The Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner ....

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We have two runners today at Chelmsford

Friday, 09 February 2018

"When the soil disappears, the soul disappears."

Terri Guillemets.

Passing strings

It’s a very wet start to the day with bands of heavy rain sweeping across at frequent intervals. This is all after a wet and windy night as well. It is surprising mild, but forecast to get much colder over the weekend, so all in all a very miserable morning. Everybody is in rider wise, but still a couple of non-runners in the mucking out department, plus a couple of late arrivers. What a morning and we have a lorry load of hay arriving which will please everybody no end!

Topapinion warming up

And cantering 

Our runner yesterday didn’t sparkle although she travelled well for a long way and looked as if she was going to get thick into the action. The words ‘down tools’ spring to mind and I think eight flights of hurdles will be her next objective.

We have two runners today both in the same race at Chelmsford, the novice stakes at 1.30. Astrojewel has her third run and although she has not troubled the judge yet, she will be handicapped after this run. This very good looking filly will surely be alright in time. True Calling makes her debut today. She is half-sister to several winners who all needed a bit further. She is by a July Cup winner so hopefully it has put a bit of speed on the mare. She will benefit enormously for this outing. We have no runners over the weekend.

Pageant Master

On Hamilton Hill

There was an article yesterday on the media rights and how it will affect trainers and staff if the minimum on the machines was reduced to £2. All the trainers understand that if prize money is affected and goes down again, it will hit their businesses hard, but as I stated in the article, if we are relying on the machines to keep the industry afloat, we have got the wrong model. I think the whole industry needs a shake up and modernising. The way people bet, the way they want entertaining, the way they access everything nowadays has completely changed and we need somebody with vision and determination, plus power, to sort the whole mess out. It is not completely broken as the Festivals are the best in the world. It is just the other ‘everyday’ which has got completely out of control.

Rum Ration

I didn’t watch Channel 4’s My Millionaire Migrant Boss the other night, but racehorse owner Marwan Koukash was the man giving the chance to four unemployed people for a two week placement in his businesses. He has obviously made it from nothing and the conclusion was there is no substitute for hard work. Thank goodness there is someone with common sense.


The mystery of our food hamper at Christmas has been resolved and thank you Derek and Rosie. It looked a fantastic hamper, but Angie wouldn’t let me eat any of it, even though I tried. Derek and Rosie are great friends of ours who have a farm and stud, plus racing yard in Somerset. They stand both Franklins Garden and Babodana who are both very well worth supporting if you have any mares in that vicinity. Two top class horses, they were both 100% genuine and sound and their offspring are now starting to show ability.

Nathaniel ex Diverting foal up and walking about

Phil on Friday is temporarily out of service this week as Phil has had to have his hip operated on which has kept him off the keyboard. We wish him a speedy recovery.


We have one runner today in Newcastle

Thursday, 08 February 2018

"If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable – each segment distinct."

Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

Ready to go

It’s a bitterly cold morning, but bright and dry. The horses are being kept close to home, out on the Hamilton Hill doing a good canter, then back in the yard, rugged up to keep them nice and warm. We have two non-runners in the yard and one from the riders. All due to illness. The ones that are in are all working well and the jobs are still getting done in good time.

Four Fifty Three

We have one runner today up at Newcastle. Topalova runs in the two mile handicap at 2.05. She didn’t have the best of runs last time out but the form is not solid for this race and she does have a better draw in stall one. I am hopeful that she will run a sound race this time.

Third lot making their way out

It’s a busy time on the stud, and with several mares in the foaling boxes we are having to sit up at night to watch them. Most of the mares are seasoned mothers so when watching them we know the characteristics to look out for, but this year we do have a couple of first timers. As with all first time mums there is a lot to learn, not least from the foaling crew. I will let you know when we have a new addition along with photos.


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