It's Champions weekend ...

Everything went according to plan

Thursday, 23 April 2015

"What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Joe and Andrew showing the hurdles

Band of Thunder (Joe) and Astrowolf (Andrew)

It’s a bit overcast at the moment, but not cold and no wind, so in fact it is a very pleasant morning to work with horses. It has been a cracking day so far, with first lot going up to the Links schooling ground, where we met Andrew Tinkler who had come up from the south to help out. We schooled Band Of Thunder, Astrowolf, Topamichi and Comrade Bond over the babies and then the full size portable hurdles. Andrew and Joe combined together well and when you get jockeys who know what they are doing, it makes the job far more enjoyable as they are very professional. We also schooled over the babies Astrovalour and Prayer Time, who were seeing them for the first time. You will see from the photos they are both going to be naturals. It does their brains the power of good just to do something different and they all enjoyed the morning thoroughly. I had a big batch of horses at second lot going through the stalls. Sant’Elia, Bracken Brae and Humphry Repton, the three-year-olds who are set to run shortly, all popped through them without a problem. Mr Turner and the Medicean ex Astrodonna were very good and finally three two-year-old fillies, Careless Rapture, Royal Applause ex Astromancer and Equiano ex Amanda Carter all went through without a hitch. They are so trusting and if you do everything quietly and smoothly, they learn to enjoy the stalls rather than be worried by them. The third lot is yet to go out, but there is plenty of chat going on between the staff and they have enjoyed it as much as the horses.

Comrade Bond making it look easy

     25_Avalour     36_P_Time                Astrovalour schooling over the tyres                     Prayer Time looks a natural

I see the new Ladbrokes chief is speedily into a review of the business, as the results published for the first quarter were worse than expected. They have already been hit in Ireland and have put the company there into examinership, which comes under the jurisdiction of the court. These results, in my mind, all stem from internet and phone betting, rather than in the shops and in Ireland they haven’t got the luxury of machines in the betting shops. The whole gambling industry is changing and we shouldn’t feel sorry for firms like Ladbrokes, who have made fortunes on the back of our industry for years, without working with us properly. We don’t want to see them disappear altogether, and that will never happen, but if we can all work together towards a goal, I am sure in time we can get it right. If we all pull in different directions we won’t. Let’s hope Nick Rust can be the mediator we hope he is.

Walking to the stalls at second lot

     59_Ex_Adonna     62_SantElia
          The Medicean ex Astrodonna colt                       Sant'Elia getting a reassuring pat

I must tell you a story against myself this morning. It was the first time we have used the stalls on racecourse side by the round canter on Southfields and we drove down in the car to try and get somewhere near. On Bury Side you can park within 20 yards of the stalls, but on racecourse side it is much harder. I could see them, but didn’t know where to actually park. I asked Rae Guest's string as they went by and was informed by one of his lads to “park there guv’nor and walk”. It tickled my lads no end, as me being chairman of the heath, I didn’t know where I was going. There is a first time for everything.

     65_Mr_T     72_Humphry
        Mr Turner walking through nicely      Humphry Repton getting a helping hand