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

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We have two runners today at Chelmsford

Thursday, 06 September 2018

"For what avail the plough or sail,

Or land or life, if freedom fail?"

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Cantering on Hamilton Hill


It’s a strange morning weather wise as it was pretty cold first thing with a bit of drizzle in the air, but since 5 o’clock it has quickly brightened up, the temperature has risen and it looks to be a warmish day. Hopefully the forecast rain will arrive, which will be very welcome. We have had a good morning so far with plenty of people in and have been cantering on the polytracks, plus a few went through the stalls. My little gang of stall handlers did very well as it was the first time for a couple of the horses, but they all played their part well and a bit of grass and a pat on the neck always works wonders.


Canter finished now back to the yard

Rum Ration beat one and earned himself £300 last night, but didn’t sparkle and I think we will be finding him a home doing a different equine activity.

We have two runners today both this evening at Chelmsford. Our first runner is Pageant Master in the six furlong novice auction. He has been off the track a long time since his debut as he got a bit jarred in his knees on the firm ground. His first run was fine, in fact there are a couple in that race who hold the form up very well. Tonight will improve him again and I am sure he will run with credit. Our other runner is Roof Garden in the 6.45, the one mile handicap. He got up in the final strides to win last time out, is drawn a bit better today and I would hope he would be very competitive once again.

Stalls training this morning

We always mention Laytown every year and it’s the unique courses day again today where there are plenty of runners splashing through the water and sand giving people a lot to shout about. It is great craic at a most unique course and the Guinness will keep flowing until you can’t drink anymore. I would always advise everybody once in their lifetime to go and visit Laytown.

An old owl on the water trough at 5.30 this morning

Bill Barber’s piece in the Post today seems to hint that the BHA will be having a shuffle about with the chairman leaving and things not very happy in the camp. It will take a strong man to lead from the front and sort out all the squabbling sections. We certainly need clarity moving forward.


We have one runner tonight at Wolverhampton

Wednesday, 05 September 2018

"Nobody is too old for fairy tales."


Ginger Lady on the Hamilton Hill

It’s an overcast day once again but no wind and the temperature is holding up ok. I can feel myself wishing for some rain now and it would certainly do some good. We have a yard full of riders this morning and have been getting on well with all the horses - cantering on the polytracks close to the yard, having a good exercise, a good wash down and a good pick of grass. All has gone well.

Quanah having a pick of grass after his wash down

We have one runner tonight at Wolverhampton which will be a nightmare for the lads as it is the 8.25. This means they won’t be on the road back home until 9.30 at the earliest and that means the M6 / A14 diversions will be in play. I can feel a 1 o’clock in the morning return coming on. The sooner we get an all-weather track at Newmarket the better. It is absolutely barmy that this situation happens. I have fitted blinkers to Rum Ration this time out. He has the ability, but has not shown it yet. This race isn’t readymade for him as the top weight is very well in on ratings and they also claim off it. Let’s hope he can beat some and at least he will win £300 to help pay the bills.

Des visiting Rosie Scot

There are two interesting articles today in the Racing Post. The first is on the trainer’s situation when a big owner moves a lot of horses which has happened to one or two trainers lately. It is a highly pressurised business and you have to have the resilience and be pragmatic about the future, but when you understand the game properly, as most trainers’ do, you will certainly understand that the sport is changing and the big owners and trainers are getting bigger, and the smaller ones are struggling. I have said it before and I will say it again, the BHA, the Owners Association and the Horseman’s Group for that matter have got to do something quickly to encourage new owners to come into the game.

The other interesting article, and it shows, is Mark Johnston talking about how he buys horses at the sales. He buys like we do, the ones that are not manipulated in price by the vendor’s high reserves. He also buys ones that are not completely correct in conformation. In fact if you go to the races and look at conformation you will see a tremendous amount of winners, or any winner for that matter, will have a leg on him in every county i.e. the conformation is not correct, but the agents won’t buy these types as they will be off putting to future purchasers. It is also interesting that Mark doesn’t bother about x-rays much which now seems to be the Holy Grail at top sales. It is like breeding, you need luck which when you get it is brilliant.


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