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Horse welfare is paramount ...

The two ends of the scale

Monday, 21 July 2014

"That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful."

Ninon de L’Enclos.

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Astrocat (Sinead) leading Prayer Time (Emilie)

It’s a muggy overcast morning although no thunderstorms as yet. It was a funny old day yesterday, as we got torrential rain with thunder and lightening at the stud, but very little in Newmarket. The forecast is for a dryish week with the temperatures continuing to be high. We had a normal Monday morning canter on Bury Side, and all has gone well so far.

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Comrade Bond

It is enough to drive you barmy, the clerk of the courses who don’t tell the truth. Comrade Bond was due to run at Newmarket on Friday night on good ground, but after the first race the clerk turned it to good to firm and most of the jockeys reported it was more on the firm side. Comrade hates firm ground so I withdrew him straight away. It was disappointing for the owners who had made the effort to come, but I hope they all understood the reasoning behind the withdrawal. If you jar a horse up it takes a long time to come right again. All we require from the clerk of the course is the absolute truth. However, as I have said before, they love having good in all ground descriptions. Once owners are there, they like to see their horse run as they have already paid all the expenses, but usually it is the wrong decision, for the wrong reason. An honest, genuine clerk of the course is worth their weight in gold.

It will be put to the test today at Beverley. I phoned the clerk at 6.15 this morning, before Blue Bounty was due to leave, as he is running tonight in the 7.15, the 7 ½ f handicap. He assures me it will be good all night and he won’t be changing the ground, after 18 mm of rain on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if he is correct. We have got the worst draw in 13 but the best jockey in Joe Fanning, so we will have to hope he gets lucky tonight. It is certainly a race he is capable of winning, if the ground is not too firm and he can overcome the draw.

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Crossing the road

The Racing Post today has news of Roger Curtis the trainer, who has quit the struggle to start a new venture in Tenerife, where he has bought a restaurant. He quotes the similarity with football, whether it is the premiership or the rest and the difference is massive. I wish him well in his new venture. It is always a struggle when you are doing it on your own. Another article, on Tom Dascombe, is the other end of the scale, where you are a salaried trainer, like a football manager, with two rich people as backers. In this regard you have to keep producing the goods, but you are not under the same amount of pressure self-employed trainers are. It is a difficult time for everybody in the industry and things have changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so, in so many ways. If we are to continue giving the service to the racecourses with runners, the prize money is the number one item that has got to improve quickly. To my mind racecourses are now a place to hear music and drink and the horse seems to be an add on to the day.