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


The heathmen are doing a great job

Thursday, 24 January 2019

"If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

There are no words needed

There was a hard frost overnight and a few flurries of snow, but none has really settled. It is going to stay that way and I think will be below zero all day but warming up a bit towards the weekend and then back to cold next week. The heathmen are doing a great job putting salt and grit on the walking grounds and keeping the polytracks all turned over and suitable for cantering. In the old days we would have been on straw beds around the yard as all we had in those days, other than the turf, was a sand track that used to freeze like concrete. The all-weather surfaces were a great invention and it certainly allows us to keep on the move. With a good lot of riders in we have been cantering on Racecourse Side all morning.

Cantering at first lot

Astromerry didn’t run badly for a long way yesterday but seemed to stop quite quickly in the straight. I will now be looking down her throat to see if her windpipes are working correctly. These things happen only when they come under pressure in a race and although you can replicate a lot of things at home, there is nothing like a race to find them out.

A happy bunch of yard staff

You couldn’t make up the announcement of the world rankings and how the collection of experts came to the conclusion that Winx was on the same level as Cracksman I will never know. They seem to think that the Australians have the best races as well with so many of them highly ranked in the 100 top races. At least the Arc was rated number one, which is something, but the committee this year seems to be very Australian biased. I know we didn’t see much of Enable, but to win the Arc and the Breeders’ Cup you would have thought that would have been enough. The people who put these lists together are computer and figures mad and I am sure they enjoy spreadsheets, but they don’t always tell the right story.


We have one runner today at Kempton

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend."

William Blake.

Garswood ex Mega

It’s a dank, cold start after a few snow flurries last evening and overnight. The temperature is set to drop once again tonight and I would think racing on the turf will be very doubtful for a few days. We have had a very busy morning so far as with a runner today at Kempton, we have been trying to get as many horses out as we can before they leave. Everybody has been in and working well and although we could do with an extra rider or two, we are getting on well at present. The polytracks close to home on Racecourse Side have been our main exercise area.

Luka's Faith

We have one runner today in the twilight meeting at Kempton. Astromerry runs in the mile and a half three-year-old novice stakes. She has had two runs so far without showing too much, but she has always shown us plenty at home. We have upped her markedly in trip today where we will just have to see, but at least after today, whatever happens, she will get a handicap mark, even if it is in the low division. A very attractive filly, I am sure she will show her ability very soon.

Mayson ex Arrowood

I know I always go on about prize money but I was just looking through the Racing Post this morning at the three flat meetings that are on today. Lingfield this afternoon has six races with a total prize money fund of £50,000. They have one race accounting for over a third of the total. Kempton has eight races for £57,000 total and one race accounting for 20% of the total prize money. Now we come to Happy Valley in Hong Kong which has eight races but, wait for it, has £829,000 on offer with three races worth £138,000 each. The smallest race is £69,000 which is way above either of our meetings in total. When you look at the Hong Kong system it just goes to show what you can do when you haven’t got bookmarkers and you haven’t got other outside interests. Our prize money is pathetic in comparison and only Chelmsford of the all-weather tracks tries hard to reward their customers. Something has to be done, but we have been saying this for as long as I can remember. I am sure the BHA have it under their too difficult to tackle pile which just gets bigger every day.

Just look at the drone fiasco which I see Tom Scudamore, the jockey, has been commenting on. The BHA says ‘responsibility for preventing unauthorised intrusion by drones sits with the racecourses themselves’ but the Racecourse Association declined to make any comment yesterday. When there is an eight second delay on Sky Sports Racing how crooked will our game become if this is allowed to continue. I have told you before about the racecourses and their hospitality boxes, which are not full of sponsors or people who may be interested in owning horses, they are full of anorak professional punters paying to get an edge, i.e. the eight seconds worth of an edge on the poor punters who don’t understand what is going on.


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