The horses do need to have a break ....

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Showers are forecast for later

Thursday, 27 July 2017

"Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time."

Jean Paul.



At present it is dry, quiet bright with a small breeze and we have had no showers overnight. We are expecting some this afternoon though. I have been getting on well with the horses once again with some good work Across The Flat on the turf, which was riding perfectly this morning. It is amazing how Newmarket Heath soon drains, especially if nature takes its course rather than watering. They are calling the July Course good to soft, but the ground Across The Flat was very good ground. It is all due to the root structure of the grass. The heath goes downwards, which strengthens it, but the course grass grows sideways, which weakens it. It is common sense, but as normal there is a lot lacking in the higher Escalante, or inexperienced sections of our sport.


St Anthony



Rum Ration didn’t particularly like the soft ground yesterday, but he ran as I expected. I quite like this horse and think in time he will definitely be ok. He will be doing a lot more work in the next month and I think if we run him on a bit faster ground, and over a little bit further, we will see a very different animal. We will be having no runners over the weekend, but there are already several entered for next week.


Astrofire leading Astrobreeze and Velvet Vision


Velvet Vision

I see the flat jockeys are calling for a week off during Cheltenham week and the jump jockeys have got a week after the end of their season next year. We used to have large breaks over the winter for the flat horses, and the summer for the jumpers. With the advent of all-weather racing to keep the bookmakers as they are accustomed, it means we are now racing constantly, every day of the year other than Christmas day, which I am sure some track or other will demand we have in the not too distant future. The staff are flat out all the time and are leaving the industry in droves. It is not about the money, which everybody seems to think it is, it is all about the working time and with the addition of all the new evening fixtures, it can only get worse. It is fine for the decision makers to sit in their ivory towers and work five days a week. We in the industry are working 24/7 and the recruitment side is a long way from keeping the supply of staff going. However, the most important thing that nobody ever seems to think about, other than me, is the horses. We are constantly harangued to run them more and more to keep the field sizes up so the racecourse get the media rights money and the bookmakers can have races to bet on. Horses need a rest, and although a few of the jumpers are turned out in the summer, the vast majority are kept in training to keep the business going. It is the chicken and egg situation, but every year gets worse and worse with the enlargements of the fixture list. When will it all stop?


Astrofire and Astrobreeze walking in


Topalova runs a good race

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

"Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it."



It's still overcast but quite warm and I'm sure there is more rain on the way later in the day. We have had a good morning so far with the horses. With our three new good experienced lads, who arrived this week, along with the normal crew, we have been cantering on Southfields grass and the polytracks. Everything is moving well, looking well, and especially eating well. It must be the feeder!

Gee Sixty Six

We were extremely pleased with Topalova last night. She finished a very good third, beaten under a length, and I think was quite unlucky as she was a little bit too far back and got hampered on the bend. It wouldn't surprise me if she won a couple now as she seems to have got over a few niggles that she had.

We took Stellakaya for a stalls test and I'm pleased to say she passed, although she needed four pushes. She will be having some more practice at home before she runs.

We have one runner today in the 2.20 at Lingfield. Rum Ration competes in the seven furlong Auction Stakes. He didn't know what he was doing first time and I'm sure will not know too much more today. It will be interesting to learn whether or not he handles the softened ground, but I think we shall see a better horse than we saw last time.

Astrobreeze walking home

I see the BHA's chief executive is intending repairing the relationship with bookmakers by creating a forum for discussion. The fixture list looks to be his main aim and he thinks that if we don't have competition from football matches, the income stream will grow. I wish we would stop comparing ourselves with football and just concentrate on making our sport viable for all. The bookmakers cannot do without racing and I don't know why our leaders don't understand this. We have been the poor relation for too long now.

Clearance leading Dot Green

The new money which the BHA are hoping to target at minimum race values is starting to cause havoc already, but as I said yesterday, it is purely down to the racecourses if they want to play ball or not. Why we could not have a fixed minimum I don't know. I'm sure this matter will go on and on and there are sure to be winners and losers.


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