The new game machines are set to go in the shops ...

Our horses sell today

Friday, 03 November 2017

"Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart."

Victor Hugo.



It's a very similar morning to yesterday, overcast, no wind and dry, in fact pretty boring really - the only highlight was the sun peeping through for a short time at dawn. Two non runners today so I had to sort the board out, but Joey Haynes turned up to ride two lots which helped tremendously. The Cambridge Road and Rubbing House polytracks have had some good use. All has gone well.


Velvet Voice and below after a wash down


We have one runner today at Newmarket, Lost The Moon runs in the two mile handicap at 3.30. She has not run very well the last twice but there have been reasons both times, and I'm hoping she can put in a much better performance here today. We have one runner tomorrow in the 12.05 at Newmarket. Ness Of Brodgar makes her debut in the seven furlong fillies race. As luck goes, she looks to be in the harder division, but the experience will do her no end of good. I think she is a filly to look forward to.



I see common sense has prevailed at Ayr where they were planning to have a firework display tonight when there is racing there tomorrow. The cancellation has only been upheld after pressure from the trainers as their horses would be very upset by the bangs and flashes in such close proximity to the stables. A similar thing is happening at Newcastle where they have racing there today and tomorrow but they have not cancelled their display, I suppose because there will be no horses in the stables overnight. In my opinion this is typical of racecourses trying to get every last penny without any consideration to their customers. The marketing teams at these racecourses don't seem to have any idea about horses and how they behave, but it seems to me that this sort of thing is happening more and more. Horse racing is becoming a side attraction to whatever else is going on.

    Dandy_1   Dandy_2   Dandy_4

   Dandy_5   Dandy_6   Dandy_7

The Dandy Man ex Boucheron yearling colt being ridden

Our yearling breaking is going well and we shall have several new horses up for sale and syndication in the not too distant future. Tim, my assistant, is a very experienced horseman and is breaking these young animals beautifully. How horses are started off stays with them for life and kindness is always the best way.

     Cas_new   cas_new_1

                                                 The newly arrived Casamento yearling colt

The Horses in Training sale ends today with three of ours going through later on this morning. It has been a mammoth long sale and it's amazing how many countries have had purchasers here this week. We have the best horses in the world and everybody wants to be part of it. It must have been hard being an auctioneer this week as they have been constantly talking and  cajolling bids but great experience for the younger members of the team.                                                 

Phil on Friday


That much revered journalist, the late lamented Jeffrey Bernard, once described racing as ‘really an alfresco drinking club that moves its location from day to day’. He’d have known. He loved his racing almost as much as his drinking and often combined the two. 

Jeffrey Bernard’s coupling of two favourite pursuits was probably more perceptive than he realised. Consider the drinks companies that have sponsored racing over the years, going back to the first commercially-supported race, the Whitbread Gold Cup. We have had Hennessy, Seagram, Jameson, Guinness, John Smith’s, Mackeson and many others. Some of those big names have dropped out now but plenty more have taken their place. Our sport should be, and is, grateful for it, but at times there have been more unsavoury links between racing and drinking….

Take Bill Scott. He rode four Derby winners before finally succumbing to the bottle and could have made it five on the well-fancied Sir Tatton Sykes had he not been observed consuming a large brandy as the starter ‘called them in’. He resorted to ‘improper language’ and was fined £5.

Then there was another Derby-winning jockey, James Snowden, who had offered £5,000 to anyone who could break him of his addiction. On one occasion, going out to ride a horse that was wearing blinkers, he told the trainer: ‘Nay, take it away. A blind horse and a blind jockey will never do.’

A passion for drink has not always been limited to humans – the mighty Arkle was reckoned to down a couple of bottles of Guinness a day! Many years earlier doubts had been raised about the courage of Derby winner Melton and, when he went out for his penultimate race, jockey Tom Cannon declared the horse had been given so much whisky he was ‘quite drunk’. Unsurprisingly he was beaten.

George Fordham was another rider who had an illustrious career, and it could have been even better had he not been so fond of the demon drink. Just before one Epsom race the owner of George’s mount produced a bottle of vintage port in the paddock.  It was designed to give their ‘cowardly’ horse Dutch courage but, when the trainer arrived, he and the jockey thought it best to test the liquor and downed it all very rapidly indeed, in full view of stewards and public alike. The deprived horse won anyway.