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Des Leadon, the unsung hero of the industry, honoured

Saturday, 01 February 2014

"What we are is God's gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God."

Eleanor Powell.

02_String_cantering
The string out cantering this morning

I don’t know how much rain we had last night, but I can tell you it must have been a lot as the drains were overflowing this morning and there was water everywhere. It is bright sunshine at the moment with a blue sky and it is forecast to continue all day, but I think the next three weeks are going to be much of the same. The horses have been out and had a good exercise and I am delighted with everything at this stage of the year.

39_Adiamond
Astrodiamond 

I went to Garrowby yesterday to have a good look round and try and take some pictures of the young stock and mares, but it was unbelievably bad weather, wind and rain and unfortunately I failed to get any good shots. I will be going up there again next week and hopefully then I can get what is required.  We have still got quite an amount of horses in training and two-year-olds to come down, which they will all be doing during the next couple of weeks. They are all in and being worked, whether on the walker or under tack. It is a boom having the indoor walker there.

31_tacking_up
Tacking up

We sent four mares over to Ireland this week and as you know they always lodge with Des and Mariann at Swordlestown Little Stud near Naas. It was marvellous this week to see Des being honoured by an award at the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association dinner for his outstanding contribution to the industry. There is a great video, which hopefully we have uploaded for you to see, but if not please email us for a copy. Des is an unsung hero of the Irish industry, in fact not only the Irish industry, but the whole worldwide industry. He has done, and is still doing, so much that people never see. He is a top class man, a great friend and thoroughly deserved this accolade. 

http://vimeo.com/85188964

You may have problems getting into this link, but please persevere, it is well worth watching.


33_getting_ready_to_pull_out
Getting ready to pull out

I was interested to see the drop in crowd numbers last year, which was in the Racing Post yesterday. I see some courses were saying it was because the pop groups weren’t popular enough. My question here is, and always has been, are we a racecourse or a pop group venue? It would be fascinating if the numbers that attend only for these music nights were deducted from the figures to see what they would look like then. In my opinion most racecourses are overpriced, give very poor value for money and need to do a lot better to serve both their core customers, the professionals, and then pull their socks up to give the everyday casual race goers an experience to encourage them to come back again. But I suspect this is not their number one priority, especially on the all-weather, where they get such good media rights money that they don’t really need anybody in the racecourse. In fact they are more of a hindrance than a help. Just look at the photo on page six of the Racing Post today, and it shows what I am talking about. You could have a racecourse anywhere as long as it beamed the TV pictures into the betting shops and to the racing channels, where people worldwide can gamble on it.

06_Becky
Becky the farrier, happy in her work

I smiled at the Great British racing chief executive, Rod Street, reacting to a survey showing that 9.8% of the respondents could name only three jockeys currently riding. One was Frankie Dettori, who got 25%. He has been in the news for all sorts of reasons, both on the front and back pages. Tony McCoy with 18%, who has just ridden his 4000th winner, been a winner and placed on Sports Personality Of The Year, and again been in the papers front and back, plus Ruby Walsh with 5%. Take those three out of the equation and I bet you the amount of people who would know another jockey would go well below 1%. I think it would be completely different with footballers of today, and for the second most watched sport, it is a frightening statistic.