The end of the Tote monopoly ...

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                     Four Fifty Three wins at                      Chelmsford


All trainers are trying to beat the heat

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

Marcel Proust.

Four Fifty Three

Velvet Voice

It’s been overcast this morning and it was only at 9.15 that it started to brighten up. It has been a perfect temperature to get the horses out and we had our first lot out at 5.30. Everybody is in, in fact another lost soul turned up to ride out which was very helpful. In this heat we are giving the horses a normal canter, washing them down with plenty of cool water, followed by a pick of grass before putting them back in their stables. We are also putting electrolytes in the feed which replaces the salt lost and makes them drink more. It is just careful horse management and welfare. I think most of the yards in town are pulling out early in this heatwave.

Walking back home after first lot

I don’t know about you but watching racing and football this last week has driven me barmy with all the adverts from the gambling firms. I thought the government were going to do something about this situation, especially as the world cup games are on at a time young children can watch them. We are being bombarded to bet on everything known to man and although we all like a bet now and again, I think it is starting to get beyond a joke and the betting firms should be regulated as to their advertising. I see there is some call for a minimum betting margin as the bookmakers are now being accused of using racing as a lost leader to attract customers and thus reducing levy payments to racing. This is always a complicated thing to prove and the government would have to be convinced, but with everything that is going on in the aftermath of the FOBTs announcement, and with racing trying to get a levy on all foreign racing, plus the Tote not knowing which way it is going, there is plenty for everybody to think about.

Legging up second lot


We are desperate for rain on the stud as the fields are beginning to get very firm and with young foals galloping about, this is when accidents can happen, especially on young bones. The feet are very susceptible and hairline cracks can appear from nowhere. The forecast says for it to break next week, but let’s hope we have some steady rain, rather than thunderstorms which would soon wash off the top.


We pulled out early this morning

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."

Marie Curie.

Cantering on the Rubbing House polytrack

We started early this morning because of the very warm weather and first lot pulled out about 5.30. Everybody was in and I am really appreciative of the hard work the staff are putting in at this time. We have been cantering mainly on the Rubbing House polytrack over the full trip of a mile. We also put three colts through the stalls at second lot, which was just before 7 o’clock. All went very smoothly. I have been talking to several clerks of the courses who are frantically watering to stop the ground going to firm. I think they are fighting a losing battle at present because as soon as they put it on it evaporates, either in mid-air, or when hitting the warm turf. As yet we have not seen field sizes greatly reduced, but if it keeps on I am sure it will soon affect the number of runners.

Second lot

I see the Irish authorities have sent a letter to all their licenced trainers warning against the increase of recreational drug use and horses that have been tested positive for illegal substances. Unfortunately this is becoming a major problem and I am sure there will be more and more horses that are tested positive because of this. I am not sure how you can stop this, or how you can prove it either way. We are constantly on our guard and it is a sign of the times that this problem has arisen. Our own BHA provides guidelines to trainers of unintentional exposure to these substances, but actually in practice it is very hard to guard against, in fact almost impossible.

Waiting to go in the washdown box

It is going to be very sad not to hear the dulcet tones on Dessie Scahill, the Irish commentator who have been retired by the Irish Racecourse Association at the great age of 70. He has been the voice of Irish racing for so many years and similar to our great Peter O’Sullevan he will be very greatly missed, but nothing stays the same forever. We wish him well in retirement and hope his successors can keep the standard of commentary as high as he did.


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