astrosparkle, Melo Pearl and Velvet Vista

I see Labour are planning to ban ‘bookies ads’ on the TV when sport is on and although I don’t agree with their thoughts on many things, I am sure in this instance they have got a case. The only ads you ever see when any sport is on is about betting and in my mind it certainly needs to be regulated. As I have said during the week, the bookmakers are now into a Wild West situation and you only have to read today’s article on professional punters to see how the gambling world is changing. Tom Kerr in his article seems to think on course bookmakers will disappear, similar to how Hansom Cabs have done. This will certainly make going racing less colourful and exciting. I hope he is wrong but fear he may not be.

Rosie Scot

All the BHA seems to want to do is have more and more fixtures, evenings, weekends all at the worse time when the staff don’t want to go. The other major problem is that our road network is just in freefall and there are constant closures everywhere you go, especially after 8 o’clock at night. There is no common sense used at all but the racecourses and the BHA don’t seem to care as long as the bookmakers are being looked after, not the poor ones on course though, just the internet ones who are sitting in their warm offices doing nothing. We need somebody with some grit at the top of our sport who actually understands it and how it all works, but it seems to me that we haven’t got that person. I read about other industry’s having robots run their factories and what the future holds, but horse racing is very unlike that and is very staff orientated, but we will alienate them quicker than we are doing if we don’t sort the problems out. Too much racing is the major issue.

The sky over Newmarket at first lot

I see the Irish have got a major increase in their positive tests on the racecourses. They are saying there is no evidence of systematic doping. I just think that they are so far behind us in their regulations and since the new vet has arrived she is starting to get on top of what has been happening for years. In England we are required to keep medical books of everything any horse has had. We keep samples of feeds and samples of everything so if something does happen you have got the evidence. I have said it before and I will say it again, horse racing must be a level playing field or the breed as we know it will weaken very quickly.


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