This country needs its own minister of racing ...

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What a scorcher

Thursday, 05 July 2018

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive."

Anaïs Nin.

Velvet Voice and Velvet Vision at first lot

I think it will be even warmer today as it is scorching as we write this just before 9 o’clock. We have had three lots out already with everybody in and pulling out early is certainly the best way of working at present. I have been cantering mainly on the Southfields Round which has recently been refurbished with a complete new surface. It is certainly riding well and although the entrances and exits onto the track have no real rules, the trainers and their staff seem to be all seeing sense when using it. I say that because you can get on at several points and people go different speeds, which vary from a very slow hack to a full speed. All it really needs is common sense when using it.

Four Fifty Three, Garrison Law, Isaac Murphy and Indian Law

Walking off at the end of exercise

There is a very good article on the NHS today in the Racing Post from a collection of jockeys who have unfortunately had to use it. They can’t speak highly enough of the attention they get and I know we are, as an industry, very grateful for everything they do for us. We are also thankful of the ambulance men and women who attend the racecourses and look after the jockeys and staff when an injury occurs. This is a first rate service. It was interesting to hear yesterday, when I was at a meeting of the National Trainers Federation, that members thought the veterinary care on the racetracks was not up to as high a standard as they would have hoped. There were one or two instances that came to light and our Chief Executive will be bringing them up to a higher level.

Melo Pearl leading True Calling, Topalova, Astrofire and Farne Odyssey

Third lot walking home

Drying off in the sun and having a pick of grass

I see Bill Barber in his industry piece today in the Racing Post is talking about prize money distribution. Only the insiders know the intricacies of the discussion taking place with the ROA, but Bill reports that it has been suggested “that there should perhaps be an increase in the proportion of prize money going to the winning owners in the highest classes of racing, while for the bread and butter racing, which forms the foundation of the sport, the money should be handed out more even-handedly”.  Why would this have been suggested? There wants to be one rule and it is the same for everybody whether you are lucky enough to have a top class horse or not.


Who needs the South of France

Wednesday, 04 July 2018

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."

Cynthia Ozick.

The Rubbing House Polytrack at first lot

Roof Garden leading Velvet Voice

It’s a bit like living in the South of France at the moment, warm, dry, all the grass burnt off and just a very pleasant temperature. It will get hotter though as the day goes on. There’s only one non-runner this morning but that could be expected after the football last night. I have been using all the different polytracks, the Rubbing House, Southfields Round and Hamilton Hill. All has gone well.

Melo Pearl using the Southfield Round second lot

It was the AGM of the Racehorse Owners Association yesterday and both their own chairman, Nicholas Cooper, and the BHA Chief Executive, Nick Rust, spoke at it. I think Mr Cooper’s plea was to work with the bookmarkers and hope that the two Tote warring parties can come together. Nick Rust seems to think that the challenge is not the FOBTs problem, its changing times in this modern world. He also thinks that racing needs to keep its profile and message going the right way so that we can maintain our sport with the general public. I think we can be politically correct too much at times and common sense and plain speaking is what is needed.


I see the National Heritage Centre, i.e. the Racing Museum in Newmarket, has received a much needed boost by being granted £250,000 from the Lottery Fund. This is split with Discover Newmarket who works closely with the museum. As you know the museum project has been a major one and I always thought it would attract many more visitors, but the numbers have been disappointing. I think they got the pricing wrong and feel that the entry fee, shop, and café are too expensive. It is also very hard to find as there is not enough signage. There doesn’t seem to be enough advertising and with all the visitors that come to Cambridge you would expect that we could attract many more of them to Newmarket. Let’s hope this new grant will work the oracle. It is very well worth visiting, it just needs fine tuning.


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