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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

"A man is insensible to the relish of prosperity 'til he has tasted adversity."


Crystal Pearl (Abbie)

It’s a similar morning to yesterday, with it being very pleasant at first lot but much hotter as the day has progressed. After yesterdays work morning we have been cantering on Bury Side with a pick of grass and a quiet walk home. All has gone well so far.

Toptempo (Abbie) and Lexi Grady Alice (Sophie) picking grass

I was phoned at a very early hour this morning, by radio stations wanting me to comment on the Queens horse, Estimate, testing positive for morphine. Well you know my thoughts on the whole scenario. I think the BHA should have kept this under wraps until it had been properly investigated and now they must come out and say who the other five or six are that are under investigation. It is obviously a feed gone wrong, but if you were doing the job properly, like we do, there should be a sample taken on a weekly basis of the feed that is fed that week. We keep a jam jar full of every new batch of nuts that come into the yard over a three month period, so if a positive sample is taken, we have a sample ourselves to test. It is very simple but I am sure not a lot of yards will do that. Also it may have come from an oil additive which is poured onto the feed and mixed in, but nobody really knows yet as very little has come out from the people who do know. Once again it is not good headlines for the industry.

A relaxing pick of grass

The size of the fields is one of the big talking points in the Racing Post today, on how they can get more runners in each race, but the answer is simple. There is too much boring racing, the ground is firm, the prize money pathetic and it costs so much for the horse to actually get to the racecourse. If we want fields of 10 or more, we need to cut the fixture list dramatically, have clerk of the courses and grounds men who know how to look after the ground, increase the prize money and pay down to 8th place, plus give travelling money to entice the southern trainers to send their horses. It will only get worse if things aren’t done. I have always thought, and said, that if we don’t take care we will get to the stage where somebody like Arc is having trainers attached to the all-weather track, like they have in greyhound racing, and just supply horses for that track. God forbid that will ever happen but it might. British racing is the finest in the world with the best horses, the best trainers, jockeys and staff. We have the best stud farms and stallions and the history is unrivalled, but the financing is wrong and has been for a long time. Why we can’t sort this out I don’t know. We need a man with vision and power.