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

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Friday, 07 February 2014

"Rain! whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains."

Henry Ward Beecher.

09_Topaling
Topaling

It’s been one of those mornings when nobody could have written the script. Everything that could have happened did, starting with a message on my phone at 5.30 a.m. It has just been a constant morning of problems, which have all sorted themselves out. It certainly wasn’t worth getting high blood pressure over. In fact, the staff are now going for breakfast, with everybody laughing and joking in the pouring rain, on their way to Waitrose, to buy a hot bacon sandwich.

10_Nancy
Nancy

One of the problems was a big flood in the yard, where the drains just couldn’t take any more water and we were getting very near to the boxes being flooded. It is a good job we have an electric pump, which was soon fixed up by Ryan, our maintenance man, and the very large puddle was soon down the main drain in Newmarket. At present it is still hammering down and if the forecast is to be believed, the weekend is going to have the worst storms since 1987, so we are leaving the pump and piping out and accessible just in case.

05_Pumping
Pumping out the yard

The Hatchfield Farm development here in Newmarket, continues to make the headlines, now with Suffolk County Council issuing a statement, saying that they share the concerns of Forest Heath, our local District Council. The original massive development, with over 1200 homes, commercial land, etc. has been downsized by Lord Derby, to 400 homes. However, everybody is still missing the point here, in that a development of any size, would seriously affect the town in so many ways. We desperately need some housing to get people on the housing ladder, especially racing staff, who have to pay very high rents to the landlords. My solution has always been to use the land to build an all-weather racecourse, which is desperately needed, put a hotel and cinema in, some fast food chains and allow a small proportion of good class, low cost housing on the site, plus another infant school and we have nearly got the ideal situation. This would take a considerable amount of time to build, but we could see gradually, how the development affected the town and its infrastructure. If only the two sides could get together, talk sensibly and both take compromises, we could stop all this aggro.

01_Refuse_To_Bend
Refuse To Bend ex Four Miracles

There is a big article today by Peter Thomas in the Racing Post, on the problem of bad payers to trainers, and is advocating that the basic training fee, should be paid through Weatherbys. This happens in a few jurisdictions, notable Hong Kong, where everything is paid through the Hong Kong Jockey Club, although they do pay for everything else for the trainers. I have always thought it was a good idea to do this, just the basic daily rate, and then extras could be charged on top. However, at many meetings it has always been a 50-50 split when the discussion has come up. It would certainly sort out some of the owners and would be beneficial to the trainers, as they would be guaranteed the money on a certain day of the month. It may be more problematic for Weatherbys Bank, who could possibly have a lot of bad debts. The idea is good, I just don’t think it will every get off the ground.