The final day of Cheltenham with the running of the Gold Cup ....

A new dawn, a new year

Monday, 05 January 2015

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.

Hal Borland.

A new dawn for a new year

It is great to get things back to normal this morning after what seemed to be a never ending Christmas holiday. I hope everybody had a very happy time though, as we did, but it’s certainly very good to be back with the string in great order and a full compliment of staff. In fact we had a couple of new ones start this morning and it means we can crack on at full steam. I am really looking forward to this year, with some very nice young horses, adding to the string of three-year-olds we had last year that needed time. That combined with the older ones gives us a broad depth of talent.

Cantering in the frost last week

We have had quite a bit of controversy over the Christmas period, along with plenty of good racing on what has been pretty poor ground may I say, but at least most of the racing has gone ahead without any frost or snow. The only cold day we got meant the cancellation of one all-weather meeting. You just can’t make these jokes up. One of the most controversial decisions was the abandonment of the small field fillies’ handicap, when there were four runners left in. There have been a lot of small fields over the holiday period and will continue to be so whilst the prize money is low and the expense to travel horses is high. We cannot be run by the bookmakers, or in fact run racing to suit the bookmakers, as what this trial looks to be doing. What we need to do is work with the bookmakers to the benefit of us all, but it is the racing professionals who are the producers of the product, thanks to the owners, and they are the ones that need to see the benefits. If they do investment will follow, with new owners and much more investment. The powers that be should be concentrating their minds on the cause of the small fields, not trying to force the problem to go away by abandoning races. It just creates resentment within the trainers and owners associations, and why the jockeys seem to like it I don’t know. The new BHA board and the new chief executive have to put prize money at the top of their list. Sort this out and you sort racing out.

Hold Firm (Ali) leading the way home

Hopefully we will start having some runners towards the end of the week, with Topaling entered once again at Wolverhampton. There will be several of the three-year-olds getting into gear soon as well. I have got a few to school over hurdles and they will be soon seeing the baby ones and seeing if they have the aptitude for jumping.