In and out as quickly as possible ...

It's not rocket science

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

"It is possible at any age to discover a lifelong desire you never knew you had."

Robert Brault.

Medicean ex Astrodonna yearling being prepared for exercise

We had plenty of rain overnight but thank goodness it has stopped now and the sunshine is beginning to appear. It is dark enough though and the days are still pretty short. We have had plenty of activity this morning, with horses cantering, the yearlings continuing to get broken in - we have sat over a couple of colts for the first time this morning - and stocking up on Christmas deliveries with hay and shavings. We have also got a constant stream of people calling in to wish us well for the season, which is always nice to get.

Walking to the indoor ride

Sir Mark Prescott has called for a different set of whip rules. He and I think exactly the same and have discussed this for years. There are so many professionals that agree with us, but the powers that be seem very reluctant to bring his very simple rule in. What he is advocating is that if a jockey hits the horse more than the limit (if the number was eight and he hits it nine times) the horse is disqualified. Everybody would understand this, jockey, trainer, owner, punter and the wider general public. It would eliminate straight away any bad publicity for the sport that the whip generates. It always happens in the big races when there is so much money at stake. It very rarely happens at the everyday run of the mill meetings, where there is no prize money and the jockey has nothing to gain. In fact sometimes they don’t try hard enough because they have it in their mind that if they go over, they will be banned for a length of time. You can find reasons not to agree with this, but jockeys can count and if you owed them £100 and only gave them £90, they would soon ask for the other £10. This rule would revolutionise our sport, make the jockeys ride with their legs and more skill would come into it. If a horse will not go for three or four smacks, he will not go for 14. It is very disappointing when a jockey keeps the race when the other jockeys have kept to the rules and the winner hasn’t. It is very simple and would work.

The sun is trying to break through this morning

We have the now BHA chief executive, Mr Bittar, announcing more small field review ideas. The fact is the horse population has gone down, especially in the jumping game as the injuries are high and horses can race on the all-weather without the problems you get when hurdling or chasing. Also the prize money doesn’t add up, especially in the north, there is too much racing and not enough horses. The answer is to reduce the fixture list by 20% and put up prize money, pay down to eighth place, or use the extra money from the bookmakers to pay a transport allowance. Once again it is simple, takes very little thinking about and needs to be done, but we need people with the wherewithal to do it, or explain to us in simple language why it can’t be done. Nobody is ever told anything and until we get full disclosure of what is planned, the game will just go one way.