It's Champions weekend ...

A good weekend of racing ahead of us

Friday, 11 April 2014

"Painful though parting be, I bow to you as I see you off to distant clouds."

Emperor Saga.

Cantering on the Bury Side of town

It’s a slightly overcast morning but warm and I think the forecast is pretty similar for the weekend. We have had a good morning, cantering and doing some education work on the Bury Side of town and all has gone well. We had a few visitors in, watching their horses being put through their paces and I am sure they went away quite happy.

Astrovirtue leading My Guardian Angel and Swilken

It is a good weekend ahead for racing. There are the first classic trials at Newbury, with the Greenham and the Fred Darling Stakes. These races start to sort out the wheat from the chaff but there will be plenty of bubbles punctured as well. There is a bit of aggro at Newbury about the lack of stabling capacity. The track is going through a transition period with part of the estate being built upon for housing and I think with the stable block being moved, they have not had sufficient time to get it up to the full number. All this could have been avoided with a bit of early thinking, but hopefully, once the development is done, it will be a big improvement. I was disappointed to see though, that they are relying on music nights to bring the crowds and cash in. They state the crowd figures were down for the year, but for the Hennessey meeting, with their three days, it was 12% up. There was no music then, just good racing and it attracted people. Doesn’t that say it all? We are obsessed with attracting the young to go racing and think music is the answer. I think the above figures speak for themselves.

Blue Bounty leading Toptempo and Astrodiamond

We also have the Scottish National at Ayr, which will be a tremendous day out at the Scottish track. It’s one of their biggest days of the year, along with the Ayr Gold Cup. If the prize money is there, the horses will go. It is as simple as that and good horses attract crowds. It is certainly not rocket science running racecourses.


It is a sad day today, as it is Eric Campbell’s funeral in Newmarket. Eric was head lad at Ryan Jarvis’ when I was assistant trainer, and we got on like a house on fire. He was a brilliant horseman and feeder and had so many stories, you could listen to him all day long. He could ride anything and was the best breaker of yearlings I will ever know. I learnt plenty from Eric and will always be very grateful to have known him.