It's Champions weekend ...

Field size is the hot topic again today

Thursday, 24 July 2014

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." William A. Ward.

Astromajor (Glenn)

It’s much warmer again this morning and there has been very little mist or cloud. In fact its been clear since 4.30 when I got up and came in to feed, as Darren the head lad, is off at present and Steve is still off with his illness. It is now baking hot and looks like being one of the warmest days we have had so far. All the horses have been up Warren Hill and around Side Hill and I must say my band of cheerful lads and lasses are performing well.

Hold Firm (Tom)

I see the double page spread in the Racing Post today is about field sizes and what the BHA are trying to do. This matter has gone out to consultation and there are quite a few initiatives that are being examined. The BHA are trying to get the field sizes up to around 10 or 11 and feel it is achievable based on the data available and the longer term forecasts. Well I don’t know what world they are living in, as I forecast the horse population to reduce over the next three or four years, and that’s without having any data. The big problem is that the racecourses have the right to frame their own programme. They put on the prize money they want and race when they want, so any cuts in fixtures will be strongly defended. It is all very simple to me. What we want is a reduced fixture list, not by too many, but just cut out some of the absolute rubbish, we want centralised race planning done by somebody who knows what they are doing, and have seasons for flat racing and jumping with a gap between them. Let’s give the horses a rest in the summer and in the winter. We need prize money down to 8th and we need a big reduction in our entry costs, which would help all owners and that’s only for starters. I also think we ought to have a clear out of the BHA and get some new faces in there, with some sensible ideas.

Peeps (Heather) crossing the road

I see students are going to get in free for the champions weekend in the autumn at Newmarket and Ascot. I think 2000 tickets are up for grabs. This tells me one thing. There is nobody who likes this weekend and the public don’t go, so giving away free tickets with the enticement of their own special enclosure with bars and music is a way of upping the numbers for the racecourse. Young people like racing but we don’t sell it the right way. There is an article today from a student, where I think the conclusion is that young people like the intrigue and mystery of working out the going, track and form to try and pick a winner, which is how it should be. They are not all drunken, stupid people and most racing fans love the intrigue of the sport and trying to work out who will win or lose.

Star Commander back in training

The Thoroughbred Breeders Association had their annual seminar at Tattersalls yesterday and there were some interesting speakers. One of the interesting facts to come out of the main speaker, John Lynam a brother to trainer Eddie, was that the increase in aggregate at Tattersalls sales was caused by horses that sold for 100,000 guineas or more accounted for 92% of the growth and horses that sold for 250,000 guineas or more represented an increase in aggregate of 141%. This is all well and good for the people who sell the horses, which are few and far between, but with the rest it has been very hard to sell, especially with the production costs and stallion fees never coming down. Something to dwell on.