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We have two runners over the weekend.

Friday, 12 January 2018

"Let exercise alternate with rest."

Pythagoras.

01_CR
The Cambridge Road Polytrack

It’s another damp and dank morning with a slight drizzle at first lot, gradually clearing as the time has progressed. We had Joey Haynes in today which is always a big help and we galloped a few on the Cambridge Road polytrack. All the rest have been cantering on Racecourse Side. It was great to have Michael Bowring visit us yesterday and we went to Chelmsford to watch Topalova run in the evening. Mike was out early with the string and saw Topapinion do some fast work at second lot. For those of you who can remember he has owned several very good horses, the best being Babodana. He won the Lincoln and was placed multiple times in many Group races. What a great horse he was.

09_Mike
Owner Mike Bowring watching his horse on the gallop

Both runners ran about the same last night. Each had a good blow afterwards and will be fitter next time, but I also think they will be seeing some flights of hurdles before too much longer, along with Bracken Brae.

We have two runners this weekend. Indian Red runs tomorrow night at Wolverhampton and after his good run at Newcastle, he should be very competitive in this race and on Sunday we run Astrofire at Southwell in the seven furlong novice stakes. Her saddle slipped last time and we couldn’t get a handicap mark for her, so I thought we would switch surfaces and have a look to see if she will like the fibresand. She is not without a chance each way if taking to it.

10_TT__Tpin
TTMAB and Topapinion with the Guv'nor

There are a couple of interesting articles today in the Racing Post, one on the hard times the independent bookmarkers in the high street are having. They are shutting their shops at a rate of four a week and are bailing out of the game as quickly as possible. It is all to do with costs and how the betting public now gamble. It is sad to see these smaller shops shut, but bookmakers are now computers, rather than men with their own opinions.

The other interesting article and I have been saying it for years, is Tom Kerr talking in his column about how one of our top jump trainers has lost a lot of his good horses this year, for one reason or another.  These good horses don’t come along too often and I always say to everyone, that when you get one, enjoy those good days as when they are finished, it is nearly impossible to replace that horse. Trainers and owners don’t understand this until they have actually experienced it for themselves. You do need plenty of luck and as Gary Player, the golfer, used to say, “keep practicing, as the more you practice, the luckier you get”. How right he is.

Phil on Friday
phil

With the holiday-planning season in full swing my thoughts inevitably turn to Malta. I love the place and just about everything about it, but on my last visit there was still a glaring shortcoming NO RACING. There was trotting, yes, hugely popular and entertaining, but not what I’d call the real thing.

So, with English papers hard to come by and the Racing Post not even heard of, it was necessary to trawl through the local press for some racing item or other to brighten the days. Patience was finally rewarded by the esteemed Malta Independence on Sunday which carried the startling headline: “Half the horses tested in races in Malta found to be positive.”

Italy apparently claimed the dubious distinction of heading the European trotting league in the ‘most positive dope tests’ category with 134 the previous year (this was all some time ago) but it had held far more races than any other European country – 15,769 in fact. From 12,771 tests in France 26 were positive that year, while most other European nations showed negligible returns.

But what of Malta? It’s shocking really. The island staged only 468 races in the 12 months in question – as I have said, quite a time ago – and of 33 horses tested 15 were found to be positive.

Was the situation improving or worsening though? Well, no less a figure than Mr. Dean Hoffman, said to be ‘one of America’s most prolific harness racing journalists and member of the US Harness Racing Hall Of Fame,’ later took time to check the statistics for the following year and found that ‘Malta reported zero positive tests…’

Huge progress then, but wait … the illustrious Mr. Hoffman delved more deeply into Malta’s latest squeaky clean returns and concluded: ‘Undoubtedly the reason (for the zero return) is that Malta conducted absolutely no drug tests … ’

Good reasoning, that!

 

We have two runners today at Chelmsford

Thursday, 11 January 2018

"The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy."

Jim Rohn.

20_Yard_used
A dark morning

It’s a very damp day once again with fog hanging around as well. It seems to have been wet and horrible for the last few weeks and we are starting to get fed up with it. Some good clear dry mornings would do everybody the power of good. When you go out on the heath and the walking grounds are muddy, the horses come back covered in polytrack and wet carrstone. We have had a good morning so far with the horses cantering and apart from one non-runner, we are getting on well.

02_Clipping
The Guv'nor is out clipping this morning

Bracken Brae travelled well for a long way yesterday but when push comes to shove, I don’t think she puts a lot of effort in nowadays on the flat. We now have three options - a pair of blinkers to see if that helps, have a run over hurdles or fences, or retire her to stud. We will be discussing this shortly.

We have two runners today both at Chelmsford. Topalova is our first runner at 7.30. We have put blinkers on her once again and let’s hope it concentrates her mind. She is capable of being competitive in a race like this. Clearance is our next runner in the 8 o’clock. The exact same comments apply to him in that he should be competitive if putting his best foot forward.

128_Stud_used
Having a nice pick of grass at the stud

I see a survey has been done on a variety of sports on whether they are exciting or not. I don’t know who the survey asked and what cross section of the public they were, but how they can come to the conclusion that athletics was the most exciting I just don’t know. In fact they make golf the most boring, followed by American football and cricket. I think this is one of those surveys to just completely ignore.

08_Smokey_and_Dame_Judi
Smokey Oakey and Dame Judi Dench receiving a cheque for £10,000 for the RDA from Copthorne Golf Club, West Sussex

I am glad to see the stewards are starting to fight back against the BHA’s wish to have professional stewards only. The way it works now is that the volunteers do a great job and just give that bit of independence and reasoning, which is sometimes needed. I hope the system continues like it is, albeit with a few little tweaks. 

 
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