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Spring is finally here

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

"A straight path never leads anywhere except to the objective."

Andre Gide.

Warming up in the trotting ring

It’s another dry day with no wind and spring is possibly on its way. I think it is set to stay like this for at least a week. It has been one of the driest winters on record - in fact it may be one of the driest years we have ever had. We have been doing good normal exercise this morning with everybody in and working well.


I held a meeting of the Newmarket Trainers Federation yesterday in the Jockey Club Rooms. I got a good turnout and there was a lot of discussion. All the topics of staff, prize money and the situations that are developing, were aired in no uncertain terms and it is very interesting times in the industry. We seem to lack a strong leader who can negotiate with the right people and let’s hope we can soon find that person as it would be a tremendous help to everybody. Times are changing fast, especially in how everybody bets and communicates, and I think this is the area that certainly needs looking at. However, the bookmakers are a long way ahead of us as that is all they have to concentrate on, unlike the majority in our sport who are busy running their own businesses. That is why we need a leader and a strong BHA who understand it to put our points across to the politicians.


It looks like, for the first time in a long time, I will have some sharp two-year-olds and may even have a runner in the Brocklesby next weekend. We have a cracking lot of two-year-olds this time who are all showing plenty of ability and, if they stay healthy and sound, we should have a good spring. I still have plenty for sale or free lease and cannot recommend them more highly to anybody wanting to get involved. I know we go on about the prize money levels and everything else which is difficult in our sport at the moment, but to have an interest in a horse that does well is so exciting. The good things are the only things you think about in those moments and believe me it is the best feeling in the world when your horse goes past the post in front. Take a look at the sections of the site that will explain everything about ownership.


We worked Across the Flat this morning

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

"It is the hour to rend thy chains,

The blossom time of souls."

Katherine Lee Bates.

Working Across the Flat

It’s getting much lighter in the mornings now, which is great for us. I’m not sure when the clocks spring forward, but it must be getting nearer and we will be back in darkness once again. We have a full set of staff in, both in the yard and riders, and we have been doing plenty of work with the horses. A few went Across the Flat first lot and the rest have been using Southfields turf canter. All has gone well. It was quite amusing at first lot and something I have not seen before. As I was getting out of my car walking across the gallops a loose horse appeared in the caravan park of the racecourse. It proceeded to run through the silver ring and into the member’s enclosure. It then found a gap in the rails onto the racecourse. It was being chased by many personnel who failed to catch it for quite a while. I did a Lester Piggott and just stood still and let everybody else try and round the beast up. It was finally caught at the six furlong pole as our horses came across and gave it something to look at. I’m not sure whose it was as it didn’t have a rug on it.

Belle Bayeux and Velvet Vision

The fallout from the Cheltenham Festival continues with more and more professional people commenting on the BHA’s crass decision after the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday. I have been telling you for a long time that the BHA has nobody who knows horses and how it all works. I am glad to see there are a lot more professionals, like me, who think the same. If we can’t find anybody to work in our industry who understands it then it is a very poor situation indeed. Why we have to import overseas people is beyond me. This would never have happened if we had had executives who appreciate how our racing world runs. I am not sure where it will all end, but it needs to get sorted and talking will surely help.

Astromerry and Isaac Murphy

I see that Aintree have tightened its safety rules for the Grand National meeting. They are insisting that jockeys who have not ridden round the course more than twice will be required to walk round with a BHA jockey coach. This must be a good thing, but don’t you think that any jockey would want to walk round the course anyway before having a ride. It is just another welfare issue that the officials can put on their lists as to what they have done. I don’t know what the jockeys in the past would have thought of all this but I know my old head lad, Jonnie East who rode in the National many times, would be holding his head in his hands.


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