Onwards and upwards ...

The horses look amazing

Monday, 01 October 2018

"The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend."


Cantering on Hamilton Hill


It’s a bright cold start to the day but dry and looks set fair to be like this all week. The ground is drying up fast and although we have a dew in the mornings nowadays, unless we get some rain the turf tracks are going to have firm in their description wherever it is. Today is a prime example where all tracks, whether flat or jumping, have firm in their ground reports. The horses look marvellous in this sunshine and we have been doing a good Monday morning exercise on the polytracks close to home. All has gone well so far. We have got several horses that have had minor problems during the year and are now on their comeback trail and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they are progressing. I do need some rain so that the tracks are suitable as the horses with problems usually need an easy surface.

Rosie Scot

It has been a good weekend for the Irish, both here and at home, with them cleaning up most of the Group races on offer. John Gosden won the Cambridgeshire with a three-year-old that won just as emphatically as Halling did many years ago and looks sure to be a Group performer in the future. I see that Chester is confident the Chester Cup will not be hindered by the huge rise in prize money next year for the Ebor and the Cesarewitch. Both races dwarf the £150,000 that was on offer this year at Chester. Personally I think it will help the Chester Cup as the everyday owner and trainer may have a chance of winning that race rather than absolutely none. Now with the huge prize money, staying races will have the top yards aiming at them and running their 100 plus horses in abundance. I suppose it is the sign of the times, but anybody used to stand a chance in those races and the bottom weight was 7st 7lb and fairy tales used to happen. In reality now, the BHA has changed it, along with the racecourses, so that only the top few stables clean up the majority of races. There is always the odd so called lucky winner along the way, but if the thinking continues along the line it is, they will be very few and far between.

Velvet Vista

Our first lot of yearlings will be coming in this week, which is always an exciting time, and the last field of late foaling mares will be weaned as well. The only good thing about the weather at the moment is that we can still get on the fields with the heavy machinery and as we move the horses around we can prepare the ground ready for next year a lot easier. When it is wet the heavier tractors and machinery can mark the paddocks badly and it takes a lot longer with the smaller gear. It is never ending maintenance. The hedges and trees all need cutting and trimming, and the post and rails need creosoting and replacing. The paddocks need spiking, harrowing and feeding as well as the boxes needing painting and disinfecting. Every gate on the place will also need a new coat of paint. There is always plenty to do and never a day the same, whether in the yard or on the stud. It is a great job being in the horse business and we need to sell it the right way. I read about a four day week being muted by political parties. I’m not sure what will happen to the animals for the other three days.