The turf season is just around the corner ...

Showers are forecast for later

Thursday, 27 July 2017

"Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time."

Jean Paul.



At present it is dry, quiet bright with a small breeze and we have had no showers overnight. We are expecting some this afternoon though. I have been getting on well with the horses once again with some good work Across The Flat on the turf, which was riding perfectly this morning. It is amazing how Newmarket Heath soon drains, especially if nature takes its course rather than watering. They are calling the July Course good to soft, but the ground Across The Flat was very good ground. It is all due to the root structure of the grass. The heath goes downwards, which strengthens it, but the course grass grows sideways, which weakens it. It is common sense, but as normal there is a lot lacking in the higher Escalante, or inexperienced sections of our sport.


St Anthony



Rum Ration didn’t particularly like the soft ground yesterday, but he ran as I expected. I quite like this horse and think in time he will definitely be ok. He will be doing a lot more work in the next month and I think if we run him on a bit faster ground, and over a little bit further, we will see a very different animal. We will be having no runners over the weekend, but there are already several entered for next week.


Astrofire leading Astrobreeze and Velvet Vision


Velvet Vision

I see the flat jockeys are calling for a week off during Cheltenham week and the jump jockeys have got a week after the end of their season next year. We used to have large breaks over the winter for the flat horses, and the summer for the jumpers. With the advent of all-weather racing to keep the bookmakers as they are accustomed, it means we are now racing constantly, every day of the year other than Christmas day, which I am sure some track or other will demand we have in the not too distant future.

The staff are flat out all the time and are leaving the industry in droves. It is not about the money, which everybody seems to think it is, it is all about the working time and with the addition of all the new evening fixtures, it can only get worse. It is fine for the decision makers to sit in their ivory towers and work five days a week. We in the industry are working 24/7 and the recruitment side is a long way from keeping the supply of staff going. However, the most important thing that nobody ever seems to think about, other than me, is the horses. We are constantly harangued to run them more and more to keep the field sizes up so the racecourse get the media rights money and the bookmakers can have races to bet on. Horses need a rest, and although a few of the jumpers are turned out in the summer, the vast majority are kept in training to keep the business going. It is the chicken and egg situation, but every year gets worse and worse with the enlargements of the fixture list. When will it all stop?


Astrofire and Astrobreeze walking in