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We have one runner today at Brighton

Friday, 27 May 2016

"Chocolate is the answer. Who cares what the question is."


Mr Turner leading Dixon and Time Down Under

It’s a perfect summer’s morning with the leaves out on the trees, the skylarks singing and the ground in perfect order. I don’t think this will last though as there is heavy rain forecast for Monday. It’s another busy morning with both fillies through the stalls once again and all being well we will run one of them and stalls test the other next Tuesday. Second lot saw two bunches come down the watered gallop with five two-year-olds all starting to get the idea well and I think running them will do them more good than galloping. The other lots will be staying reasonably close to home. 

(L-R) Sandwood Bay, Velvet Voice and Astroshadow

We only have one runner today and we don’t have any over the weekend, but there will be runners certainly on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Our runner today is Smile That Smile at Brighton. She runs in the 4.20, the mile and a quarter handicap. Tom Marquand has his first ride for us. He is attached to the Hannon yard and looks sure to make it as a jockey moving forward. It will be interesting to see how the filly runs today back in trip, as she has been in good form at home and let’s hope she can perform with credit. I would have preferred the ground much softer, but they have had some rain overnight and it is now good with some good to firm patches.

The Farhh ex Astrodonna foal at the stud

There are several things to comment on this morning. The first is that Yarmouth has got the green light to resume racing on the 8th June. There was some more galloping yesterday, which was not advertised, but it must have been arranged to try the bend after alterations and let’s hope it all goes off without a hitch.

The second thing, I received by email yesterday. It was a newsletter from the British Racing School. Now, after the stable staff series this week in the Racing Post highlighting the lack of stable staff but giving no reasons (except more time off, which I don’t think they really want) the British Racing School have announced they are going to charge for board and lodgings during a trainees course at the school. They are also going to charge trainers a fee for being allocated one of the trainees, a sum of £300. They state the fee will be refunded should the trainee leave within six weeks, but will not be refunded after that time. Whoever thought this one up is completely barmy and I mean completely. We are trying to attract staff to the school not alienate them and the majority of these young recruits will be from backgrounds that cannot afford the fees, plus it will only be the bigger trainers who have huge pockets that can afford to pay the finder’s fee. There cannot have been any thought go into it whatsoever and in my opinion is a backward step. If we as an industry cannot afford to run the British Racing School and the Northern Racing College it just goes to show what poor financial planning is going on.

The BHA has got so much to answer for. It would appear to be constantly being run at a loss and we, the industry professionals (that is anybody who has anything to do with the industry) is charged a fee for everything we do. Whether it’s for a trainers licence, jockeys licence, entries, declarations, registrations of everything you can think of, brood mare, foals etc. are all charged for by the monopoly of Weatherbys along with the constant raising of fees by the BHA. The sooner the BHA moves its offices out of London and gets its finances in order the better. There has been so many horrendous mistakes made over the years and the finances, which should be used to encourage new staff and new owners, are lost in all the bureaucratic nonsense of the BHA. Media rights which goes to the racecourses is a joke with the racecourse groups putting very little back into prize money and the owners paying huge entry fees for their horses to run. We need a major shake-up of the whole system and let’s hope, but I very much doubt it, that when the new financing system starts that our industry will start to see sense and we can all move forward, but there are so many people in positons of power, a bit like politicians, that are on the gravy train.

Sea the Moon ex Battery Power enjoying time in the paddock

It is the big weekend with the championship play off final at Wembley on Saturday so I want everybody sitting in front of their TV’s at 5 o’clock with a blue scarf on shouting “come on the owls”. I, very luckily, will be there. It has been 23 years since we were there last time and I am sure we will get the right result. Sheffield Wednesday is a massive club that has been a slumbering giant for too long. It shows with the ticket sales. 39,000 owls tickets were sold within minutes but Hull City have only taken up 29,000. There has been some talk of our supporters driving to Hull to buy tickets and I just hope this has not been allowed to happen as the fans don’t need to let us down now. I think Wembley would have been sold out with just one team there. Just think of it, premiership football at Hillsborough. Ian and Phil are already boasting about six points for Arsenal, but I am not saying we will do a Leicester City straight away, just give us three years.