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Thursday, 12 June 2014

"Friendship isn’t a big thing — it’s a million little things."

Anon.

01_C_Pearl
Crystal Pearl (Sinead)

It’s a warm morning with no wind at all and I have just read that the forecasters say today and tomorrow are going to be the hottest days of the year. We have been having a relatively easy morning, with a canter on Warren Hill and Side Hill and a quiet walk home. So far no problems have occurred. When we get back into the yard the horses have a good wash down and a scrape off. The boxes here at Exeter Ride are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They certainly knew how to design stables in those days. We have nearly finished converting the first three boxes back to their original state, and phase two will be in situ soon.

08_Topaling
Topaling (Sophie)

We brought back two two-year-old fillies from Garrowby yesterday and both boxes have gone up there again today, to bring some in foal mares back. We have done really well in moving all the stock and ancillaries, which as I said the other day soon starts accumulating. It will be great to have everything back at home and much nearer to us. We have now only got the yearlings to ship down, which hopefully will be done next week.

12_Walk_home
Walking back through the trees

I see the BHA just gave the 39 jockeys involved in the Grand National start a caution. It was a complete waste of time in the first place and I think they weren’t even the main cause of the problem. This situation is a real mountain out of a mole hill and should never have been allowed to have got this far. 

46_C_Bond
Joe giving Comrade Bond a pick of grass

There is a big special report today on stud and stable staff, and how the Donoughue report of ten years ago has progressed. There has been a big improvement in lots of areas, with facilities at courses greatly improved and plenty of high profile award ceremonies to reward the top achievers. In my opinion, the main points to keep improving are housing, which I am always bashing on about to everybody who will listen. We certainly need a lot more good accommodation, similar to the Racing Welfare bedsits and flats, which we already have here in Newmarket. I have always thought this is an area Racing Welfare should concentrate on, as good affordable accommodation is a must for staff. The main point about wages, and we would all like to pay more, is the prize money situation, as you cannot put your fees up to the owners as the returns do not encourage them to invest. If they were getting just a sensible return and being looked after on the racetracks, they would flood back and consequently wages would increase, plus the lad’s pool money (their percentage from prize money) would be higher. The standard of staff coming into the industry is reasonable, but could still be better. Longer at the racing schools would certainly help, or assist them to do day release for further training. There is plenty to chew over, but once again it all boils down to prize money and you know where we get that from, mainly the bookmakers. We all must work together in a common goal and then everybody would prosper, staff, trainers, owners, jockeys and bookmakers. It’s simple, but made hard.