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Happy Birthday Walter Wharton

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

"The past is not a package one can lay away."

Emily Dickinson.

Akula leading Swilken

It’s a very similar morning to yesterday. Dull, no wind, no frost and the temperature is normal for this time of year. There was a big dew, which I found out to my cost when I forgot to put Wellingtons on at first lot. My feet got really soaked as I walked over to watch the horses canter on Warren Hill. After yesterdays busy morning we have just had a one canter exercise, with a pick of grass afterwards.


The headlines on the front of the Racing Post this morning was all about a report on the health of the thoroughbred breeding industry in Britain. It certainly doesn’t make very good reading and I know for a fact that several people have given up the breeding side over the last few years, especially on the National Hunt side of it. The costs have continually gone up, with the stallion masters keeping their fees as high as they possibly can. With the sales company’s being more and more selective as to what goes into certain sales, some of the sales figures are very much manipulated and we only hear of the big increases and who has bought them.

The prize money issue and the fixture list are the two most important things we should concentrate on, if this position is to be rectified. We must try and encourage new owners into the game. The prize money return and the tax situation need to be sorted out so that they can be encouraged. We not only need new overseas clients, we need our home grown owners, who love the horses and the sport, to be involved.

Astrovirtue having a pick of grass

As you know, we sold some horses to Spain just before Christmas, and the first of them to run was Little Tinka, who finished second, much to the delight of her new owner. Let’s hope the others all perform as well, which I am sure they will do, and this leads to plenty more horses going to race over there.

Little Tinka in the parade ring in Spain

It is my old Guv’nor, Walter Wharton’s 90th birthday today, so Happy Birthday boss. I had a fantastic time working for him and learnt so much. He was a great horseman, knew them inside out, and his attention to detail was second to none. Although his bark was famous throughout the racing world, he was firm but very fair. I hope he makes 100 and I look forward to the party.