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Another beautiful spring like day

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

"Games lubricate the body and the mind."

Benjamin Franklin.

Walking to the gallops Racecourse Side

The warm weather has continued and it’s another glorious morning here in Newmarket. I am not sure it will hit the dizzy heights of 20 or 21 degrees as it did yesterday, but it certainly won’t be far off. We have one non-runner riding wise, which is disappointing as the team have been brilliant of late, and when you are organised for the day and somebody doesn’t turn up, it takes a bit of sorting out, especially when owners are expected. We have been using the polytracks on Racecourse Side as the turf is certainly on the fast side which is amazing for this time of year.

Cantering on the polytracks

You always have a plan when owners come to the yard as to where and what canters you are going to use and how the work is going to go, but it is amazing how many times it all goes wrong when they are in attendance. Everything can go well for months, but as soon as somebody comes to watch their horse in training, the complete opposite happens as to what is planned. I am sure it is not only me it happens to and you have to see the funny side at times. I can remember once, years ago, an owner wanted to come and see his horse school over hurdles for the first time. I, with my way of thinking, schooled him two days before and he jumped absolutely brilliantly. However, when the owner came he ran straight through the wing, deposited the jockey and then took half an hour to catch the beast. Best laid plans, they never work!

Exercise over and now making their way back to the yard

David Ashforth has got a piece in the Racing Post today on catering for the elderly at the racetrack. It is well worth reading and quite amusing, but his point about somewhere to sit is very poignant. There is never anywhere to sit down as all the seats and chairs are a health and safety problem, according to the racecourses, and have long ago disappeared. The only ones I know now are the ones at Kempton. There is never anybody on them at their evening flat meetings, and you can sit out there watching the big screen until your hearts content, but try and find one at Cheltenham, Ascot and Newmarket and it is an impossible task.


Is it really still only February

Monday, 25 February 2019

"To lead is difficult when you’re a follower of fear."

Terri Guillemets.

Guv'nor watching the string

It feels the warmest day of the year so far and absolutely unbelievable weather for February. I have been taking layers off as the day has gone on and am now just down to a jumper rather than three coats. I am sure it won’t last though and March and April will be horrendous as we are desperate for rain. It has been a good morning with the horses going over to Warren Hill for a couple of canters and I think we will be doing this exercise, although it is a very long one, twice a week from now on. It does some of the keen ones good to get a hill. It looks like there is no likelihood of a new hill being built Racecourse Side, so Warren and Long Hill are the only two in town.

Garrel Glen leading Velvet Vision yesterday on Warren Hill

Velvet Voice

The prize money saga rolls on with the Chief Executive of Arc standing firm and saying he is 100% certain they will not buckle. I would think in the long run it will be the end of one or two racecourses as the big public company that Arc is don’t care about horses and racing, they just care about shareholders and profit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wolverhampton and places like Chepstow and even Yarmouth disappear into the abyss if they have their way. I don’t know if any of you saw Luck on Sunday this weekend where Ralph Beckett was one of the guests. I don’t know whose side Nick is on but as a presenter I suppose he has be to neutral but Ralph’s point about the media rights and that two thirds go to the racecourse and only a third, at most, going back to prize money, is the most poignant. The owners with their trainers supply the actors and the action, all the racecourse does is supply the theatre. It would never happen in the West End or anywhere else and we need to take some proper legal advice, get some big names behind us and go back to court as I can only see that as the way forward. But, once again, like legalising betting shops 60 years ago, we have been hoodwinked and left behind by people who have no interest in our sport, just making money.

Giving feedback

Cheltenham gets ever nearer and I just have the feeling that we are going to get horrendous weather and it will be run on bottomless ground. It always quite amuses me that the Racing Post is always full of Cheltenham for months and months beforehand and Royal Ascot, the flat equivalent, only gets a few days. I am sure the Racing Post has more jump fans than flat ones.


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