Onwards and upwards ...

What a marvellous day we had yesterday

Friday, 26 July 2019

"Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Presenting the trophy with David Ashby in the main ring at Hickstead

After yesterday’s heatwave, which didn’t quite get to the record temperature the forecasters were predicting, although it nearly did, it is still very warm this morning. Although we have had a heavy shower or two, it is still very muggy and close. We continue to get the yard tidied up but still have to finalise where a few horses are going. I am sure this will all be done over the weekend. It is amazing how much tack and equipment I have accumulated over the years. When delving into the trunks and cupboards we have found items I had forgotten we have even acquired.

All out on the lawn

We had a marvellous day yesterday as Angie and I went to Hickstead for the Amlin sponsored eventers competition. David Ashby, who is the chief of the Amlin Group, is a great loyal friend and he surprised me completely when inviting me to present the trophies. He then presented me with a retirement present in front of the whole Hickstead crowd. It was an unbelievably touching moment and one I shall cherish forever. Proper friends are invaluable and in David you couldn’t have a better one.


Over the last 40 years I have constantly gone on about the very poor prize money everybody has been racing for. In fact, in real terms the amount we are racing for now is worse than 20 years ago. We are still running for two grand winning pots and until this gets sorted, I don’t know how the industry will survive in its present form. Every race should be worth a minimum of £10,000, which would mean if you won two races you would get a good chunk of your investment back. I am afraid that racing is not run by the BHA but the racecourses, and they hold the power nowadays. It is a very fragmented industry, which certainly needs to come together and speak completely with one voice. It is no good all the different parts of it pulling in all the different directions. Sort the prize money and it sorts so many problems. Simple, it can be done, but will it be done?

Ness Of Brodgar

I must mention all the heath managers that I have known over the years, plus the foremen and all staff. They to a person have always been cheerful, helpful and willing to listen to the needs of trainers. With the enormous acreage of grassland we have and mile upon mile of all-weather track, plus the fencing, walking grounds, woodlands, etc. etc., Newmarket is kept immaculately by all who work for Jockey Club Estates. Anybody who sees the heath is in wonder of the place and I have said many times before that we, as trainers, are only custodians for the next generations who will enjoy it as much as I have. A great big thank you goes to everybody.