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Southfields Round has been the gallop of choice

Friday, 18 January 2019

"Fate loves the fearless."

James Russell Lowell.

01_Ness
Ness of Brodgar

It’s the first real hard frost of the winter this morning and thank goodness there is no wind, which is a major blessing. The all weathers haven’t frozen though and the walking grounds have been well salted by the Jockey Club, who are out very early to get on top of it. Most of the walking grounds have also been covered with old polytrack, from when they have renewed the tracks, and that certainly helps at this time of year. The forecast is for it to remain like this until well into next week and we may even get some snow. We have not been held up at all and with everybody in, the horses are getting a good exercise. I have been mainly using Southfields Round polytrack and although it has been very busy, there have been no major incidents so far.

01_Sparkle
Astrosparkle

We have one runner today at Kempton. True Calling runs in the 5.15 and Toby Eley takes off 7lbs. She has not run many times and has been slightly disappointing after her encouraging debut third. She is drawn well today though and this trip, I think, will suit. Let’s hope she can put her best foot forward.

01_Vision
Velvet Vision

There are interesting statistics in the Racing Post today about the number of jumpers trained in the north, the midlands and the south, with the ones in the north seemingly going the wrong way. I also note that Charlie Mann, after his winner yesterday at Wincanton, was bemoaning the fact he only has 20 horses. He said he can’t do anything else, which most trainers would say. The powers that be can come up with all sorts of schemes and suggestions on how to increase numbers, but the only way is prize money and for some unknown reason, they will not get to grips with it. They always like to think of something else, rather than admit that it is the problem. Until prize money is increased to the level it should be and could be, we will have a reduction in horses and owners.

01_True
True Calling yesterday

I see the BHA has taken a couple of races off a trainer for a bizarre reason, after two of her horses failed a dope test. The samples evidently showed an ingredient that is in a hair growth shampoo, which the trainer’s assistant had been using for quite a while. How and why it had got into the horses system is anybody’s guess, but the BHA accepted the reason and only a fine was imposed.

39_Seagull
A seagull flying overhead

I see the sharp punters are now flying drones near to racecourses so they can get an edge when betting in running. I heard the racing journalist from The Guardian talking about it on the radio yesterday and was interested in what he had to say. He said, and what I said years ago, is that the racecourses already encourage punters to bet in running by offering them hospitality boxes with all the necessary plug-ins they require. For those of you that don’t understand, both the racing channels that you watch at home have an actual race delay on them of 2 – 3 seconds. This can mean an awful lot when betting in running and if you are at the racecourse in a box watching it live you have a clear advantage. Now with the drones you can get an even better view of what is going on. I would love to see the racecourses come out and stop these punters, both in the boxes and with the drones, but fear that won’t happen. When you can bet to lose, like Betfair brought in nearly 20 years ago, it was the start of the slippery slope and devious minds got to work.