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Newmarket is steeped in history

Tuesday, 01 July 2014

"What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it."

Ezra Pound.

Blue Bounty (Heather) leading Humphry Repton (Emilie) and Comrade Bond (Sophie)

It’s a very pleasant day with blue sky, a gentle breeze and perfect temperatures. After yesterday’s hectic final visit to Garrowby, it is great to be much more relaxed and out on the heath with the horses. We have had a very good morning so far with the horses, cantering up the approach polytracks and then on the Limekilns grass canter. We have nearly had a perfect morning, albeit for one unshipped rider, but no harm done. It is such a wonderful feeling, to be standing on the world famous Limekiln gallop watching horses canter past. The sense of history and custodianship is all around you.

Topamichi (Glenn)

I see all the talk is about the pattern and how everybody is thinking of ways to improve the situation. When we have a race like the Irish Derby, failing to attract a competitive field, or even stir the interest, something needs to be done.  Not only are the Irish disappointed, but the French are calling for their Derby to be changed back to the proper distance.  All this has been caused by racecourses and countries trying to have festival and big race finishes to the season, without any thought to the bigger picture.  With the dominance of certain owners, it is not worth the ordinary owner trying to compete. The cost of all this with entries and keep, plus the purchase of horses is deterring new entrants into the ownership ranks.  Certainly prize money is the number one concern, and as Angus Gold, who is racing manager to Sheikh Handan says today, 'with the economics of our racing as it is and the shocking prize money, you can understand people (owners) won't want to spend £5000.000 on a big, backward yearling.  The average owner can't afford them and would not be able to afford to give them the time'. He is speaking about normal owners and those who are thinking of coming into the game. We are starting to get a two tier systems, or we have now got a two tier system in the industry, where you have the haves and the have nots. The haves have just paid 65,ooo euros to supplement two horses into this Sunday's German Derby.  Now this late supplementary stage is ridiculous, as is the early entry and supplementary stages in most group races.  However, if they didn't have it, the prize money would be shocking, as the majority of the money put up for these races is the owner's contributions in the first place.

What needs to happen is that we need to get the pattern members in a room and sort the whole mess out once and for all, but will is happen? I doubt it as there doesn't seem to be the champion of our industry I have always hoped for.

Walking home through the woods

It's the National Trainers' Federation east region meeting today and I will be interested to see if the subject above comes up. Most of the things we learn at these meetings have already been decided behind closed doors, but it doesn't do any harm to ask the question to see if we can get any answers.