Sylvestre de Sousa is doing so well ...

The British Racing School do a really good job

Monday, 20 January 2014

"That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another."

Adlai Stevenson.

My Guardian Angel leading the way

After a very bright moonlit night there was a good frost on the ground this morning, and the salting tractors were out in force on the walking grounds, making it as safe as possible for all the strings. It certainly is much colder and it looks like staying that way all week, at least that is what the Countryfile weather forecaster was explaining to us on TV last night.


I was at the British Racing School between first and second lot this morning, to watch a prospective member of staff put a horse through its paces. There were two big groups of students, both at different stages of their education. The group I was looking at were more advanced and had been there for nearly 10 weeks. They were in a big field of 50 acres plus. After a good trot, they set off in groups to canter and I must say it was very well organised and everybody performed with great credit. The lad I was looking at did well and he will be starting at Exeter Ride in the not too distant future. There is a lot of criticism of the product that comes out of the school from my fellow trainers, but I think if they took the time to go and see what actually goes on, and witness the training close up, they would change their minds. In the short time that the pupils are there, they are given a very good grounding in the sport. They are certainly not the finished article when they come out in to the big wide world, but have had a great start. If they are keen enough and have the determination, there are plenty of opportunities for them to progress.


I was interested in the article on jump prize money today in the Racing Post. They were trying to compare it to what happens on the flat and the returns owners can expect. I can see the point the author was trying to make, but I think he gets it wrong when he tries to compare jump owners with Sheikh Mohammed, John Magnier and Prince Khalid Abdullah. The big jump owners get involved because they have every chance of buying a horse that can compete at the top level; even the smaller ones have a chance, as Sire De Grugy has proved over the weekend. You can’t compare the two disciplines, Flat and National Hunt racing, and there is no point in trying to do so. The field size bonus initiative, which is being introduced when eight or more runners compete, is an interesting concept but if they paid prize money down to eighth place in all these grades races, it would nearly guarantee full fields. In fact, I would pay prize money in all races down to sixth place. Every little bit helps as the saying goes.