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We have one runner today at Southwell

Thursday, 03 March 2016

"It takes a long time to grow an old friend."

John Leonard.

Overcast at first lot where Dot Green leads Heavensfield

The day started off overcast and damp, but as the sun has come up, it has got much warmer and brighter. In fact it is a really lovely morning now, and with very little wind, the temperature is average for this time of year. We have had a very good morning so far, with the horses doing good canters on Southfield Round and New Ground turf. Actually, it went so well this morning anybody watching would have thought everybody knew what they were doing! I have now got a much more settled staff, that ride well, love the horses and it makes all the difference to the working atmosphere of the yard. Long may it continue.

Sweeping Beauty cantering in the sun at second lot

We have one runner today at Southwell, with Prayer Time running in the one mile three furlong handicap at 4 o'clock. He badly needed his last run as he had been off a long time and will have come on quite a bit for that. He is up three furlongs in trip this time and it will be interesting to see if he stays this extra distance. All the work riders tell me he will do, but he is by a sprinter, out of a mare that won over a mile. We will know a lot more after today, but it definitely wouldn’t surprise me to see him run a sound race. There looks like being plenty of pace on here and he is not drawn very well in 11, but I think if things fall into place, he could make the frame.

Regal Galaxy

There are great headlines in the Racing Post today “government tell bookies to pay up” with questions being tabled today in parliament to the Minister of Culture, Media and Sport. It looks like the government are going to plug the gap of racings leaking finances and collect money on all bets, whether it be betting shops, online, onshore or offshore. It must be congratulations to all people who have been lobbying the government on the situation and you only have to look at the graph in the Racing Post today to see how the finances have so diminished over the last 10 years. The bookmakers have had it so good for so long and have ruled the roost in all matters, holding us to ransom at times. We don’t want to do that, we just want a fair share of what we produce for them to gamble on. We still need to work together and I am sure we can do, but this is a great success for the industry.

I went to the meeting yesterday at Tattersalls, where all the good and great were there to explain what they were doing. The above was mentioned, but they thought the time would be in the future, not this week, so everything they were speaking about yesterday, or the majority of it, will have to be rethought. The two things I took from it were the integrity of racing, with the rules being rewritten, and the stewarding being looked at, plus the welfare of horses after they have finished racing. I am not sure that Great British Racing is worth the money we pay them and I am sure that the racecourses need to invest a lot more of their media rights money, which should continue to go up into prize money and owner facilities.

Lost the Moon

Steven Dennis in the Racing Post today, writes that the top of our tree is immune to the credit squeeze and the owners are not affected by any downturn. The trainers who have their horses are growing enormous and the others are struggling. You only have to look at today’s early entries in the 2000 and 1000 guineas in Newmarket. The top horses are concentrated to very few yards and apart from one or two smaller exceptions, there are no entries from anybody that you can call a surprise. Horse racing needs the dream and every owner and trainer is entitled to have it, but when we are 38th on the list of racing countries that returns prize money to the owners, it says it all.