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We have one runner today at Lingfield

Friday, 25 January 2019

"There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true"

Winston Churchill.

Second lot cantering

It’s a damp morning with a very fine drizzle in the air. At least the temperature has gone up a bit and as we write this, it is four degrees and forecast to go up to nine or 10 as the day goes on. It is the lull before the storm though, as it is due to get much colder again next week with the possibility of snow. It has been a busy morning but we have plenty of staff in. We have a runner going off early to Lingfield, the vet calling in to do an overland scope and just general exercise but everything has gone smoothly and we seem to be well organised.

Velvet Vision

We have one runner today at Lingfield and one tomorrow at Chelmsford. Our runner at Lingfield is Astrosparkle in the 3.25, the mile and a quarter median auction novice race. She has had one run to date where she finished fourth. She will improve on that I hope, but she is a bit of a live wire and this race should do her the world of good for the future. I will not be long in giving her another run after this one and would think that once handicapping she will have the ability to win races.

Our runner tomorrow is Velvet Voice. She runs in the mile and a quarter handicap at 8.15. This doesn’t look the best of races and she must have a chance from stall six. She was disappointing last time out but I think she pulled a muscle – we never quite got to the bottom of what it was. She has always shown enough ability to be competitive and let’s hope it’s today.

Walking back to the yard

Anybody could have told you that the attendances were going to fall and for the third year that is exactly what has happened at the racecourses. There is far too much racing, it is far too expensive, the public are not looked after as well as they should be and the races that are offered from Monday to Friday, other than at the festival meetings, is of very poor fair. There is absolutely no incentive for people to go racing and the racecourses need to pull their fingers out to promote it better. The courses would say that if they reduced fixtures they would lose media rights, but this situation has been made by the racecourses that have a greed for more and more racing. It is unsustainable and will be even more so if the prize money stays as it is. I hope the BHA is watching, but of course they will say it is nothing to do with them it is the racecourses problem i.e. the drone situation.

Astrofire in her new home

I am pleased to see they have put the hind shoe debate on hold whilst they do more research, and so they should. Horses only slip when the ground is loose due to overwatering and the turf gives way as there are no roots, but the powers that be don’t understand this and blame the shoes rather than the real reason. We have had so many horses over the years jump through their front tendons and if people don’t want to run with hind shoes, there should be no rule to make them. Let’s hope common sense prevails for the first time at the BHA.

A seagull flying around in the murk

It was very sad to read of the death of Angus Crichton-Miller who was the former Racecourse Association chairman and British Horseracing Board director. He was married to Morag Gray and our condolences go to her and family and friends. In my dealings with him over the years he was always very straightforward and clear thinking. If he thought you were right he did something about it but if he thought you were wrong he explained why. He was a man that should have gone much further up the ladder in our industry. One of many that have never had the chance through one reason or another.


The heathmen are doing a great job

Thursday, 24 January 2019

"If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

There are no words needed

There was a hard frost overnight and a few flurries of snow, but none has really settled. It is going to stay that way and I think will be below zero all day but warming up a bit towards the weekend and then back to cold next week. The heathmen are doing a great job putting salt and grit on the walking grounds and keeping the polytracks all turned over and suitable for cantering. In the old days we would have been on straw beds around the yard as all we had in those days, other than the turf, was a sand track that used to freeze like concrete. The all-weather surfaces were a great invention and it certainly allows us to keep on the move. With a good lot of riders in we have been cantering on Racecourse Side all morning.

Cantering at first lot

Astromerry didn’t run badly for a long way yesterday but seemed to stop quite quickly in the straight. I will now be looking down her throat to see if her windpipes are working correctly. These things happen only when they come under pressure in a race and although you can replicate a lot of things at home, there is nothing like a race to find them out.

A happy bunch of yard staff

You couldn’t make up the announcement of the world rankings and how the collection of experts came to the conclusion that Winx was on the same level as Cracksman I will never know. They seem to think that the Australians have the best races as well with so many of them highly ranked in the 100 top races. At least the Arc was rated number one, which is something, but the committee this year seems to be very Australian biased. I know we didn’t see much of Enable, but to win the Arc and the Breeders’ Cup you would have thought that would have been enough. The people who put these lists together are computer and figures mad and I am sure they enjoy spreadsheets, but they don’t always tell the right story.


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