Three interesting and thought provoking pieces ....

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It's a settled week ahead

Monday, 22 May 2017

"You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand new ending."

James R. Sherman.

Walking through the open stalls

On Southfields grass

After a showery weekend, it now looks to be a settled week ahead. The rain has certainly done a lot of good as the grass and gardens have started to fly up. I have even had people complaining that the gallops aren’t open, but I have had to tell them that the ones that are open are in perfect condition and are great for galloping on. Trainers and farmers are never happy. We have been using the grass canter on Southfields this morning and have cantered over a mile on perfect turf. We also used the Southfield Round polytrack for a few of them. All has gone well and with our new travelling head girl, Holly, in situ, we are starting to fire on all cylinders, although I will not be having many runners this week.

Rum Ration

I didn’t run the two at Ripon because the ground was certainly on the softer side and the Clerk of the Course had not updated the ground as it was happening. Certainly Ripon is one of the courses that don’t seem to worry about trainers and their communication about their ground needs to get better. With the BHA website now, there is no need for big gaps between updating. I am sure everywhere will dry up this week and quite quickly if the high temperatures forecast are anything to go by. 

True Calling

American racing always baffles me as there seems to be different result every time, especially in the big races as the Preakness Stakes showed this weekend. The winner of the Kentucky Derby finished nearer last than first and I am sure it is something to do with the different rules in each state, i.e. what they can and cannot run on. It is far better to have a completely drug free regime and stick by it. It is beyond me why trainers have to use drugs to make horses run quicker.


We have declared two runners for Sunday

Friday, 19 May 2017

"Do not give up if you fail as fail stands for First Attempt In Learning."


It's Newmarket races today, but will the sun be shining on the stands

It’s a damp morning, very overcast and we have had bouts of drizzle on and off since first light. It is also not very warm, around 9 or 10 degrees, but thank goodness we have got no wind and only a good coat is needed to keep warm. We have been on the Southfields Round polytrack most of the morning and believe it or not, everything has gone well and the riders have done as I have asked them. It is simple really training racehorses, feed them well, have good stable management, have staff who can ride and like horses, and then it is purely up to the ability and health of the horse.

Saint Anthony

We look like we will have two runners at Ripon on Sunday, unless it pours with rain and the ground goes soft. It is amazing to me that the ground at Ripon is still being called good as they are not very far from York which has had buckets of rain. At Ripon they have had very little and it is only a few miles away. Budgie will be our first runner in the six furlong two-year-old race. He ran much better than his finishing position showed last time and if he handles this undulating course, will not be too far away. I have brought Dixon back in trip to a 1m 1f maiden and although there will be one or two very talented horses in this race, he is another that should run well if the course doesn’t find him out. For those of you that don’t know Ripon at all, it is an absolutely lovely course to visit, with great charm and everything close to hand. The only problem with it is the course is very undulating, especially in the straight and horses can get very unbalanced if they hit the ridges out of stride. There again some of them love it and you just don’t know until you run there.

Honey Blossom

The Derby picture is still very muddled after yesterday’s Dante run with a horse not even entered in the Derby winning for the Godolphin Empire. It sounds like our 2,000 Guineas winner won’t be taking part and the Irish will be leaving it to one of their other bunch of prospects. To my eye, Newmarket has a couple of horses that will improve a lot, both trained by Michael Stoute, but will they do in time as there is only 15 days to go. It is amazing how it comes round so quickly every year, it is like Christmas and your Birthday. 

Ginger Lady

Phil on Friday

There are just two weeks and a day to go to the 2017 renewal of the world’s greatest flat race, the Epsom Derby. Its 237-year history is full of legend and romance, but little can match the race of 1908 won by rank outsider Signorinetta. Two days later she won the Oaks as well.

Signorinetta was bred, owned and trained by Chevalier Ginistrelli, a quiet, friendly and dignified little man who had come to Britain from Italy in the 1880s. He brought with him a small string of racehorses and brood mares and subsequently bred Signorina, unbeaten in nine races as a two-year-old. She was retired in 1892 and was largely disappointing at stud until, aged 18, she brought forth Signorinetta, her first live filly foal.

It had been the intention the previous year to mate her with Cyllene, but that top stallion had the offer of far better mares so the Chevalier was forced to make other plans. While he was contemplating his options, it so happened that the obscure stallion Chaleureux, a former selling plater, was led past Signorina’s box every morning on his way to exercise. The two called to each other day after day and the Chevalier became convinced they were in love, so he arranged a mating.

The product was Signorinetta who became, according to contemporary reports, “the darling of the Chevalier’s romantic heart and the apple of his discerning eye.”

As a two-year-old she was unplaced in her first five races but then won a nursery at Newmarket. The following year she was unplaced in the 1,000 Guineas and another race at Newmarket but, undeterred, the gallant Chevalier prepared her for Epsom. There were 18 runners in the Derby and she went off at 100-1. She was drawn 13, took the lead halfway up the straight and won by two lengths. The crowd was stunned and the Chevalier, attired in Panama hat and “far from fashionably cut jacket”, rushed out to lead her in.

Two days later she won the Oaks and the proud Chevalier was sent for by King Edward VII. Later he presented all the touts who had watched his filly work on Newmarket Heath with the princely sum of half a crown.

Signorinetta ran in three more races, including the St. Leger, and was unplaced every time. She retired to stud and produced nothing of great note, though all of her six progeny won races of some description and she became the ancestress of Pont l’Eveque, who won a wartime Derby at Newmarket.

For the Chevalier, she remained everything that was beautiful.

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