It's Champions weekend ...

The fog gave way to sunshine

Friday, 12 September 2014

"Sometimes in tragedy we find our life’s purpose – the eye sheds a tear to find its focus."

Robert Brault.

Where are the horses?

The morning started off with thick fog and it was very hard to see the horses until they were on top of you once again. I decided it was safer for everybody concerned to gallop on the Al Bahathri, where there are white rails either side and furlong markers. First lot all did the job without a hitch. Amazingly it cleared up very quickly and by second lot it was bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine. That lot went Town Sand and Chalk Pits to the reservoir on Bury Hills.

Emerging through the fog

It is a Classic weekend with the St Leger tomorrow, with 14 declared runners at present. The ground will play a big part in this and as it doesn’t look like there is any rain, it will be against the favourite if he runs. The decision whether to water or not is always a difficult one and often clerks of the courses are browbeaten into doing so. It is disappointing for connections when the ground is not right, but I have always thought you should take the rough with the smooth and it eventually evens itself out. I have mentioned before that it is disappointing that the Irish Champions weekend, which starts tomorrow, is on the same day as the St Leger, with two Group 1’s and a Group 2 and 3 on the card. Let’s hope it doesn’t take too much off the glitz of our Classic. I think the winner could be Snow Sky.

Toptempo (Joe Akehurst)

There has been plenty of comment lately on the voluntary contribution that the bookmakers had agreed to pay on a 4 year deal. It was £4.5 million a year but we have seen none of it yet and there is plenty of argument and debate as to how it should be used. I am not sure this agreement will ever see the light of day and once again we will have been led up the alley, only to be disappointed at the end. The other point to mention is this new £100,000 hurdle race at Haydock. It is only the week before the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and will surely take horses away from that race. This would mean small fields in both, which is what we are constantly being told we need to address. You couldn’t make this up. I called for centralized race planning 25 years ago when doing an article for the Racing Post, and they are still thinking it may be the way forward now. Until we get centralized race planning, which is not rocket science, we will constantly get small fields, as the racecourses have very little idea and don’t seem to care what the professionals require.