The turf season is just around the corner ...

It's a beautiful spring day

Monday, 06 March 2017

"A party without cake is just a meeting."

Julia Child.

Cantering on Hamilton Hill

We have had plenty of heavy rain showers over the weekend and I think a few bands of rain are forecast for this week. However, at present it is bright sunshine with a temperature not too bad and it is actually beginning to look like a spring morning. I don’t know how long it will last though as I think it is due to turn quite cold with a frost or two later on in the month. We haven’t had a bad morning, but I have given everybody a lecture on what we are trying to achieve and let’s hope it has sunk in. Every horse is different and we need to maximise and specialise what work they are doing individually and what we hope to accomplish. If I can get it into the rider’s heads, it will be much easier for everybody. I will keep you informed of progress. Cantering on the normal polytracks this morning has been the exercise and everything has gone well.


Indian Red ran a sound race at Lingfield on Friday where, although he was last of four, he was only beaten a few lengths and the education will have done him the power of good. He was very well behaved in the stalls and I think the more we race him, the better he will be.

Lost the Moon should have won a minute, and the pilot got plenty of education afterwards. Although I didn’t attend because I was busy keeping the show on the road at home, he will have learnt a lot from this experience. It was a very slow run race, which is absolutely crackers and the filly should now have had a four timer, not just be a two time winner. She is full of potential and I will give her a break until the turf.


I went to the BHA roadshow on Friday, held here at Newmarket, where over 150 of the sports workforce attended. We were given several presentations on various sections and there were questions and answers during each section and at the end. Our leaders are paid a considerable amount of money, which comes from all of us, but they have very little idea of what is happening in the world outside of their London base. We are very lucky to have one family that keeps British racing afloat and if they weren’t here, we would definitely be up the creek without a paddle. Our leaders have no idea whatsoever of the staff crisis, what has caused it, what they can do about it and what is going to happen in the future. They have no idea how to attract new owners and the information we got about the return for owners made for very sorry listening. We have got the best sport in Great Britain with tradition, the best horses, the best studs, some of the best jockeys and trainers, but the middle to grass roots level are suffering very badly. It is a bit like the premiership, all the money goes to the top few and the rest are just forgotten about. If people are talking about the premiership, the football authorities seem happy and it is very similar with the BHA. Let’s hope the government goes through with its promise to get the legislation through by April 1st that enables us to get the tax from overseas and mobile gambling. With this money, hopefully, it will go to the right place, i.e. prize money in the middle to lower tiers. That should start to help, but don’t hold your breath as what will happen is that a minimal amount will go there and the rest will be lost on dubious items. Also, the consultants and think tanks will get richer and the ground troops will trudge on. The old saying is ‘if you need a strong top you have got to have a concrete bottom’ and at the moment the top is heavy and the bottom is quicksand.