Altered Method runs tonight in the 7.15 ...

We have two runners today

Thursday, 17 August 2017

"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another."

Juvenal, Satires.


After a dry night, it started raining in the early hours and we have now had a couple of hours of steady rain. It looks like clearing up now and being dry all day. The temperature has held up well and again very little wind. We have had a good couple of lots so far cantering on Southfields turf and all has gone well. The flag is on the pole once again as everybody is in and very cheerful, despite the early morning dampness.

Off to the washdown box

We have two runners tonight at Yarmouth. Astrosecret runs in the 5.30, the mile and three and a half furlong handicap. I have put a pair of cheekpieces on just to see if that might help, but she is fine after her tumble at Bangor and we will be hopeful of a sensible run. Our other runner is Dot Green at 6.30. She missed the break last time at Beverley, and ran a better race than everybody thought. This track should suit and we will be hoping that she can make the frame at least this evening.

     03_Sean_2     19_Harry

The three yardmen, Sean, Harry and Ahmed working hard

The BHA has announced sweeping new measures on what they see as the problem on non-runners. Once again it is a complete knee jerk reaction and hits owners, trainers and especially the horses. They have no idea, or don’t seem to have any care for the main reason we are all in the sport, the horses.

When they pleaded with us to go to 48 hour declarations, which we were told would bring in an enormous amount of overseas money from the betting side, we all reluctantly agreed, but knew there would be a problem and the non-runner rule was brought in. We have never been told, or shown, where the actual money comes from, if there is any. However, they do tell us that the international revenues generated have risen from £6 million to £16 million, but we have seen no analysis on where this money goes, or if the non-runners have an impact on this.

There is obviously a few trainers who work the system, but not in the quantity that the BHA think. All they need to do is have a quiet word with the trainer they suspect, and it would be sorted. We are now going to be held up to public scrutiny, with published tables showing every trainer’s non-runners. The jockeys are going to be paid their full fees, whatever time the horse has been withdrawn, the trainer’s fines increased, and the owners will suffer accordingly.

There is no problem with the veterinary certificate, in fact, I would make it five clear days if a vet cert was used to withdraw a horse, but all the other nine items are completely without foundation.

I have a question for the BHA. Are the clerks of the courses, who constantly lie to us about the ground, going to be fined and have their licences suspended for 12 months if they continue to tell us the wrong information? I don’t think so. We are trying to encourage owners to come into the game. We are trying to look after the horses, with their welfare our number one priority. It is so expensive to travel horses these days, and trainers are constantly trying to keep their owners bills as low as possible. The BHA, to me, seems to have got completely the wrong end of the stick. Our trainer’s federation has been very poor in its response once again. The owners have come out with a much stronger condemnation with their leader saying they are unacceptable proposals. The jockeys, as you can imagine, agree with it as they will be getting money for doing nothing and the bookmakers are obviously thoroughly on side as it costs them very little to make millions on our sport. The only people it hits is the trainer, the owner, and once again the horse. When will we ever get anybody who will stand up and be counted at the Trainers Federation, and when will they employ anybody who understands this game properly at the BHA.

p.s another point if the majority of courses were all weather, like America, it would sort the problem out in one fell swoop. 

Hold Firm

MHT’s commentary debut – Saturday 23rd September

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