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The colder weather is on the way

Monday, 10 December 2018

"Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide."

Napoleon Bonaparte.

Another beautiful sunrise to start the week

It’s a calm still morning with the temperature just about holding up. I think the forecast is for it to be very mixed during the week and getting colder towards next weekend. Everybody is in who should be in on the riding front today and we have been cantering on the polytracks Racecourse Side. All has gone well so far. We should be having a runner or two on Wednesday and Thursday at Kempton and Chelmsford.

Walking back after first lot

I see the Jockey Club have got plans to build houses and a hotel at Sandown and then re-develop the stands and other parts of the racecourse. The Racing Post seems to think that will spare Kempton from being lost but they don’t really look at the bigger picture and are not thinking, in my opinion, about the future of the sport. It looks to me like Sandown, which is a great course but needs a lot of updating, have done the right thing. A hotel would be very useful and the housing should pay for the updates of everything else.

I can never understand the fuss about Kempton as nobody goes to watch the mundane flat racing that is put on. The other day when there was a jump meeting there were very few runners and small fields, so even the jumping boys, who seem to make all the noise about closure, are not supporting the track. The racing world has to look further afield and see which way we are going and in my opinion with the cost of everything increasing we need to very quickly consider centralised racing in the south. Yorkshire and the north are lucky that they have so many tracks within an hour or so to get to, but everywhere else have huge travelling costs to consider. These are very off-putting to the majority of owners and we need to do something to sort this out. An all-weather track at Newmarket is a must and if it means sacrificing one good day of racing, i.e. the King George which could easily be moved to Sandown, it would be worth it. The cost to owners would decrease immediately and it should encourage new ones to enter the sport. Obviously the prize money has to rise but if Chelmsford can do it why can’t every track. The latest report that trainers don’t consider prize money when entering a horse is complete tosh.

Ness of Brodgar and Velvet Vista

It is great to see Sylvestre de Sousa doing so well in Hong Kong. Our champion jockey is a great credit to his profession and the one thing he always does is give his all. He tries his best on everything and horses run for him. He doesn’t get the acclaim he should here in Britain but the public in the Far East love him. Jockeys in Hong Kong are treated like kings and I am sure he is never refused a table in any restaurant. If only our racing was as well funded as Hong Kong.


It is absolutely tipping down

Friday, 07 December 2018

"The family is a haven in a heartless world."

Attributed to Christopher Lasch.

First lot on Hamilton Hill

It’s a very wet start to the day and looks to be staying like this for most of the morning and then its forecast for Saturday and Sunday as well. It is also so dark and doesn’t seem to get light until 7.30 at the earliest. There were a lot of horses out on Hamilton Hill this morning cantering in the dark and everything seemed to go off well, but I always worry if anybody had a loose one what would happen. The one good thing about Hamilton Hill is that it is in an enclosed area and if a horse had any brains at all it has a huge choice of yards to go into. Everybody knows whose horses are whose with the sheets and tack so loose ones are quickly sorted out. On mornings like this we just get in and out with as good an exercise as we can under the circumstances.

Dark and wet this morning

I was delighted to see that Sheikh Fahad ridiculed the idea of team racing which seems to keep rearing its head and I am disappointed that The Jockey Club chief executive is delighted to support the series. It is another completely stupid idea as is inner city racing. Why we just can’t concentrate on what we have got and improve it from within is beyond me. We have the best racing in the world, everybody wants to buy our horses and breeding stock and yet we still want to behave like we are in Disney World and promote Mickey Mouse competitions. Both these initiatives, in my opinion, is just people trying to make a quick buck out of selling sponsorship to unsuspecting companies who don’t understand how it all works. I can’t see the difference in what we have now though as the Maktoum’s have their team, Coolmore have their team, the Qatari’s have their team and Khalid Abdullah has his team etc. If they think the public is going to get excited about following a team they already do it. Let’s all just move on and concentrate in getting the dross out of racing which just keeps the bookmakers making money, the shops open for gullible punters to lose money on the machines and the chief executives of the bookmaking firms to have huge salaries.

Third lot and it a bit lighter but not much dryer

There is a great article on Frankie today in the Racing Post where his enthusiasm shines through. He certainly is not the man for the smaller days but on the big days there is nobody better and with his trainers firing on all cylinders this year, it has bought him back to the big time in a big way. His comments on Italian racing make interesting reading as racing there, and in many other European countries, is on the decline and we should really appreciate that we still have a public that loves horses and racing.

Break Cover and Half Past Eight

The betting industries plan to ban advertising from whistle to whistle on live sporting events, other than racing, is very welcome. The one thing that drives me mad is the constant betting adverts when watching any type of sport. We are very dependent on the bookmakers but we wouldn’t be if we had our own Tote that was run properly. Many sports nowadays would go under, as would racing, if there were no bookmaker investment. I heard on the radio the other day that snooker would not be there without the backing of the firms. Most football clubs have shirt sponsors from betting firms and it goes on. Why sports can’t attract sponsors who are not gambling orientated I ask myself many times. Maybe they are just not out there or that the rules and regulations now make it so complicated for them to do so, but this self-inflicted position should be the start of a much bigger general reduction.


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