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

We have had a good morning out on the gallops

Friday, 26 August 2016

"They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom."


Topamichi, Peeps and Permera on the Watered Gallop

It was supposed to thunder again last night, but we didn’t get any and it was another very warm and close evening. It is a lot fresher this morning with no wind and a good working temperature. I sent a few horses down across the watered gallop first lot and this piece of ground is the best it has been all year. Second and third lot have been cantering on Southfield Round and Hamilton Hill. All has gone well so far.

Indian Red and Hold Firm

I see the BHA have taken a winner away from a horse at Cheltenham that tested positive for a substance. We all know the rules and the suggested withdrawal times when giving some veterinary assistance, and in this case it looked like the substance had stayed in the system much longer than normal. It must be very frustrating for all the connections, especially when winning a race which is both valuable and prestigious, but rules are rules and we must live by them. This is a rare occurrence and everybody must move on. The BHA and British Racing have a great stance on drugs which is the best in the world and this integrity must be upheld to the end.

Heavensfield and Astroshadow

The National Trainers Federation and the stable staff union have just negotiated a 5.5% pay rise on minimum rates for all stable staff. This is a well-deserved rise as they are under pressure constantly at present with the lack of recruits coming into the industry. Everybody is working twice as hard as they always did because of the increase in the fixtures list and all the ongoing problems that that manufactures. Next year we have got a big increase in evening fixtures, which seems to be a big cash cow for the racecourses, and the bookmakers think their cash flow will increase as people have more time in the evenings to bet, either on their phones or on course. The big problem here is, how does everybody pay for this? The few big trainers with the elite owners compete for the top prize money, but the majority of the others compete at the middle to bottom end where the prize money is still very poor. I would have thought it would have been much better to put the chicken before the egg, to have got the prize money sorted out at the bottom end and then it would have been much easier to have increased the costs.

The whole thing of recruitment and training needs looking into properly and each section of our industry has employed people to do this, but progress seems dreadfully slow. If it were up to me, I would amalgamate the British Racing School and Northern Racing College, I would build another one in Scotland and one in the south west, making four in all, all run under one banner, giving a new name and branding. A big push with people who know what they are talking about in schools and colleges, especially round the areas of the training centres, would also help. A proper video done with real people, with real enthusiasm, showing what a great sport and way of life we all lead would be another great aid. The TV stations that get plenty out of our industry should also help with many pieces on the day to day working of the yards and studs. We are a worldwide sport and there are so many opportunities for young people to learn a proper trade, see the world and experience such excitement nothing else comes close to it.

The hedges have just been trimmed and are looking good

We have just completed the first batch of weaning at the stud and things have gone as smoothly as possible. Just a few shouts, but very little and Angie and David do it so well that it goes without a hitch. Everybody does things differently, but the way we do it seems to work as well as any by taking one or two mares at a time over a period of a few days. The four in the field have always been the best of buddies and they help each other out at this time of the year.