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Thursday, 09 April 2015

"The brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks."

Fred Beck.

15_Long_Hill_grass
Cantering up the hill in the sunrise


10_SantElia
Sant'Elia (Joe) on Long Hill turf

It’s another warm morning and I have just heard on the radio that tomorrow is going to be the warmest day of the year so far, especially in the south east. Unfortunately the air is going to be slightly polluted with sand from the Sahara! Long Hill grass has been the cantering ground this morning with the horses at Exeter Ride, and up at Frankland Lodge they have been using the Hamilton Hill. We have had no problems so far and the grass is in perfect condition, but as you know Newmarket dries up quickly and if the weather continues, we will start getting on the firm side. The other thing to mention this morning is that the sky larks were high in the sky and singing their heads off. There is no better sound when you are out on the heath.

13_Smile
Smile That Smile (Leon) cantering

It’s the first day of the National meeting today. There are a lot of horses that have continued on here from the Cheltenham Festival and a few that have been especially held back. It is always a well attended meeting with the locals turning out in force and it always seems to me to be a more fun place than Cheltenham. The ground will be perfect and there will be no excuses. I am sure there will be plenty of stories come out of the week and the McCoy factor will undoubtedly come into play. It will be very interesting to see how the viewing figures hold up, especially on Saturday when there is no Clare Balding to hold the programme together, or be a face that the general public recognize. In Nick Luck we have a very capable presenter, but he has been limited in his other outside work and only the racing professionals really know him. It has been a big call by Channel 4 management to push Nick forward, rather than a much better known sports presenter. We will wait and see the outcome.

26_Heavensfield
Heavensfield (Yaz)

It is fascinating to see the latest figures show there is a rise in the number of horses in training. The table doesn’t go into any depth though and if it did I think it would show that the bigger owners, ie the top 4 or 5 overseas owners, have increased their strings considerably. I think the normal one horse owner is still on the decline and this is the area that needs addressing, but it will only happen when prize money is increased to a proper level and one which helps the smaller owner as the larger ones are immune to costs. We have got lost over the last 30 years and left completely behind on the prize money issue and it will take a major step to rectify it, but rectify it we must if the sport is to thrive at all levels.