In and out as quickly as possible ...

It's a bright but cold morning

Friday, 20 December 2013

"Having a place to go - is a home.  Having someone to love - is a family.  Having both - is a blessing."

Donna Hedges.

Steven long reining Lexi Grady Alice

It is a bright morning and we have had a slight ground frost. The wind was very cutting, especially on the heath. You needed to keep moving or you froze to the spot. There were plenty of people out on the heath this morning, trainers, owners’ visitors’ etc but there was not much chat as they were all wandering about trying to keep warm. We have had all ours out cantering on Bury Side and so far so good.

With the holidays coming up both times midweek, we have had to arrange the feed, forage and bedding orders accordingly, as everybody seems to shut at different times. I know most trainers don’t really like this time of year but I am afraid I am an old fashioned Christmas lover.

Champs Elysees ex Tenpence

With all the talk this last week about new all-weather tracks, it was a real surprise yesterday to hear that Fred Done, the bookmaker, and a consortium had purchased Great Leighs. They plan to start it up again and hopefully apply for fixtures in 2015. Everybody in Newmarket loved Great Leighs as it was a good surface and very close. It will be really popular once again; especially if the prize money is what they are saying it is going to be. Let’s hope this new venture isn’t hit by the problems of the past. My only reaction to all these all-weathers is this. I hope we are not going down the American way with every course having a dirt track and very little grass racing, plus they have no character whatsoever. We will have to wait and see what the future holds.

Darren working hard

I see Graham Cunningham in his article discusses establishing a hall of fame for our sport. It has always been very popular in America but we have never emulated their example. My suggestion would be in the new Horseracing Museum. We would have the space and it seems to me the ideal solution. Another point Graham brings up is, should jockeys be paid if their horses are declared a non-runner and they have had to make the effort to travel to the course etc? I think this one is a real non-starter as the 48 hour declarations, which we were conned into years ago, is the main reason there are so many non-runners. Ground changes, horses going lame, getting a temperature etc, can all happen very quickly. I think that if this rule was brought in, even for a small proportion of the fee, there would be a backlash from owners who would start demanding their money back if they considered the horse was given a bad ride. It works both ways. All owners and trainers want is for horses to run and not have non-runners. It is circumstances which dictate how many there are.