Horse welfare is paramount ...

The are coming on over racecourse side

Wednesday, 04 March 2015

"There is in all animals a sense of duty that man condescends to call instinct."

Robert Brault.

Bracken Brae and Sophie 

Although it is a very bright morning, there is a strong wind and it has made the temperature drop dramatically. It’s as cold out on the heath as it’s been all winter. The forecasters tell us that by lunchtime it is going to warm up and be spring like and I just hope they are right. We had a normal mornings cantering, with Warren Hill being the main area. We are starting getting the horses going that we have on racecourse side and they are beginning to shape up well. We have the Hamilton Hill polytrack very close to us, where we can have a good trot beforehand and then start them away cantering. That yard is a great help.

Jogging up Hamilton Hill

It is fascinating to read the annual reports of the bookmakers and after William Hill and Ladbrokes, we now have Paddy Power announcing that they have record pre-tax profits and plan to return £285 million back to shareholders. Their profit before tax was up 21% on a turnover of £7 billion. They are planning to open 30 new shops in the UK, which is the direct opposite of Ladbrokes, who are set to close 60, or so they say. Horse racing is still the number one sport by a long way for people to gamble on and I wish we could get this across to everybody, rather than the drip feeding from the big two bookmakers about how it is on the decline.

Steve in charge on the Hamilton Hill

I see Catterick has dropped its plans to have an all-weather track up and running next year and it looks like it will not be coming into plan until 2017. This is a great shame for the northern trainers, who are desperate for a track to cut down on all their costs. This really should not be an item, as when initially the all-weather tracks were being built, there should have been one in the north then. Why Wetherby didn’t build one when they redid their course, I will never know. The Newcastle application is still very much live and they are applying for fixtures for 2016. With the track at Yarmouth not having even  sown a seed of grass on it at present, there is no hope of racing there next year and I am sure, in a cynical thought, that their fixtures will be a bargaining ploy for Arc to use.

I also see Chelmsford City is thinking about a turf track on the inside of the all-weather. They can’t even get the grass right in the paddock and surrounding areas, so they have no hope whatsoever of a turf track. This racecourse was built on the old Essex Showground, which is clay. When I say clay, I mean it is solid hard clay underneath and doesn’t drain, unlike chalk where water soon disappears. With clay it just lays and you only have to take one step in the paddock or winning enclosure there to realise the stupidity of the idea. Just keep to all-weather, it works, it is popular and if they keep the prize money up, trainers will go.

     50_Ex_Trew_Class_15     63_Ex_Astrodonna_15
           Pastoral Pursuits ex Trew Class                             Havana Gold ex Astrodonna