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                     Four Fifty Three wins at                      Chelmsford


Quanah ran with credit

Friday, 29 June 2018

"Learn to be an observer in all seasons. – Every single day, your garden has something new and wonderful to show you."


Working on the Cambridge Road Polytrack

It’s a very warm morning once again and it looks set fair for the weekend and into next week, if the forecast is anything to go by. The heathmen do a great job with the water bowsers keeping the dust down on the walking grounds, but in conditions like this, as soon as they have put it on, it has evaporated. That is why the walking grounds want to be upgraded as soon as possible. We, over this side, are the poor relation to the Bury Side at present with the walking ground upgrades, but I am hoping some pressure from me as Chairman will get some action on the situation. We have a good team of riders in this morning and have had a couple of lots on the Cambridge Road polytrack and the Rubbing House straight. All has gone well and we will be keeping them ticking over all weekend.

Astroblaze, Four Fifty Three and Roof Garden at first lot

First lot walking home

We were very happy with Quanah yesterday. Although the ground was very firm, he ran with credit as I thought he would and will benefit enormously from the experience. He will have learnt a lot just from the travelling, pre-parade, stalls and the actual race. The good thing about Newmarket is they are soon home and in their own box, and with the jockey giving him a very good introductory ride, he should think racing is great fun. It looks like our two-year-olds are not bad this year and I can’t wait to run some more. We have no runners over the weekend and let’s hope it rains next week so we can get a few more out on the track.

Astrobreeze upsides Velvet Voice with Topalova tucked in behind

Second lot of workers making their way back home

I see the jockeys are going to be getting an upgrade on their body protectors. Anything that helps injury is always a good thing, especially for the jump jockeys who can take kicks from other horses when they fall. My one comment here though is that they are being given another 1lb allowance for wearing the new equipment, which means there is a 3lb allowance at scales. I think most of the jockeys are struggling with weight and I don’t think they need an excuse like this to put the weights up. We get very few lightweights entering the profession nowadays but that is just a fact of life. Most horses are ridden out at home by people well over 10 stone and I can see the weights increasing dramatically over the next 20 years.

Having a pick of grass after exercise

It is the Irish Derby over the weekend with Saxon Warrior trying to redeem his reputation. There are one or two others who could give him a run for his money. Epsom was all against him and he was still a big baby who couldn’t handle the conditions on the day. I think we will see a different Warrior this weekend.

Phil on Friday

It’s been the case for years – even centuries. There really is no such thing as a ‘good thing’.

Take Royal Ascot last week. Cracksman, widely touted as the best horse in Europe, some said the world, is turned over – and that’s just one recent example of a ‘good thing’ that wasn’t. Some years ago, as we’ve recounted before, Gordon Richards was dislodged from a 25-1 ON favourite at the start of a two-horse race and cost one gullible punter £25,000. You could fill a book about these failures, and someone probably has.

On a personal and much lower level my lifetime ‘good thing’ was Masham in the 2,000 Guineas of 1959. All winter my pocket money – a shilling (5p) a week – had been saved, sweets and other treats sacrificed, to back this horse. By my boyhood standards I stood to win a small fortune. Father placed the wager for me and took me to Newmarket to watch the race. Masham, ridden by Doug Smith, looked the winner two furlongs out but was collared by French raider Taboun and finished second. It was a hard but useful lesson.

My brother had equal confidence about the Derby a few years earlier, so much so that he wanted to share with the world the fruits of many hours of study. He dug out his John Bull Printing Outfit and stamped his horse’s name hundreds of times on strips of paper. These he cast about the Northamptonshire countryside at every opportunity in the hope that his tip would be found and acted upon by some hapless punter. If he had done it today he would have been arrested as a litter lout.

His horse was Sun Compass. It finished fourth and another lesson was learned. I don’t think he has had more than £1 on any horse in the 60-odd years since. (This all dates me somewhat, doesn’t it?)

My own standing was retrieved a little by Birso Boy, the source of my schoolboy nickname, but it took decades for the family even partially to restore its reputation, at least in its own eyes. It came about through my No. 2 son. We enjoyed watching greyhound racing on TV together and sometimes he would send texts to the studio, as they requested, with his ‘information’. He gave no thought whatsoever to form, trap draw and all the rest of it but his first two efforts produced winners and ‘Sam of Newmarket’ was suitably praised on air for his expertise. He didn’t back his fancies himself though – he was nine years old!

There must be a moral in there somewhere.


We have one runner today at Newmarket

Thursday, 28 June 2018

"The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days."

Robert Leighton.

Cantering up Hamilton Hill

It’s a very similar morning to yesterday, overcast early on, but by 9 o’clock the sun started to really come through with some warmth. There is very little wind so it will develop into a scorcher once again. We have one non-runner this morning on the rider front, which is disappointing as we have had a good week and we need a yard man as one is leaving.


We have one runner today here at Newmarket. The ground will be firm enough but they have put water on and the sting will be out of it. Quanah is making his debut in the six furlong Novice Auction Stakes at 1.40. He is an attractive, strong colt and I am sure he will benefit greatly from today’s experience.

Melo Pearl

There are two things that caught my eye in the Racing Post today. The first is that Musselburgh looks like being ok to continue racing after all the aggro they have been having with their local council. Two big racecourse groups, both Arc and the Jockey Club, have expressed interest in running the course and it will be fascinating to see who gets the green light. It is a long way to go to Musselburgh but you are close to the action and it has always been an enjoyable trip whenever we have gone. The other thing to mention is that Jockey Club racecourses have decided to give all the staff with runners at their track a free meal. This is a great thing and should have been done years ago. Hopefully it spreads throughout the country and every racecourse follows this very good initiative. I only hope that the daily expenses they get will not now be altered.


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