Congratulations to Andrew Snell, flying the flag for Newmarket ...


We had our first foal of the season

Monday, 28 January 2019

"A true friend reaches for your hand and touches you heart."

Attributed to Heather Pryor.

Cantering up Warren Hill yesterday

It’s a bright, cold morning and for a short while the wind has died down as last night it was very strong. They are forecasting a covering of snow this week almost anywhere but it is to be expected as it is still January and as yet we have had very little. All the riders are in this morning but we have one non-runner on the yard team, which is disappointing. We are getting on well and are now on our third lot who have been doing a spin round Southfields Round polytrack.

Pageant Master

Astrosparkle ran a reasonable race at Lingfield on Friday. She behaved well and will be having another run mid-February and is capable of troubling the judge once handicapped and in the right grade. Velvet Voice was once again slowly away and never got into the contest. We will just give her one more run over hurdles, which will decide which way we go with her. She has got the ability but doesn’t seem to want to show it. It doesn’t look like we will be having any runners this week which means we will be able to concentrate on a lot of other jobs that need doing in the yard.

Astrosecret and her Garswood filly foal

We had our first foal of the season on Saturday night just as I got back from Chelmsford. I was in time to see a filly foal born to maiden mare Astrosecret. She is a good size first foal, chesnut with a nice white blaze. She is more like Dutch Art than the sire Garswood. She was soon up and sucking and although we had a slight hiccup in the early hours, mother and daughter are now doing well. Astrosecret is a brilliant mother and absolutely loves her foal. You always have to watch these maiden mares but with her it was a completely natural instinct.

Up on her feet

The headlines in the Racing Post this morning just confirm what I have been saying to you, for several years now, that the majority of the BHA has absolutely no idea about horses and all they do it cause big problems for our sport. Nick Rust is a good strong man who has done plenty and continues to strive for the industry, but under him we have so many who know nothing about the workings and every day systems that go on into racing. How waving your arms behind a horse can cause anybody a problem is beyond me and the trainer who got fined £140 should be given a full apology and a bonus. I see the majority of trainers, including the bigger names, are coming out in support but once again don’t hold your breath that there will be an apology. The sooner we get proper people working at the BHA the better, but it will not happen if they have their base in London away from anything that goes on. I have always said a base in Newmarket would be the ideal place where you could actually get people who understand horses working there.


We have one runner today at Lingfield

Friday, 25 January 2019

"There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true"

Winston Churchill.

Second lot cantering

It’s a damp morning with a very fine drizzle in the air. At least the temperature has gone up a bit and as we write this, it is four degrees and forecast to go up to nine or 10 as the day goes on. It is the lull before the storm though, as it is due to get much colder again next week with the possibility of snow. It has been a busy morning but we have plenty of staff in. We have a runner going off early to Lingfield, the vet calling in to do an overland scope and just general exercise but everything has gone smoothly and we seem to be well organised.

Velvet Vision

We have one runner today at Lingfield and one tomorrow at Chelmsford. Our runner at Lingfield is Astrosparkle in the 3.25, the mile and a quarter median auction novice race. She has had one run to date where she finished fourth. She will improve on that I hope, but she is a bit of a live wire and this race should do her the world of good for the future. I will not be long in giving her another run after this one and would think that once handicapping she will have the ability to win races.

Our runner tomorrow is Velvet Voice. She runs in the mile and a quarter handicap at 8.15. This doesn’t look the best of races and she must have a chance from stall six. She was disappointing last time out but I think she pulled a muscle – we never quite got to the bottom of what it was. She has always shown enough ability to be competitive and let’s hope it’s today.

Walking back to the yard

Anybody could have told you that the attendances were going to fall and for the third year that is exactly what has happened at the racecourses. There is far too much racing, it is far too expensive, the public are not looked after as well as they should be and the races that are offered from Monday to Friday, other than at the festival meetings, is of very poor fair. There is absolutely no incentive for people to go racing and the racecourses need to pull their fingers out to promote it better. The courses would say that if they reduced fixtures they would lose media rights, but this situation has been made by the racecourses that have a greed for more and more racing. It is unsustainable and will be even more so if the prize money stays as it is. I hope the BHA is watching, but of course they will say it is nothing to do with them it is the racecourses problem i.e. the drone situation.

Astrofire in her new home

I am pleased to see they have put the hind shoe debate on hold whilst they do more research, and so they should. Horses only slip when the ground is loose due to overwatering and the turf gives way as there are no roots, but the powers that be don’t understand this and blame the shoes rather than the real reason. We have had so many horses over the years jump through their front tendons and if people don’t want to run with hind shoes, there should be no rule to make them. Let’s hope common sense prevails for the first time at the BHA.

A seagull flying around in the murk

It was very sad to read of the death of Angus Crichton-Miller who was the former Racecourse Association chairman and British Horseracing Board director. He was married to Morag Gray and our condolences go to her and family and friends. In my dealings with him over the years he was always very straightforward and clear thinking. If he thought you were right he did something about it but if he thought you were wrong he explained why. He was a man that should have gone much further up the ladder in our industry. One of many that have never had the chance through one reason or another.


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