The turf season is just around the corner ...

We have two runners today

Friday, 27 January 2017

"The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others."

Sonya Friedman.

Sweeping Beauty leading Lost The Moon and Bracken Brae at first lot

It started a bright morning, but still very cold and although there is very little wind in the yard, when you venture out onto the wide expanses of the heath, the wind certainly gets up and the chill factor comes into play. It has been a busy morning with horses going racing, a prospective syndicate member coming to visit the yard and general exercise. We have been on the Rubbing House and Hamilton Hill canters most of the morning. I think the forecast is for slightly warmer weather and a bit of rain over the weekend. 

Dot Green, Sandwood Bay, Velvet Voice and Astrosecret enjoying their break

We have two runners today, both in the same race at Lingfield, the 2.40 mile and a quarter maiden. We had a few fun and games first thing when loading them into the horsebox. Gee Sixty Six had a good look and was a bit stubborn, but with a bit of cajoling, pushing and pulling he deemed to walk on. Once again practice makes perfect. This doesn’t look an easy race as we have a son of Frankel, plus many other prospective nice horses. I think both our two will benefit greatly for the run and a nice introduction will do them the world of good. They both have futures ahead of them.

Having a taster of what is to come

I see the BHA are allowing owners to design their own colours, well if you can call £5,000 being allowed to design your own colours as that is what it will cost to owners if their designs get through the judging panel at the BHA. How they think this will introduce more owners into the game I don’t know. It is just a pathetic way of trying to get more money. There are plenty of colours available and if they want to do something to encourage owners, put the prize money up and lower their costs, rather than making it ten times more difficult to become an owner and driving everybody crazy with their new pass card system. It is blatantly unfair to everybody and causes more trouble than it’s worth. Whoever thought this one up is another jobsworth. There may be a few people who get in by the back door, but even if they do, and let’s hope it’s at Kempton because I can tell you that is one of the worse places to get into, anybody getting in would spend money on food and drink. We need people going to the races, not being put off by a ridiculous system. There cannot have been any thought gone into the pass card scheme as it is completely beyond any person’s comprehension and there is absolutely no common sense to it at all. That is my rant for the day.


Pastoral Pursuits ex Mega Colt

Our syndicate and Raceworld horses are starting to get some interest now and we have an open house system for anybody wanting to come and visit. Just give us a ring and call into see them at your leisure. They are all cracking horses, reasonably priced and you will enjoy the whole experience of being involved in a racehorse. The two Raceworld horses have videos about them today on this site.


Pastoral Pursuits ex Trew Class filly

Phil On Friday


It was heart-warming to read last week that after trying for 27 years owner Mr. Bill Davis had his first winner. It’s never too late – he is 87 years old and had had runners in just short of 250 races before Ayr of Elegance broke the sequence at Lingfield. Trainer Philip Hide was quoted as saying that neither he nor the owner could enjoy the race as they were “just waiting for something to go wrong.”

Then, a couple of days later, another owner chose the ‘Letters to the Editor’ page in a national paper to let it be known that he had horses in training for 41years before his first success came about at Warwick. “There is no thrill like it,” he wrote.

The world loves a trier, even if their efforts do not always earn that modest degree of success  …

Take the aristocratic Beltran de Osorio y Diez de Riviera, otherwise known as the Duke of Albuquerque .When he was just eight years old he developed an obsession with the Grand National and vowed that one day he would ride the winner of the great race. Unfortunately his skill in the saddle did not match his enthusiasm and he nearly died in the attempt, more than once.

He made his first foray to Aintree in 1952 but fell, waking in hospital later with a cracked vertebra. He tried again in the early sixties but fell once more, after bookmakers had shrewdly offered 66-1 against him getting round. In 1965 he fell again, breaking his thigh, and in 1974 had 16 screws taken out of his leg (the result of another fall) so he could ride in the National but it was the same story – another fall. One year he competed in a plaster cast and miraculously managed eighth place, but it was the only time he finished.

In the Grand National he suffered many fractured vertebrae, seven broken ribs, at least one each of a broken wrist and leg, and a major concussion or two. He was in a coma for two days after falling and being trampled in another race but when he woke up from that particular inconvenience he announced his intention of going for the National again, at the age of 57. He was declared medically unfit, the stewards having decided to revoke his licence “for his own safety”. He continued to ride competitively in Spain until he was 67. In Britain, up to the day he died in 1994, he remained the hugely popular ‘Iron Duke of Aintree’.

On the equine front, consider the inappropriately named Zippy Chippy. ‘Zippy’ was remarkably well-bred (Northern Dancer appeared in his pedigree), but he ran no fewer than 100 times on the North American circuit and could not win once. He had been bought in exchange for a 1988 Ford truck, three years older than Zippy himself, but he could not even live up to that modest valuation. He was once reported to have been beaten in a 40-yard dash by a minor league baseball player!

Other horses have been through even longer losing sequences – Dona Chepa in the United States was winless in 125 attempts for instance; Quixall Crossett could not win in 103 goes here in Britain. Brough Scott wrote of him after 11 years of racing and 98 defeats that “…he has found a very clever way of getting his oats with the minimum of effort.” But Quixall Crossett got his own web-site!

Somehow Zippy and his like became heroes, building up legions of fans, and in some cases were called upon to make ‘personal’ appearances – much like Red Rum, though for very different reasons!

We all have a soft spot for perpetual losers, human or equine, when they just keep trying, and coming back for more.