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There will be no white Christmas this year

Monday, 21 December 2015

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

Norman Vincent Peale

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First light

It was a very starry morning which developed into a clear sky and bright sunshine. The forecast for the Christmas week is for bands of rain to come across the country for the next few days. It will be getting slightly colder, but it should be dry on the big day itself. I would love to see some snow, but I don’t think we have any chance this time around. We have plenty of staff in this morning and the horses are getting a really good exercise, mainly on Hamilton Hill. All the horses will be getting a long weekend off, both for Christmas and the New Year, which falls quite well for our working practices.

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Second lot

I see in the Racing Post today there is a big article on how to rejuvenate the northern jumping scene and at long last somebody has started to wake up to the problems. There is a big drop in owners and the horse population, which was always going to happen, but when the main base of our industry is in London, there is very little understanding of what is happening in the real world. The article tries to explain the problems, but doesn’t come up with the reasons why. The reasons are very simple.

  1. 1.  Very poor prize money, which doesn’t encourage anybody to own a racehorse.
  2. 2. With the expansion of the all-weather flat meetings, the majority of horses are kept to race on the all-weather rather than being given a chance to go hurdling.
  3. 3. The majority of the flat horses that could make jumpers are either now transferred to their in-house trainer, or sent to race on the flat in Dubai.
  4. 4. This leaves a very small pool of other horses to be sold.
  5. 5. The injury rate in jumping can deter owners investing in that sphere. 

I also see they are trying to persuade owners to relocate to train in certain northern counties, but I don’t quite know how that would work. Where is the money going to come from to incentivise them?

Topalova

Topalova

There’s a great article about Geoff Lewis in the paper today. He was a most marvellous jockey and a proper person. He trained for quite a while after his retirement from the saddle, with plenty of success. I have happy memories of Geoff, but one of my favourite is when playing golf in Scotland during the Western meeting in September, the wind was so high and Geoff put his foot on the golf ball to stop it blowing off the green. He then proceeded to crack it into the hole to claim victory. What a man.

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 Richard and Wendy Marriott with their Nathaniel ex Battery Power weanling filly