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The big Cheltenham Festival starts next week

Friday, 08 March 2019

"Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."

George Washington.

The two-year-olds working in a group

This morning is a bit better than it has been recently weather wise. It is bright, slightly warmer and no rain as yet. With everybody in, plus a jockey, I have been able to get on really well with the horses and we have been doing some half speed with the two-year-olds who look like being earlier than normal. All has gone well and the little drop of rain that we have had has certainly freshened the turf up.

Cantering at second lot

The papers are full of Cheltenham, which starts next week, and Richard Marriott and I will be in full swing trying to point you in the right direction with our tipping competition. It is always good fun, and let’s hope we can find a lot of the big winners between us. I think I have been beaten the last twice at the Festival and will be doing everything I can to turn things around this year. The ground is on the soft side of good at the moment and any more rain will certainly see a going change. I hope we can have an injury free week with no fatalities, or whip bans spoiling everybody’s fun.

Garrel Glen

There’s an interesting bit in the Racing Post today from the Betfred founder Fred Done. He says he may have to close a few of his shops if the new £2 stake on the machines hits him hard. However, he is quite positive about the future, as I am sure most of the other big bookmakers are, as their online businesses are taking off throughout the world. The big objective now is for our industry to get the government, and the sport ministry, onside so that legislation can go through parliament to get a tax on all overseas gambling on British horseracing. At present this doesn’t happen. The high-tech world is where it is all at and this is the side of the gambling industry we want to be aiming at.

Pulling out for third lot

It is amazing how quickly the foals develop and the ones we have got so far have been wonderful this year. All three are big, strong, well grown foals with excellent mothers and they have really thrived. It has been great that we have not had a lot of rain and cold so they have had a good exercise daily in the paddocks and let’s hope it continues with the rest of the ones that are due. It always makes life a lot easier when things go smoothly.


We had our third foal last night

Thursday, 07 March 2019

"She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts."

George Eliot.

On the farm canter

It’s a bright, cold morning with a strong wind and still very dry. We are forecast plenty of rain later on in the day and towards the weekend, which I hope we get. Across The Flat turf gallop opens on Saturday and some rain will certainly help that in a big way. Everybody is in today so we are back to normal and cracking on with the horses. The heath is beginning to get busier as the yards fill up with horses coming back from their winter holidays and the new two-year-olds starting to learn their job.

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Battery Power and her Nathaniel colt

The mare we expected to foal, Battery Power, had a colt foal last night at a civilised hour. A big strong lad, he was soon up and starting to suck and the mare is a really good mother. He is the full brother to Velvet Vision who I have always thought highly of and let’s hope he can win the Derby in 2023. This game is all about hope and looking to the future and with the new foals it always bring those feelings to the fore. Once again David, our stud groom, was brilliant and the whole team worked as one at this busy time of year on the stud.

Isaac Murphy

Cantering away

There is a great article today on the connections of Presenting Percy who is at present favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next week. His trainer seems a great character, does things his own way, gets results and that’s the way it should be. You can’t have the racing press telling you where and what to do with horses, it is all down to the owner and trainer to decide that themselves. It will be a fantastic achievement if he wins and he must have a great chance, especially if the ground continues like it is.


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