A very well deserved winner of the Longines Ladies Award ...

Training a horse is not just about the exercise

Thursday, 26 February 2015

"When life takes the wind out of your sails, it is to test you at the oars."

Robert Brault.

A really busy morning

It’s an overcast morning, but certainly not cold, which was forecast at the weekend and has not yet materialised. We have had a good morning cantering on Long Hill and Warren Hill, with a few staying round the indoor ride as well. All the horses up at our other yard on the Hamilton Road are really shaping up now and it is a perfect place to start them back into work. As well as the walker, we have plenty of areas to walk and trot to start them back into cantering mode. It is also like having a holiday for one or two of them without them knowing it. One of the main arts of training is the ability to get inside a horse’s head and get on its wavelength.  

Warming up in the indoor ride

We have two runners today, both at Chelmsford City. We start off with Legal Art in the 5.35, the 6f fillies’ maiden. She has run two sound races and I think was beaten by a smartish filly when finishing second over 7f on her latest run. I am hopeful today of a good run, although my only worry is going back in trip again and she is not drawn great in seven. Our other runner, Prayer Time, is drawn widest of all today now, with a couple of non-runners who were drawn on the wide outside. This does make you think that the draw has put those two off, and we are now down to 10 runners with us on the outside. He had three runs last year on the turf, but was a big, weak colt. He has now been gelded and has been going quite well of late and if he faces the harsh kickback and can get in a good position early on, he could make the first four at a reasonable price, but the draw does make a big difference, especially for inexperienced horses.

Mr Turner

I had an irate letter today, from a lady telling me that trainers and jockeys were just paid servants of the owners, sponsors and punters and that when good prize money is put up for races, they should be running their horses. She pointed out that only a few horses had run at Fontwell at the weekend for very good money. Now I don’t know about these races, as we only have a couple of jumpers, but there is always good reason not to run. She said that we shouldn’t keep them wrapped up in cotton wool. May I just say to that lady, who didn’t leave her address so I could reply to her, that all trainers want to win races, especially ones with good prize money, which is very rare to find, and that there must be good reasons why the fields were as they were. Maybe the ground, the conditions of the races, distance, the cost of running on a Sunday, which is twice as much as a normal day, can all come into play. The professionals only make any money if they win races and get prize money, so everybody is trying their best. We must all pull together, not apart, to get this sport on the right track. There’s a good article today in the Racing Post saying it should all start from the bottom of the pyramid upwards. If the base is strong, the top will be. It is simple.