May the best man win ...


The rain has finally arrived

Monday, 10 June 2019

"Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old."

Mary H. Waldrip.

Walking through the rain to the start of the canter


At last we have some rain. It has been pretty steady since the early hours and let’s hope we get what the forecasters are predicting. We have been desperate for this amount for a long time now and although it is not very funny riding out when it is like this, it will do nothing but good for the racecourses, the training grounds, the stud fields and everybody’s gardens. We have had a good morning with the horses and have been cantering mainly on Southfields Round which I am finding is one of the best exercises at present. The horses relax well on it, they can go both ways, you don’t have to go very quick, just good steady canters in rhythm. Horses learn how to lead on either leg, all in all a good exercise.

Ness Of Brodgar

Isaac Murphy ran very poorly on Saturday at Chelmsford. He was really well behaved beforehand and during the preliminaries - through the stalls etc. but the jockey felt there was something wrong when asked to quicken. He pulled up sound though and the veterinary’s inspection afterwards were all fine. He has shown me a lot more at home so I will be having our vet check him over this week to find out what the problem was and go again before too long. A great big horse, he may still be very much on the weak side. I think the race was quite good and there should be several winners to come out of it.

Walking off the gallop after exercise

The build up to Royal Ascot has started in earnest now and what a week it will be once again. I think we will have one runner there this year on the Friday. Hopefully Garrel Glen will contend the Sandringham handicap, a mile race for fillies only. It is a meeting that if you have never been to you should at least go to once in your life, especially the first day, the Tuesday, which I always think is the best day. We are very lucky having the royal patronage and the Queen still so enthusiastic about our sport and owning racehorses. I just hope the next generation of royals can continue the tradition and follow her fantastic example.


We have one runner tomorrow at Chelmsford

Friday, 07 June 2019

"The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet."


Working on the Peat Moss

The weather has just started to change as we write this, much more cloud and a strong wind. It smells like rain and let’s hope we can get a good drop today. We certainly need it. We have had a good morning with the horses with two jockeys in and a full complement of staff, both riding and on the ground. We did a bit with some two-year-olds on the Peat Moss and then most of the others have been using the polytracks close to home. All has gone well.

First canter on Southfields Round 

... followed by a second canter up Hamilton Hill

Our runner last night was very pleasing. She has had plenty of small problems and this is the first time, for a long time, we have had her just about right. She had a real good blow afterwards but showed she has the ability we know she possesses. I think the step up in trip was certainly in her favour and she is sure to win races if we can get a clear run from now on. Her owners have had to be patient but I think their understanding will be repaid in the near future. I don’t like being second but two good runners this week has certainly cheered everybody up.

We have one runner tomorrow back at Chelmsford once again. Isaac Murphy makes his debut in what looks a pretty warm mile and a quarter maiden. He is a great big horse with a fantastic pedigree but has needed plenty of time and patience once again. He has shown he has some ability and it will be interesting to see how he shapes up in this company tomorrow.

Roof Garden

I cannot believe Epsom are insisting that they will not move the Derby from Saturday to its old day on a Wednesday. The general manager of Epsom seems to be obsessed with the global TV revenue, rather than the tradition and history of the race. They may have been struggling to find a sponsor 25 years ago, but times are different now. If the Melbourne Cup, which is on a Tuesday, is as big as it is, there is no reason why the Derby couldn’t regain all its fame and place in everybody’s heart if moved back to the original day. Saturday is a day when other things happen, whereas the public love to have a day off and go racing midweek, even if it is only once a year. It is just disappointing to me that the people who run the racecourse are against history.

Velvet Vision

Moving well

There was a little piece that caught my eye in the Racing Post today which I wanted to bring to everybody’s attention. There was a race yesterday at Hamilton, I think it was the last race, where two horses went into the wrong stalls. One was drawn seven but went into stall 12 and vice versa, one finished second and the other was nowhere. Unbelievably the only punishment was that both jockeys were handed a one day ban for their mistake. My question is what has happened to the starter, his assistant and all the stall handlers - they must have been mistaken as well. The professional steward on duty, who should be watching the load and holding a walkie talkie in his hand, should also have noticed. It is completely unfair to the punters as the draw at Hamilton plays a big part. I remember I once had three favourites all drawn a certain side. I went all the way to Hamilton full of enthusiasm only to be told by a local that my horses had no chance today as the draw would beat them all. How right he was, but if jockeys and officials can get away lightly with mistakes like that I don’t know what the game is coming to.


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