Astrofire and Bracken Brae make the journey to Chelmsford ....

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We are keeping close to home today

Thursday, 23 November 2017

"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude."

Ralph Marston.

Tim, a man on a mission to watch second lot

There was plenty of wind last night and it is still blowing quite strongly now. At least it has blown all the leaves into piles and the boys will be finding them easier to pick up on the stud. After early morning rain there is now a bright blue sky and sunshine and the temperature doesn’t quite know what to do as yet, but I think it is set to get colder. We have one new addition to the riding out staff this morning, but still two non-runners of the old crew, which drives everybody to distraction. All the horses have had a good exercise and we have kept close to home as the Rubbing House polytrack is being re-graded today and will take another day to settle in. Tim is getting on well with the new yearlings who are starting to see the lunge ring, and the walker. It is like going to school for the first time, they are enjoying finding their way around the place.

Saint Anthony and Isaac Murphy


The fallout from the wind operation rule continues with quite a few articles in the Racing Post today. It looks to me, and as I understand it, the BHA has taken it upon themselves to bring this rule in, mainly to appease the betting public. They have not really consulted the trainers, owners or breeders, or if they have, have taken no notice whatsoever. I don’t think Ireland or France will bring this rule in and it will be typical of us to do something which could hurt the industry, especially the flat side of it, but we will all have to wait and see.

Garrison Law

I see in one of the columns today there is a slight criticism of the industry not being able to help a jockey who has a major problem. With a few other jockeys saying that they have had depression and other ailments, it has recently been highlighted. Let me assure everybody that the industry has an unbelievably good network of experts who can help anybody, and are willing to do so. However, some people don’t think they need any help and don’t look for it, even if they are advised by their friends to do so. We have had many examples of this in the past and it is very difficult to sort the problems out before they happen, but I would say as an industry, we are very well geared up for any eventuality. 


The wind is really picking up

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

"Life is trying things to see if they work."

Ray Bradbury.

Topalova and Astrobreeze at third lot

It is an amazingly mild start to the day with the temperature forecast to rise to 15 degrees. It is windy though and it has gradually increased as the morning has gone on. I can’t put the flag up today, as once again we have two non-runners. Talking to trainers on a daily basis as I do, this problem is widespread throughout the town. The BHA has absolutely no idea how bad it is and keeps putting their heads in the sand over the problem. Where it will all end, I just don’t know. It is not like it is a hard job, or a poorly paid one, it is a well-paid, healthy, exciting job with plenty of opportunity to travel and improve, but the youngsters of today, or even ones who are getting older, don’t seem to want to work or put any effort in whatsoever. Where this attitude springs from I am not sure, but it must be from the schools and education programmes. We have been able to do two good canters with nearly everything, although a few of them have had to have a lunge and go on the walker.

     04_Trew     05_Farme     07_Azure
The yearling fillies' now in the yard (L-R) ex Trew Class, Farne Odyssey & ex Azure Mist

and ex Astrodiva

The BHA are much more interested in keeping the punters happy with what the Racing Post calls “a keen new nugget of information” where trainers will now have to declare that a horse has had a wind operation when they run for the first time after having the treatment. What a complete waste of time, money and effort as all trainers, and especially vets, will tell you that there is no such thing as a good wind operation and punters will soon learn that backing these horses will lose them money. All it will do is devalue horses and any horse that has a prospective stallion career, will be very hard hit. This very silly rule has been pushed through by the BHA, against the advice from the trainers, breeders and owners, but as usual they are dismissed as they are only the professionals and don’t know anything about horses!

It is the poor punter who needs all the information he can get to have his £1 each way on, if he can get that amount on, with the bookies. What will they want to know next, how many nails has a horse got in its shoe, when it last ate, or drank, does it live with a sheep or goat, has it a good view from its stable at home, has it passed any o levels and what school did it go to, have they been mucked out by a Hungarian or a Pakistani. It is just a completely barmy rule. The BHA should concentrate on matters that can do some good. Yard inspections, dope testing, race planning, which is a complete cock up, and getting their new computer system perfected. They should also put pressure on racecourses to get stables properly cleaned out between runners, make sure there are closed loading ramps at every track and make sure that the disabled facilities are up to scratch, but if you read my blog yesterday, you will see that they are entwined with the big bookmakers who run rings round them.

Bob is guarding his feed bowls from the birds

I bet you are all wondering what the skeleton of the blue whale at the Natural History Museum was all about on the site yesterday, and I completely forgot to explain. Angie and I had very kindly been invited by Max and Malcolm Franklin to the Royal Warrant Holders dinner, which was held there. We went last year when the skeleton of the dinosaur was hanging there, but that has now gone on its travels and the blue whale has taken over. It is a remarkable sight and we must all do everything we can to save these creatures of the ocean from becoming extinct. The TV programme on plastic was very enlightening and it is something that everybody should put their minds to sorting out.


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