Velvet Vista runs at 5.45 followed by Astrojewel in the 8.45 ...

A much better performance

Thursday, 28 August 2014

"Opportunity is a bird that never perches."

Claude McDonald.

Humphry Repton (Farhan)

It’s a damp morning with a steady drizzle, which I am very pleased about on two fronts. One, it will keep the ground on the perfect side and two, we put some autumn fertilizer on the fields at the stud yesterday and this type of drizzle is ideal to move it through the soil.  Two canters on Bury Side has been the order of the day. Some went up the long one on Long Hill but the majority went on the Mactrac on Warren Hill. They certainly look absolute pictures and as I have said before, the backward ones are really beginning to shape up well and look as if they have ability.

Swilken (Reece)

We were delighted with Hold Firm last night, who showed what he has actually been showing me at home. It wasn’t the best of races, but the standard was reasonably ok. He will improve a lot for that once again and I am sure he will stay a bit further in time. There are definitely races to be won with him, as he stuck his head down and ran right to the line, much to the delight of the shareholders who have made very long journeys to get there, and to his breeder, Richard Farleigh, who had hitched a lift with me. It was the first time I have been racing with Richard. I thought I had seen a few nervous owners but he beat the lot, even Michael Bowring who is a notable walkabout at the racecourse. Richard was like a cat on hot bricks, but was obviously delighted that the first foal of his mare had started to fulfil his promise. We have a very nice Sir Percy yearling and a cracking Authorized colt foal to look forward to. Needless to say the journey home was spent talking about the future and stallion nominations. All great stuff and what owning and breeding horses is all about.

Crystal Pearl (Joe Akehurst)

There’s a big article today in the Racing Post on where the racing coverage has disappeared to in daily papers. I have noticed this myself, certainly in the Telegraph, the Times and the Daily Mail, which we get. The editorial has greatly diminished and several times there is absolutely no coverage. A lot of the correspondents have been made redundant and the sport editors on most papers have very little interest in racing. I think this is a very worrying situation as we need all the publicity we can get and if we are the second most watched sport, after football, it certainly needs addressing. It always amazes me how there are pages of tennis and rugby, which are not elitist sports and don’t get the attendance or the daily interest, but very little on racing. We are obviously doing something wrong and the powers that be once again should get their act together.

Mark my words on another point, if Clare Balding leaves Channel 4 racing, which it looks like she will be, there will be repercussions when the contract is renewed, especially Royal Ascot and Cheltenham where the viewing figures were dramatically down. At least these two, plus Aintree and the Derby must be back on BBC if at all possible. Let’s hope we have leaders in place who understand the importance of this.