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We are off to do some stalls practice

Thursday, 05 May 2016

"Best friends make the good times better and the hard times easier."

Anon.

29_Blue
Blue Bounty

It’s the second really good morning in a row with the temperature improving by the minute. We have had two lots out so far and all has gone well. I am planning to put some through the stalls, including four two-year-olds, later on. We need more grass cantering ground open on our side now as Southfields and New Ground are shut and only the Back of the flat is open for normal cantering. I will be trying to sort this situation out as there are many more horses on Hamilton Road nowadays and with new yards being built, there will be even more in the near future.

06_Dixon
Dixon

It was interesting to see a jumper win the Chester Cup once again and although it did cost over £200,000 as a yearling and is by Galileo, it is now becoming a regular occurrence that something that has been running over hurdles in winter time wins the Chester Cup. They didn’t go very quickly yesterday and it was a slow time, but congratulations to the winners. I am always slightly jealous as it is one race I would love to win. As the weather was so wonderful yesterday, the racegoers at Chester would have had a fantastic day and I am sure there was lots of champagne consumed by all and sundry.

17_Blue_leading
Walking home in the sunshine

With racecourses producing improved performances and making more profit it would be appreciated if they would spend it on improving the facilities for all racing personnel, whether the owners and trainers, the general public, the staff or the horses.  I see Newbury gets huge crowds for its pop music nights and the sale of land for housing has put them back into profit. They state work on improving racehorse facilities is expected to commence early summer and this is Newbury speaking.

Many racecourses seem to have forgotten the horses who want a proper grass cover, a good clean stable and room to unsaddle in a quiet environment. The staff require tidy and secure accommodation, food that is well cooked at an affordable price, and a canteen that doesn’t close early. I have always advocated that canteen food should be free to stable employees as it is for jockeys and in some owners and trainers facilities. Looking after the people that supply the product, i.e., the owners, is a must. Although some courses are brilliant and value their support, there are others that don’t, with owners and trainers having very poor facilities and viewing.

The industry now seems to be run by the racecourses, whether it is race planning or prize money. If one compares the racecourse to a stage, they need to recognise that the ‘actors’ need respect and appreciation or they will go elsewhere and even fade away.

37_Bracken
Bracken Brae

There is another area which needs addressing and that is the facilities for disabled racegoers which are of a very low standard. A few courses have a raised platform with a ramp, but with no shelter and ill positioned.  How do the courses expect wheelchair bound or any disabled person to be able to watch a race when the weather is bad? Also access to bars, restaurants, etc. is very poor and usually there is no lift. It was pointed out last year to Newmarket on the Rowley Mile that it is impossible to get a wheelchair up an escalator. The only access to owners facilities was through the Jockey Club Rooms restaurant. Even then the wheelchair couldn’t get through the door. There must be many more tracks with similar problems. I have said before that I shall have a campaign on this point and from now on I will be. I also think the ROA should take this up as a matter of urgency.