Velvet Vista runs at 5.45 followed by Astrojewel in the 8.45 ...

A very bright, clear morning...

Saturday, 25 September 2010



Cantering up the newly harrowed Warren Hill polytrack


"It's funny how dogs and cats know the insides of folks better than other folks do, isn't it?"

 - Eleanor H Porter (Pollyanna)



Ted Spread (Colin) and Cornish Beau (Nicki)

A very bright, clear morning with plenty of blue sky but a real nip in the air and the forecast is for it to continue cold and damp for the rest of the week. It is a bit like the Marie Celeste today in the yard, as we have runners everywhere and people on holiday, so staff are short on the ground. We drafted in a couple of the stud boys, Mo and Akram, to do some mucking out which was a great help. They both loved it and were like whirlwinds, which was very much appreciated by everybody. All the horses have had a good canter and the ones that have run lately have been on the walker or in the equine pool. 


Mystery Star (Ashley) and Astrodonna (Dan)

Both the runners yesterday ran with credit. Brushing hated the ground but still ran well, despite having to come pretty wide from that draw - I think she will develop into an even better filly next year. Marvo was not beaten very far in quite a good race and, hopefully, he can win a race on the flat before going jumping this autumn.


Finger Spin (Abby) and Astrolibra (Holly)

Three runners today, all across the country, starting with Akula at Market Rasen. This looks the best three year old hurdle of the season so far, the 2 mile 1 furlong juvenile hurdle at 2.50 pm. He has schooled very well but this looks quite competitive and I will be delighted if he is in the first four; this is not beyond the bounds of possibility, as there will be plenty of pace on in this race which should help. At Chester, we run Zenarinda in the mile and a quarter maiden at 4.05 pm,  where she ran well last time and I expect another sound run. Whilst talking about Chester, what fantastic prize money it is again today and, along with the hospitality for the owners, it is fast becoming a must-attend racetrack. If only all the other tracks would follow suit. Our last runner is Omokoroa at Ascot in the 2 mile Gordon Carter handicap at 5.25 pm. One point here is that, with such great prize money for all the other races on show, it is a bit disappointing that this traditional Cesarewitch trial is worth so little. Omokoroa has been so consistent this year and deserves to get his head in front, so I have fitted a visor today, hoping it can concentrate his mind and let's hope it works the oracle like it did for Theola.


Smokey Oakey (Colin) and Star Commander (Ashley) 

My rant for the day is about the fixture list and the new ''British Champions' Day'' at Ascot. Call me an old dinosaur if you must but the old traditional mid-week fixtures were, in my opinion, far better for the sport than the obsession for weekend and, particularly, Saturday racing we are getting from the marketing people. The Derby, the most famous race in the world and the one everybody wants to win, whether it be owner , trainer or jockey is now completely lost on a Saturday. It is competing with so many other sports and events that the press coverage and build-up is completely lost in the national press, which is where, we are being told, Racing for Change wants to promote our sport. The exact same thing will happen to the Ebor, the July Cup and now this day at Ascot. The French certainly don't like it and will soon be moving the Prix Moulin, Group 1, to the Arc weekend, which will mean there is no international competition. Which one would you rather go to? A weekend in Paris with great racing and food or a weekend in a concrete jungle or airport lounge, which is what Ascot is now. End of rant! But why do we need to change, we just need to get more money into every area of the industry and that can only come from the government regulating and getting to grips with the gambling industry. In my opinion, the gambling industry is getting out of control similar to some financial institutions just before this last big recession. 


Astroverdi (Dan) and Munro's Dragon (Holly)

The football today could be interesting with Manchester City playing Chelsea, Arsenal are at home to West Brom., The Owls are at home to Southampton and, back to reality, Northampton are playing at home to Bradford. Phil is going to Six Fields this afternoon with his son Sam and a friend and the three tickets together cost less than just over half of a single Arsenal ticket. He will get a lot better entertainment and a better pie at half time, as well.