Go to Kempton or Wolverhampton and then you will see what racing is really like ...

Exciting times ahead with the two-year-olds

Friday, 05 February 2016

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

Frederick Douglass.

Sandwood Bay and Permera

It’s a mild morning and it’s been a very good one so far, with all the horses doing a good exercise and things have been going remarkably well. Everybody is beginning to understand what I require from them and what the plans are for the horses. Because it is dry, I have been using new ground on Southfields turf as our main cantering area and everything has moved very smoothly on it. Unbelievably it looks like we may have a sharp two-year-old or two, which always gets the heart racing. There is plenty of chatter amongst the lads as to their ability. It is the best time of year this, as all your geese are swans until proven otherwise.

Sweeping Beauty

It was a mixed day yesterday, with Blue Bounty once again the bridesmaid. That’s the third time he has been second, just meeting something better on the day. At least we found out he handles the fibresand and is just as effective over five furlongs as he is over six. It opens up many more options for him on the turf and is amazing how sometimes these older horses get quicker as they age. Peeps once again let herself down by being very slowly out the stalls. She will have to have a day’s remedial training in the gates. I don’t think it is anything bad, it is just that she is hesitant. I am sure I will be able to sort the situation out. 

Aussie Rules ex Nice Time

I see the headline in the Racing Post today is the huge fall in the entries for the novice hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival. This is not surprising, as the big trainers have all the top horses and there are very few left with the middle to smaller trainers to have any chance at all. This situation will happen more and more, both over jumps and on the flat, as the sport at present is becoming very top heavy, with the small amount of very rich owners, which prize money doesn’t mean anything to, dominating the sales and buying privately. The trainers in the middle range and lower end of the premiership have to sell their horses to survive and all the better horses are crammed into three or four major yards. The only way out of this situation is to get the prize money sorted out. We hear cries on a regular basis from the BHA and the ROA, but nothing ever seems to get done. With the bookmakers amalgamating more and more and with the situation with Betfair and Paddy Power, we have a massive firm. However, only Betfair are signed up to the sponsorship agreement and all the money that is gambled in Paddy Power shops and online goes straight out of the country. If Ladbrokes and Corals combine, the same situation arises. It is no good the BHA spouting positive figures at us, we are still five or six years behind what should be coming into the sport and we need urgent action to remedy the situation.

Bob has put on a bit of condition since moving to Frankland Lodge

I was delighted to see that Horseracing Ireland has declared war on drug cheats and recommended lifetime bans for any horse found to have a prohibited substance. At least one jurisdiction has stood up to be counted. Ireland sells so much bloodstock worldwide, I think last years exported horses at public auction from Ireland was £267 million, that they need to have this in place, as confidence in the product is a must. Our BHA, as normal, has got a wishy-washy policy, like other jurisdictions. We see it in athletics and the cycling world that cheating is rife and the only way to stop it in our sport is to be very strong. The legal teams no doubt will tell you it is hard to do, but if you have a strong deterrent, it goes a long way.