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I will say it again, prize money needs to be increased ...

It was a pleasure having Ben Curtis ride out this morning

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

"Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end."

Anon.

06_ex_4_Miracles
Jockey Ben Curtis on Refuse To Bend ex Four Miracles

We all woke up to pouring rain and I mean pouring, but as the morning has gone on, it has started to clear. At least the temperature is ok and there is very little wind. We have had a good morning so far, as Ben Curtis came and rode out. Not only did he ride work on the older horses, he careered round the school on a two-year-old that had only been ridden for one day. These Irish horsemen are marvellous, completely fearless and have a real affinity with horses. No wonder the Irish are sought out worldwide in our industry. I have constantly gone on at our apprentice licensing committee, about how we should bring in some of the Irish ways, as these boys who have progressed through the system over there, are invariable head and shoulder above the ones we produce, not only as horsemen, but as people as well. Their thinking is completely different and their sense of fun is infectious. I hope I can give Ben plenty of rides this coming season and other will do also. He has had a great start with John Oxx in Ireland and he deserves a good break over here.

15_Lexi
Lexi Grady Alice

You know the saying “when it rains it pours” well it certainly did yesterday. After my escapade of A & E and hospitalisation last week, we had the same yesterday with Angie. She finished up in Bury St Edmunds A & E where she was looked after very well and a reconstruction of her finger took place. I won’t tell you how it happened; but needless to say, it was just one of those things. She is back at home and recovering but it will take many weeks for it to mend properly. There is also another saying about things coming in threes; I just hope that doesn’t occur.

17_ex_Sosumi
Dutch Art ex Sosumi

We have one runner today. Like Clockwork runs in the 7.25 tonight at Kempton. It is another one of those dreaded twilight meetings and we are running for pathetic prize money. The only winners are the racecourses. He is a course and distance winner and will need to put his best foot forward tonight if we are to keep on with him. He does jump well but doesn’t want the bottomless ground we are getting at present. So let’s hope he can get his act together tonight.

19_ex_Azure_Mist
Champs Elysee ex Azure Mist

The site was done yesterday by Di as I was otherwise engaged with Angie and there are one or two points I wish to mention from yesterdays Racing Post. Mark Johnson was commenting on the all-weather tracks and Southwell in particular. He is definitely right in all he says. The kick back at this track is horrendous. Why they can’t change the surface to a polytrack is beyond me, well it’s not beyond me as it is purely down to cost and Arc seem to have no interest in anybody but their share holders. These courses are a great cash cow for them and the less they can put in, whether it be prize money or maintenance, suits them well. It doesn’t suit anybody else and this Good Friday £2 million investment in prize money is a complete smoke screen. You can always find one or two people who will agree with what they are doing as you will see in the RP today, but take my word for it, the all-weather racing we are having at the moment is dire. There are very few owners who want to go and watch their horses at the tracks, and I am sure we will see fewer runners shortly.

03_2YOs
The two-year-olds in a string led by Comrade Bond

There was a great article about Abernant, the great sprinter, in the Racing Post yesterday. It was all about his life, his owner/breeder, trainer, jockeys, lads etc. It was a different world then, with very few runners in the big races, but what he was running against was the best around and he must have been a fantastic horse. Each era produces a star and he was certainly one of those. I am not saying that St Nicholas Abbey was one, but he was certainly a top class racehorse and a six times Group 1 winner, so it was very sad to read of his demise from another bout of colic in the paper this morning. The vets had done everything to keep him alive after his injury. He must have been a tremendously brave horse to survive the fracture, the colic and the laminitis, before succumbing yesterday. He would have made a fantastic stallion and it is a big loss to Coolmore.