Disappointing headlines once again ....

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Thank goodness the sun is out

Thursday, 10 August 2017

"Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still."

Chinese Proverb.

Rum Ration leading Four Fifty Three

Back in after exercise

We have a completely different morning to yesterday, thank goodness. It is dry, high clouds with some patches of sunshine. I know we have had a really wet July and some great downpours, but yesterday’s rain was unbelievable, it just never stopped. It just goes to show how well drained we are here in Newmarket as within 12 hours, all the standing water has disappeared. The heath being on chalk will quickly dry up and if it stays like this, my guess is the watered gallop will be open within a week. The horses have all had a really good exercise, two canters on the polytracks close to home. They are looking well, feeling well, and eating well, which is all you can ask. We just need to get them out on the track now and we have several entries for early next week.

Having a nice pick of grass

As you know we pulled out our runner yesterday at Yarmouth, where the ground turned to soft in the end. It certainly was the right decision and across the country there were 105 horses withdrawn on the day. This is the problem you get with 48 hour declarations as the majority of horses declared on good to firm ground, only to see the heavens open and the ground change dramatically. It is nobody’s fault and there shouldn’t be a knee jerk reaction to yesterday’s withdrawals. Trainers and owners want to have runners, but it does nobody any good when they run disappointingly on unsuitable ground. With 48 hour declarations it is inevitable that you will get a daily list of non-runners.

Beautiful Bob

I think the popularity of the Dick Francis books has caused the recent survey into people’s perception of different sports, to name horseracing and football as the two they think are most fixed. Both these sports are the most gambled on, horseracing by a long way being the first. The most trustworthy came out as darts, followed by golf. These surveys are a bit like election forecasts, they are usually a long way off and the people that are asked either have no interest in sport whatsoever, or just say the first thing that comes into their heads. Although the result is published in the Racing Post today, let’s hope that very few other newspapers think it is newsworthy to publish as it is completely bonkers.


What a wet day

Wednesday, 09 August 2017

"We lack resolve and blame fate, mistaking the drift for the tides."

Robert Brault.

Pouring with rain

Mud and puddles everywhere

We have got a very wet morning after a rainy night. It’s been sheeting it down in very heavy showers. There is little wind though, thank goodness, and the temperature has kept up well. It looks like continuing most of the day. We have been getting on well with most of the horses and although getting wet, the lads are all cheerful and everybody is in. With the canters just outside our gate, it is a matter of getting in and out and trying to keep as dry as possible.

Washing off the mud after exercise

I have already withdrawn Dot Green from the Yarmouth race she was due to run in this evening. The ground has changed from good to firm, to good to soft and if they are getting this rain, it will be soft by tonight. It is disappointing as she is in good form and would have had a great chance in this contest. The farmers always say that rainfall averages out, and with the July we have just had, and the first week of August, it looks like we will be having a very dry end of the month and September. I am sure the press will make a big thing of the non-runners once again, but when you have to declare at 48 hours, you are guessing with the ground. It is just as simple as that.

Ahmed emptying his barrow in the muck hill

I see they are changing the novice chase programme and the big trainers are hailing it as a good initiative. It doesn’t affect flat trainers at all, but it is all to try and make the system more competitive and encourage more runners. I can’t understand why one of the initiatives is not to increase the handicap mark in weight for age novice chases, other than the winner. If this is the case, it should also be the same for two-year-olds novices. It gets complicated for the uninitiated, but the real reason is there is a decrease in horses that want to run in novice chases. Consequently the fields are uncompetitive and the BHA is trying to increase field sizes. There is only one answer, and that is to have fewer races and if you want to run, you have fewer opportunities and the field size will increase. It is simple, but the BHA is obsessed with more and more.


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