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Good Bye Smokey

Thursday, 06 December 2018

"You can find inspiration from others but determination is solely your responsibility."


Working yesterday on the Cambridge Road Polytrack

It’s grey and overcast but very mild once again. There is no rain as yet but there is plenty forecast for later in the day. Just a normal cantering morning with the horses and all is going as expected so far.

     20_Ex_Lady_B     19_Ex_Mega
Casamento ex Lady Bellatrix and Garswood ex Mega on the yearling grounds

Our two runners yesterday didn’t trouble the judge but Pageant Master ran a sound enough race. He got a bit unbalanced coming down the hill but ran on well in the straight once he was balanced again. He will get a mile and I would think that will be the distance for his next outing. Ness Of Brodgar had every chance but failed to quicken when asked. We will be having a reassessment and a veterinary check over before making new plans. She has got plenty of ability, as we see at home, but when the real pressure is on there may be something that just stops her. I am sure we will find something that we can put right.

In the wash down box after exercise

I see the new Sky Racing Channel has launched with all the usual faces, apart from Alex Hammond who used to be on the racing channel coming back to the fore. I hope they concentrate more on the horses rather than the betting side but it will be interesting to see how it evolves. I am delighted to see they have Jason Weaver, who is by far the best analyser. He talks sense and not rubbish.

Smokey Oakey winning the Lincoln

It is a very sad day as I have to let everybody know that Smokey Oakey, one of our Lincoln winners and Brigadier Gerard winner, very sadly had to be put down after an accident in his stable. He had been retired to a fantastic place where he was doing so much good for Riding for the Disabled and was loved by everybody. I would like to thank Sally O’Neill and her daughter, who regularly rode him, for all the love and care they gave him. He was a brilliant horse for Judi Dench and Bryan Agar. He won for them as a two-year-old and then went on to win some very prestigious races. He also got his head in front over hurdles. He was one of those horses that everybody loved and he will be very sadly missed. Just a very funny aside about him though. He got loose once when schooling on the Links and ran loose down the Cambridge Road, up Newmarket High Street to the Clock Tower. He then turned left down the Fordham Road and was eventually caught at Tesco’s where he thought he was going for a pint of Guinness. He didn’t have a scratch on him and I think he quite enjoyed the outing, although he put the fear of God up many motorists and pedestrians. He was just a proper horse.


We have two runners today at Lingfield

Wednesday, 05 December 2018

"Gratitude is the mother of virtues."


Red Sky in the morning...

It's a really wet wild dark morning, and although the forecasters told us it was going to be mild, it feels pretty cold to me even with two coats on. I have been working horses on the Cambridge Road polytrack and all went well. That part of the heath is wide open to the elements and you certainly need all the wet weather gear you have. Most of the rest of the string have stayed closer to home having a good exercise and trying to keep as dry and warm as possible.


                                                           Beween showers, a happy crew

We have two runners today both at Lingfield. Pageant Master is our first one at 12 o'clock in the seven furlong nursery. He was hampered at the start last time and never got into it and I'm hoping for a much better show today. Ness of Brodgar runs later on in the card in the mile and a half handicap. She was very disappointing last time at Yarmouth. We have fitted a tongue tie today for the first time and in this sort of race she should be competitive.


There is a big article today on why the BHA should be encouraged to expand syndicates and multiple ownership. In Australia it is the norm but here we are very poor at organising this form of ownership. I have always been a great advocate of mass ownership as demonstrated by my many newspaper syndicates back in the 1980's and 1990's, our original Mark Tompkins Racing Club and now our Raceworld. They have given so many people an insight to the ownership world. Unfortunately in the past these multiple groups have been unregulated and some participants have had an unsatisfactory experience. The BHA should definitely encourage this type of ownership but make sure the operations are all above board. The paperwork should be simple and transparent. In the past racing offices have organised everything for syndicate members, which worked extremely well and efficiently. This year the BHA has complicated things by expecting members to complete their own paperwork on line. We find this has not been a popular move.


Velvet Vision

Our best wishes must go to Lester Piggott for a speedy recovery as he has had a few days in hospital in London. He was the greatest jockey anybody will ever see, and although each generation would say that about their star, in his case I am sure I am right in this.


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