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Bracken Brae make it a hat trick of wins

Friday, 11 March 2016

"A best friend is someone who makes you laugh even when you think you’ll never smile again."


Walking to the gallops in the fog

Restricted visibility

Thick fog and a good frost welcomed everybody this morning and that along with no wind, meant it has hung around a bit until after second lot. It was very hard to see further than 50 yards at times and this makes for slight difficulties when jumping on the canters as you don’t know who is coming until you are upon them. It was very quiet though on the heath this morning and we saw very few people about so consequently everything went as well as expected.  We did some good half speeds at first lot and the horses are coming on in leaps and bounds, all moving well and with enthusiasm. They are getting themselves fit without knowing it and a warm spring spell of weather will see the fillies’ coats start to fly out. It will be interesting to see how this bunch progress as the year goes on, but at this stage I am as pleased as I possibly could be.

The sun is breaking through for second lot

We have no runners over the weekend and it will not be until Tuesday of next week that we could possibly be having any more. Our run continues with Bracken Brae bringing up the hat trick last night at Chelmsford under Callum Shepherd, who is certainly a boy to follow during the season. He has only had a couple of rides for us, but gives me the impression that he is very capable and professional with a good manner. With a bit of luck he should make it. The mare was idling a bit in front, but won with a bit in hand. The slowly run race didn’t suit her as it was a dash from the bend. There are plenty of options for her now, whether it is the all-weather or turf and she is a brilliant jumper of hurdles. In fact, I think she will be top class once jumping fences, but that’s a long way down the line. We were pleased with Prayer Time who finished third. I mentioned the top two were the dangers and in a fast run race, he was just never in the right place at the right time. He is still lightly raced and there is plenty of improvement to come. He also jumps hurdles very well and I can’t wait to get him out on good ground over the obstacles.

Topaling walking back in the sun

My comments on ground and Clerks of the Courses telling you the truth are shown today on page two of the Racing Post where you will see Stratford under water after the river broke its banks. It is only 30 miles from Cheltenham and they must have had a lot of rain there as well, but it is even money that there will be good in the going description when the Festival starts on Tuesday. If you read the article you will see that Huntingdon is flooded on the home straight and the stable bend, but believe it or not the Clerk of the Course still remains hopeful that next Wednesday’s meeting will go ahead. He will call it good to soft as well no doubt. We don’t mind what waffle the Clerks of the Courses spin, all trainers and owners want is the truth about the ground and good prize money and then there will be runners. Who wants to see a load of non-runners and wasted costs of journeys for the owners? They will soon leave this industry in droves if money goes down the drain for nothing. The BHA and its inspectors have got to get a grip on the Clerks and get them to tell the truth. There are some much better than others and I am sorry if I malign the group as a whole, but it’s certainly an area that needs making more professional.

Showing the climb up Hamilton Hill

I read somewhere that Aintree has decided to make it easier for disabled people to go racing with a better entrance way and area on the track for them to watch the races from. I think this has mainly come from Paul Stewart, a member of the Stewart family who have a lot of horses in training. I think this is definitely a good idea and we need to have a campaign to make sure every racetrack have these facilities. Usually the viewing area for disabled people is wide open, without any shelter from the elements. Whether you are in a wheelchair or you have a walker, you need somewhere that you can see the race without getting wet and cold and can easily get in and out to get something to eat and drink and keep warm. We should be encouraging racecourses to provide these amenities as I am sure we are a sport that can give lots of pleasure to so many people