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Quanah and Roof Garden run at Newmarket followed by Astroblaze and Indian Red at Chelmsford ...

We have one runner today at Market Rasen

Friday, 11 May 2018

"In summer, the song sings itself."

William Carlos Williams.

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Velvet Vision and Velvet Voice

It is the most beautiful morning. We galloped a few on the Cambridge Road Polytrack. Richard Marriott came out to watch his Velvet Vision work nicely with her lead horse in preparation for her next run. Everything went according to plan and all the horses went well.

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Above and below, Astrojewel, Astroblaze, and True Calling

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We have one runner today. Gee Sixty Six runs in the 1.30 at Market Rasen and Jack Quinlan takes the ride. He has schooled well but, as normal like all ours, will need this first run over hurdles for experience. He preferred to go right handed on the flat so that is why I'm introducing him here at Market Rasen.

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Walking back after galloping

The BHA board crisis  deepens with more industry figures coming out demanding information. I'm glad they agree with me that the industry needs clarity about what is going on. We shall follow this with great interest but, whatever the outcome, I'm sure some heads will roll.

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Cooling off under the trees

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It's the last day of Chester today with the Chester Cup the highlight at 3.35. It doesn't look the strongest field that there has ever been and as always luck will play a big part. It's a bit like the chariot race in Ben Hur. They go round the Coliseum two and a half times and, as I said, you do need a tremendous amount of luck. It would be great to see My Reward win it for Tim Easterby.

Phil on Friday

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Congratulations to Sean Levey on riding his first Classic winner. For the young man to achieve such success is enough of a story in itself but, of course, the fact that he was the first black jockey to win a British Classic has inevitably been highlighted.

To think that, in 2018, such a detail appears so remarkable is surprising in itself. Racing here is multi-racial (we have a Brazilian champion jockey for instance).

In all the commotion about Sean’s achievement I was reminded about an incident many years ago which gave me sleepless nights. No. 2 son came home from school one day to announce that the age-old nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep had been all but banned. It could be construed as racist apparently, and certainly was not politically correct.

I told him to ask if we could no longer sing I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas in December but have still not received an answer.

Anyway, I worried for ages about having filled in the forms to name some of the Guvnor’s horses in training. Had we broken racial discrimination laws? Mercifully it didn’t seem so – Black Sam Bellamy was the sire of one youngster but that was hardly our fault, was it? White Moss seemed innocent enough, and we obviously got away with Don’tcallmeginger which could have been seen as offensive to one particular minority group, but Jenko and his fellow owners are still at large.

A trawl through various web-sites shows 400 or more horses called Black something are currently registered and I must say some of the names look decidedly dodgy, but I can’t discuss them here for fear of a 5 a.m. knock on the door by the P.C. police.

On a personal note, my father was a blacksmith but I’ve just about managed to live with that after all these years, and having Green as a surname must be worth a few points. There are horses called Fiddlers Green, though, which is worrying.

Joking apart, I can’t help but think that the Baa Baa Black Sheep ruling and other silliness did nothing to help the cause of Sean and others. Such stupidity might even have contributed in a perverse sort of way to this long wait for a black jockey to succeed at the highest level here. They must have felt isolated. So good luck to Sean after his brilliant win, and to others who might follow him.